Korean Drama Review : Hotel Del Luna –– The Best Drama of 2019?
A Harvard MBA graduate who is a handsome and successful assistant manager at a hotel company. He becomes a manager at the Hotel Del Luna due to a deal his father made with Jang Man-wol years ago.
A Sneak Peek Into Hotel Del Luna’s Plot
Tall grasses swayed in the summer heat as a woman trudged through the dirt road with her horse. She had a bloody scarf wrapped around her head as she lead her horse down the seemingly never-ending road. There was no one else to be found in that barren land. Only the scarfed lady, her horse, and a wooden coffin that carried the belongings of the dead.
She was looking for something, this lone and fierce woman. A place to rest the dead. A guesthouse, or a lodge, she couldn’t remember it all too well with memories of the past continued to swarm in on her. Unbeatable and unkillable, unlike all of her enemies. All that she knew, was that she had to keep walking. She would only stop when she’s found that guesthouse.
Day turns to night, and before she knew it, she was walking past a resting tent that was tended by an old lady. That resting tent seemed to be the only thing standing for as far as the eyes could see, and there doesn’t even seem to be any other guests drinking there as well. It would have seemed odd for anyone else, however with how exhausted and worn out she was after a day’s worth of walking on these deserted land, she didn’t ask any questions.
All she wanted was to drink her alcohol in peace and then continue on her way to look for the guesthouse, however, the old lady seemed to have taken a liking to her as she wouldn’t stop trying to chatter her up. Just when she had just had enough of the old lady and was thinking of killing her off, the old lady perked up and said something that caught her attention.
“You must be looking for the Guest House of the Moon,” the old lady croaked.
Surprised and even a little hopeful, it was like life has seeped back into her soul as the woman asked, “Do you know that place?”
“I heard it was a guesthouse for the dead, that still wanders in this life. You can’t get there, however. Only the dead are able to go there.”
“Just tell me how to get there. If that place can only be found by the dead, I’m even willing to kill myself.” As the last words left her mouth, she pulled the sword that she was aiming at the old lady’s neck and aimed it at her neck instead.
“What a poor soul. You think you can compensate everything by sacrificing your life, but that’s such a futile desire.” The old lady pitied. With those words, the woman suddenly found herself all alone in the dessert, with only the full moon as her company. Her horse was gone, so were the wooden coffin that it carried.
From behind, she saw a shadow approaching. With her sword precision that had been used to kill so many men that had came in her way, this time too, she was aiming to kill. Only to realize that she had stabbed her sword into a tree. It glowed red as it slowly sucked her sword into the tree, absorbing it before growing taller and extending its branches. The woman could only watch in horror and shock as pieces and scraps of wood flew into the scene out of nowhere to build a large lodge right in front of her.
Through all that chaos, she caught the word “Guest house” written on the wooden plank in front of the lodge. She had found the Guest House of the Moon.
3 Words to Sum up Hotel Del Luna
Exciting, Enticing, Emotional Rollercoaster
Girl, let me just tell you, it’s been so motherfucking long since I last found a drama that I was this into. Honestly, the last time that I was this hyped about a Korean drama was Goblin. That was years ago! If you clicked on this review only to figure out wether or not Hotel Del Luna is worth 16 hours of your time, I’ll just say it right now that it is. Man, I’ll even go as far as saying that this drama might just be the best kdrama of 2019.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
IU / JANG MAN WOL
Oh boy, oh boy.
IU‘s acting this time around is truly something else. It’s so different from what I’ve seen of her in Scarlet Heart Ryeo. I’ve heard that she has received a lot of backlash from her acting in Scarlet Heart Ryeo, with a lot of the Korean fans saying hurtful words like they shouldn’t have casted her, that IU couldn’t act, and so on.
