Hotelier


Reviewed by: sukting

October 07, 2003

Rating: four

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
A story on how a ‘hunter’ realizes happiness when he comes to Seoul. Highly educated, rich, self-sacrificing and willing to wait – he is as perfect as Xiang Zhe in ‘All About Eve’. Another man will be on how to get on to his feet after a scandal. He can’t balance love and work. He spends more time being the leader, friend, brother and ex-boyfriend. The serial doesn’t involve that much on the hotelier’s work but more on the struggle of the management of the hotel. It has more on the interlinked complicated relationship. A well developed plot with many unforgettable scenes.

Introduction on characters

1. Shen Dong Xian/Frank Shin – Bao Yong Jun
He is a successful M & A in LA. Half of his deals involve billions of dollars. He holds a Masters from Harvard and previously worked in a law office in Wall Street. He is always working on the PDA and talk to others without meeting their eyes. To him, time is precious in making money. Despite having little sleep, he still jogs early in the mornings with his trademark dark shades. And notice that he always has the shaver with him, he takes care to be neat at all times.

Dong Xian is rich but there is loneliness and sadness inside him. His father gave him away when young. He is so nasty to others but gentle to Zhen Yin. Thus he can be cold and also warm. I watch this serial because this character attracts me. Knowing his past make you sympathize and realize why he turns out this way. When jealousy clouds his mind, he can use drastic means to achieve his aim.

From the harsh person who assaults others with sarcastic remarks and boorish acts, he becomes TRULY mild mannered. I like scenes when he calls her from behind most. They are cute, amazing and amusing. He can be so endearing when he does that. Dong Xian never lets go of any chance to show that he loves her – no wonder he emerges as the love winner. His English name and his actions really tally - Frank.

I like Bae in here more than ‘Winter Sonata’. He is more charming and is steadfast in love – he never gives up and does not allow his ‘prey’ any breathing space. He can be wilful like a spoilt child as once he has his mind set, he goes all out to get her. Be touched at the way that he looks at Zhen Yin tenderly.

I like his bespectacled look – his spectacles are quite special being half-rimless that projects his professional image. His hairstyle is shorter and neater. I don’t really fancy his yuppie look in ‘Winter Sonata’. Some say his acting here is less formidable. I beg to differ – Dong Xian is cold by nature and doesn’t know how to express himself well. Bae is a rare actor who can make you feel for him when he acts.

2. Han Tai Jun – Kim Seung Woo
I have never liked him. Life has lots of ups and downs but he wallows in self-pity to hide in LA for 2 long years. He likes Zhen Yin but he refuses to admit it. He has a soft spot for weak women – he treats Yun Xi so well. It is his own fault in losing Zhen Yin – he hurls hurting words at her. Who to blame???

I don’t see how attractive he is to make 3 women fall for him. Although he cares for the hotel, he isn’t a suitable lover. Actually I don’t blame him for treating Dong Xian hostilely because Dong Xian is really nasty to him. Frankly speaking, I don’t think Kim should be nominated for best actor. He looks listless either in and out of the hotel. Or is it the producer’s fault?

3. Cui Rong Qi – Park Jung Chul
Poor man – he learns from scratch. This is too much a pressure for this childish person to be the successor of a big hotel. He tries so hard to please Yun Xi by getting her a job. But she doesn’t show any gratitude and takes things for granted. Despite this, he even risks his life to save her from a lunatic. But... she just runs to Tai Jun’s side without a word of thanks. How sad! A pity that he doesn’t love Jie Ni – they could be a pair although they do quarrel. Why do all the tragedies happen to him? He needs concern but he becomes an orphan. Moreover, his ‘elder brother’ Tai Jun is his love rival – what can be worse?

4. Wu Xiang Wan
He has worked in Seoul Hotel for 20 years but he doesn’t get the GM post. So he hates Tai Jun and tries to frame him. He likes Chun Qing but she likes Tai Jun. How he can keep his job after stealing the hotel’s wine to sell to the public is highly questionable. He is very convincing in acting evil but the change in him for the better still puzzles me.

5. Jin Fu Wan
He wants to win Mr Cui because he married the woman he loves, Dong Shu. Though despicable means, he gets rich and is violent. Even his bodyguards suffer strokes from his golf set. But later, his relationship with Yun Xi is better when she becomes more sensible.

6. Xu Zhen Yin – Song Yun Ah
My suggestion to all hotels which have this kind of employee – please fire her if you don’t want any trouble. Instead of the good service she promises, we see so many blunders that she makes on the job. She is already blur by nature – all can see that Dong Xian and Tai Jun like her but she can’t. She also has poor historical knowledge, never read emails, is always dozing off on the job and is late when Dong Xian asks for her (although sometimes it is not her fault). The last I can tolerate is to slap a customer. I will not be surprised if Rong Qi is the one but... her??? How on earth did she graduate from the hotel training institute???