I have watched Scarlet Heart Ryeo, and I didn’t think that her acting was all that bad. I mean sure, it wasn’t to die for, but it truly wasn’t something that she should receive so much backlash for either. Being that Scarlet Heart was the only drama of IU’s that I’ve ever watched, I have this portrayal of her only being able to play this cutesy-girl-next-door role. Never in a thousand years would I have thought that she would be able to pull off this sexy, femme fatale role.
But after bingeing Hotel Del Luna for 2 days straight, if you still have any doubt of how much IU’s acting skills have improved, I’ll just say this : I like bananas just as much as the next gay man does, but IU’s acting in this show had me questioning my sexuality.
YEO JIN GOO / KU CHANG SEONG
Please do not pellet rocks my way, but your girl has to admit : this is the first time that I’ve ever heard of him. And apparently, this guy is quite popular –– from my 10 minutes research of snooping around on social media.
He plays the manager of Hotel Del Luna, and also the love interest of Jang Man Wol. At first, I really didn’t expect him and IU to hit it off, as just by looking at them from pictures, they both looked kind of awkward and shy. However, this just seems like another round of me eating my own words because I could not be any more wrong.
The on-screen chemistry of these two is so palpable that I could lick it off the screen if I want to. I have always thought that there is only one way of determining chemistry between casts on screen : they need to have this electric spark of “oh god I want to take all your clothes off and fuck you 100 ways to Sunday“.
But again, Hotel Del Luna proved me wrong. Because with Jang Man Wol and Ku Chang Seong, it’s more of a soft yet reassuring feeling that just seeps between the two. These two don’t need to be amping it up all the time, or to constantly act cutesy for their connection to show on screen. It just is. The simplest way that I could explain their chemistry, is that of a couple who’s been together for years. You feel their comfort, trust and loyalty. You would never need to question their intentions, because you know they always have your best interest in mind.
The plot of this drama was written by the infamous Hong Sisters, who has been known to write a series of chart hitting Korean dramas like My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, Master’s Sun, and A Korean Odyssey.
I have watched a few of their works, and to be honest, I wasn’t all too impressed with their plots. A lot of they dramas started off on a really high note, but then started to get predictable towards the middle and taper off in the end with a lackluster ending. So I didn’t go into Hotel Del Luna with high expectation, as I never did with a lot of movies and dramas.
However, throughout the time that I binged this drama, never had it failed to capture my attention or got predictable. The Hong Sisters constant had the viewers of Hotel Del Luna jumping from one theories to another, whilst toying with our emotions while they’re at it.
I must say, not only that the actor and actress have improved so much from their past dramas, even the drama writers –– The Hong Sisters –– have improved with their writing skills and keeping the viewers on their toes all the way till the end.
There really isn’t much to be said about the soundtracks to this show. I think the producers of Hotel Del Luna are pulling all the stops with this drama. Because we’re having so many songs from chart topper Korean singers who are infamous for making songs for successful kdramas.
Most importantly for those of you who are not over Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Lee Joon-gi was one of the guest stars in Hotel Del Luna as well. At least we can still see them together in one room after the painful ending that is Scarlet Heart Ryeo this way.
I really, truly, genuinely do not have anything other than praises for Hotel Del Luna. This drama truly exceeded all my expectations and gave me so much more in a drama that I didn’t know I needed before.
Form the casts to the plot, camera angles, soundtracks and humor, everything hits just right. There is nothing that seems forced or exaggerated. Even the timeline of how everything unfolds is perfect –– which is rare if you know Korean drama and their habit of cramming all the important details in the last few episodes. There is no time crunch where they need to kiss on the 10th episode, or that the characters need to already be together by episode 12.
Hotel Del Luna is a breath of fresh air for so many predictable dramas out there. It is one of the few really rare Korean dramas that just sucks you in from the moment you press play. I am sad that this drama has come to an end, but for what it was worth, those 16 hours was one hell of a ride and I would happily re-experience it all over again if I could.
This drama is truly a 10/10 for me and I could not recommend it enough.