However, I like the funny way that she makes a fool out of herself in front of Dong Xian. Not knowing how to play snooker is alright but not knowing the exact depth of the pool is really unpardonable. How can she be so ignorant? It must be her good ties with Dong Shu that she keeps her job. I dread to think how the hotel ‘dies’ in her hands – why did Dong Shu ask her to help Tai Jun instead of Chun Qing??

Song’s acting is quite natural but at certain times, she can be too exaggerated.

7. Jin Yun Xi – Song Hae Gyo
I don’t like her – she only cares for herself – on what she likes and wants to do. It is so unfortunate for Fu Wan to have a daughter who only goes out for fun with the wrong company. See how she can leave her colleagues in the prison cell when they fight because of her! I don’t find this ‘poor rich girl’ pitiful. She may feel lost without Fu Wan’s concern but carrying a bottle of sleeping pills with her is just too fake. If she wants to kill herself, she should have done it earlier. It can be just a hoax to scare her father.

Song Hae Gyo isn’t good in this role with very few facial expressions. She looks bored and is a total mismatch with Seung Woo. If you get to see Choi Siu Fun and Sek Sau in ‘On The Track And Off’, you will gather how I feel and know that the Hong Kong artistes are not bothered by the age gap at all. Hae Gyo’s initial outlook in suits makes her look older than her age. Her later casual outlook fits her better.

8. Shen Jie Ni
She is the REAL pitiful person. She is Dong Xian’s sister who is adopted at two years old. She was a troubled teenager. Upon seeing that Tai Jun was injured by gangsters to save her, she turned for the better and becomes a chef assistant. That is why she feels that she owes Tai Jun too much and tries to persuade Dong to give up his ambition to buy over the hotel for Fu Wan. Be happy for her when she reconciles with her family. She deserves the happiness after waiting for so long.

9. Li Chun Qing
She is a big mouth but I feel she does a better job than Zhen Yin. She attempts to look for the missing ring alone and Zhen Yin only comes to look for it later after meeting Dong Xian. She is firm with her housekeeping staff. Although she may be at odds with Zhen Yin, she still helps her when she is in trouble.

10. Lu Zhou Yong
He is a traditional but breaks his rules to accept Jie Ni as his female student when he finds that she cooks well. Although strict, he is like a doting father to all and is Head chef of the Western F & B.

11. Yin Dong Shu
She takes over the post of CEO after Mr Cui’s death. She is persistent to save the hotel and is selfless to give all the shares to all staff before she passes the post to Tai Jun.

12. Leo Piao
He is hardworking and comical. He can joke with anyone but it seems that all his jokes don’t work on Dong Xian, who is too serious in work. He is a lawyer and is Dong Xian’s capable law consultant although he doesn’t look like one. He is kin to Dong Xian. No one can put up with his tantrums for so long except him.

Story

Seoul Hotel’s CEO died so Dong Shu requests Zhen Yin to get Tai Jun back to be the GM. Tai Jun has been forced to leave 3 years ago because he is accused of molesting Mrs Song. The woman tried to seduce him. When failed, she pulled down the zip of her dress and framed him for it.

Dong Xian is in Las Vegas, visiting a convict. He wants his hotel as his Roman Catholic driver will tell the truth of him murdering his mistress. Leo wonders how he knows about it. He replies that he guesses through his name. This scene shows how unfeeling Dong Xian is through his expression and tone.

Zhen Yin has her meal in ‘300 Roses’ restaurant. The steak is hard, the knife is blunt and the salad is yellow. No waiter is there when she wants a coffee refill. Leo and Dong Xian also arrive here. Leo suggests Xiang Wan’s case but Dong Xian doesn’t wish to return to the country where he was deserted. Just then, he hears Zhen Yin’s voice and turns to look at her. She makes so many complaints.

Dong Xian smiles and gets attracted as he agrees with her. A waiter spills coffee on her scarf. She is so angry that she throws it into the dustbin. Do have a good laugh when she gives 1 cent as the tip! Yun Ah shows her good command of English here as she can scold with ease!

Tai Jun refuses to return with Zhen Yin. Dong Xian sees Zhen Yin staying in the same hotel when both are in the lift. She is so angry that she bangs her head against the lift and nearly knocks into Dong Xian. He sends her a scarf. She thinks that Tai Jun buys it for her and is disappointed to know that his English name is not Frank. Tai Jun agrees reluctantly to return with her if she pays off Jie Ni’s debts.

When they are in the desert, Zhen Yin realizes that Tai Jun has deceived her. She gets off his car in a rage. Leo gives her a lift. Dong Xian is distant to her as he only looks at his PDA. They have a meal at his villa. He is happy to see her wearing the scarf. Upon knowing that she works in Seoul Hotel, he says that he hears of it running into difficulties. She invites him to visit there.

Upon seeing her adjusting the scarf, he asks if she is happy with the room service. Zhen Yin can be so slow to know only now that he is the one who sent her the gift. After consideration, Dong Xian decides to accept Fu Wan’s offer. Tai Jun decides to return to Korea as Jie Ni wants to visit her hometown. Zhen Yin decides to be normal friends with him. Tai Jun manages to save a customer from a heart attack.

Dong Xian rejects Fu Wan’s offer to stay in a 6 star hotel but decides to stay in Seoul Hotel. If he is successful, he can get 18% of the hotel’s shares. Presently, Rong Qi only has 1% and Dong Shu 29%. The investigation fees are paid by Fu Wan.

Dong Xian pays for 3 months stay at Blue Emerald room. A day’s charge is equivalent to commoners’ salary for months. Upon seeing that Dong Xian wishes to see Zhen Yin, Leo jokes that he is going to treat her like a hooker. Dong Xian is offended and waits for her at the restaurant. Leo is startled by his reaction as Dong Xian should know that he likes to joke all along.

It is Yun Xi’s birthday. She is unhappy that Fu Wan missed their dinner appointment because he was welcoming Dong Xian. Rong Qi’s friend drugs her and attempts to rape her while Rong Qi is in the bathroom. Luckily Tai Jun saves her. She doesn’t wish anyone to know so he lets her sleep in his bedroom.

A customer is angry when her ring is missing. Zhen Yin looks for Dong Xian but it is late so she rehearses on what to say. Dong Xian is back and is amused .When she says ‘Welcome to Seoul Hotel’, he answers behind her, ’I’m happy to meet you!’ This gives her a shock! This scene is really classic as he talks behind her the first time and he will do it many times later!

Zhen Yin enjoys having Jie Ni as her roommate as she cooks well. Leo grumbles when Dong Xian called him at 2 am to search for Tai Jun’s information. Yet he doesn’t get to see him in the morning as he goes jogging. All shouldn’t miss the numerous scenes to see how fast he runs in the white FILA tracksuit and tight knee-length Bermudas. (sometimes they are long jogging pants).

Tai Jun buys clothes for Yun Xi. She leaves and gives Rong Qi a despised look. Poor man - he can’t explain himself as both are on the escalator. She knocks into Dong Xian and drops a bottle of sleeping pills. She snatches it back and walks away. Although Dong Xian has charged an unreasonable price, Fu Wan is willing to pay for it because he admires his arrogance.

Fu Wan arranges a dinner date with Dong Xian and Yun Xi. She is shocked. When she requests him not to tell Fu Wan anything about her, he doesn’t even look at her but still continues working on his PDA! He replies that he has no time to spend on a girl who is curious to find out how death is like. He has seen numerous suicide cases in the U.S. Yun Xi is annoyed with him for being unfeeling. But I think he is frank to point out the truth to her.

Chun Qing fights with Zhen Yin over Tai Jun and the loss of the ring. Dong Xian and sees Zhen Yin waiting for him in the opposite direction. I really can’t resist laughing when he has to clear his throat to get her attention. He says that she is late to shock her again and notices her bruise on her lip. He invites her to have French cuisine in his room but she can’t have meals with customers in the hotel. So he brings her out.

He never expects to be in a common eatery instead of a lavish restaurant. Laugh at his uneasiness when he looks around. Zhen Yin helps him to mix the sauce with the noodles. Seeing that he keeps on smiling, she gets frightened but is puzzled when she finds nothing wrong with her in the mirror. Dong Xian asks her whether she feels tired of her work. She has learnt to be blissful and happy. She apologises to Chun Qing for giving her a black eye and both are overjoyed to find the ring in the laundry room.

Xiang Wan wants to force Tai Jun to leave by showing him the tape that Yun Xi walks out of his room. Tai Jun shows him another tape of Xiang Wan himself hugging and kissing a waitress in the hotel. So he has to give up. The man Tai Jun saved is a newspaper editor and he publishes the news on the papers.

All decide to hold a celebration for Tai Jun at night when he is confirmed to be the GM. Zhen Yin looks after a girl, Xiu Zhen. Dong Xian sees them at the lift area and calls her from behind again. He doesn’t give her a chance to reject him upon knowing that she knocks off at 4. He wants her to be his tour guide and promises to send her back at 8 for Tai Jun’s celebration. Zhen Yin can be so ignorant – even Xiu Zhen can see that Dong Xian likes her but she doesn’t even know it!

This scene is memorable. Dong Xian and Zhen Yin visit the ancient palace. He gets to know that she gave chocolates to her ex-lover on Valentine’s day but has stopped 3 years ago. Dong Xian is curious to know who he is. Viewers will soon discover how poor she is in relating history but Dong Xian has such a good memory. Just by looking through the tour pamphlet once, he can remember and relate all the details!

She is impressed and is so innocent to think that Harvard U teaches him that! They look at two couples taking wedding pictures. One couple has a taller wife while another has a much shorter wife. Zhen Yin thinks that they will look perfect if switched. Dong Xian feels that both couples should compliment each other for being imperfect. He is so direct to say that although Harvard has taught him most that he should know, he still can’t find the other half!

Zhen Yin later reminds him of his sad past so he decides to return to the hotel. They are stuck in the traffic jam. When he asks her what she wants to eat for dinner, they go to Macdonalds. When he wishes to treat her better, she always chooses common places. There is a storm when they are out.

This next scene is quite touching. Dong Xian has put on his windbreaker. Upon seeing the rain, he takes it off to shelter her into the car. Fu Wan quarrels with Yun Xi upon knowing that she has played truant. She runs away from home. Tai Jun sees Dong Xian sending Zhen Yin home. Dong Xian still gives her his windbreaker before leaving. Tai Jun is so angry that he walks away with his umbrella, saying that she has the windbreaker and that is enough! He is so horrible!

But he is so nice to Yun Xi later upon seeing her drenched in the rain. He helps her to check in at a discount and takes care of her when she has a fever. She dreams of her mother killing herself and hugs him when she is awake. Tai Jun and Zhen Yin later finds the missing Xiu Zhen at a deserted cellar. Zhen Yin finds out that Tai Jun feels remorseful for not treating his late father better because he was just a mechanic. The clumsy Zhen Yin causes a stack of boxes to fall on Tai Jun and he is hurt after rescuing Xiu Zhen.

Tai Jun tells her he likes chocolates. He doesn’t want Chun Qing to give him anything. Yun Xi tells Tai Jun that she loves him and he is shocked. Rong Qi wants Tai Jun to give Yun Xi a job. Tai Jun wants him to work in the hotel as an exchange. He arranges her to work as a waitress.

Chun Qing wears knee-length stockings of different colours. Xiang Wan tries to tell her in vain. Chun Qing is so embarrassed that she tries to place one leg over another! (This is a very funny scene and is reused in ‘Romance’ again.) Dong Xian sends 300 roses to Zhen Yin. Dong Xian’s smile fades when she treats him as a customer. She returns him his windbreaker and he offers to teach her to play snooker when free. He asks her whether she likes his second room service.

She says that the hotel should be the one providing room service so she should not let a customer do it. He gets angry and asks if she treats him the same way in Las Vegas. He declares that he is wooing her and she tries to run away. His voice is filled with emotion when saying that he has already started and will not stop.

The next scene is a funny one. Zhen Yin checks the pool temperature for a customer and is very frightened because she doesn’t know how to swim. Upon seeing the PDA and the shaver on the bench, she deduces that Dong Xian is already there. And sure he is, giving her a shock when his head pops out of the water. He offers to teach her. She asks her why he is giving her the number 300 roses.

This woman is sure clueless. He gives her a clue – Las Vegas - and she still doesn’t know!!! He has to tell her in the face that the restaurant is the first place that he meets her. He jokes that he’ll be in deep trouble if the name is 10,000 roses. He wants to visit there again with her. She tries to walk away and falls into the pool instead. Dong Xian tries to hug her but ends up falling in the pool with her.

She thinks that she is drowning and clings on to him. Dong Xian notices that the water level just reaches his chest and should not be a problem for the tall Zhen Yin. He must be too overly concerned and is so amused to see her struggling in the water. He hugs her and all around smile at them. He doesn’t wish to remind her about it and touches her wet hair gently. Zhen Yin is so embarrassed upon knowing the truth.

Dong Xian goes to look for his father. He is filled with hatred when knowing that his father isn’t remorseful and even gives away Dong Xi too. He throws him money and leaves. He is in a bad temper when telling Leo to drive away. Leo doesn’t feel angry but sympathizes with him upon seeing him in tears. He knows Dong Xian looks cold because he is trying to conceal his hurt.

Dong Xian tears his father’s documents. He looks so lonely. He sends an sms to Zhen Yin’s email, telling her that he has hated his father but he realizes that he misses him all along. He wishes her to be there to console him for 5 minutes. (Doesn’t this remind you of Xiang Zhe hugging Shan Mei for 5 minutes too?)

Rong Qi quarrels with a customer and Dong Shu tries in vain to pacify him. Unable to stand his behaviour for pushing Dong Shu down, Zhen Yin gives him a slap! Dong Shu kneels for half an hour to appease his anger. Zhen Yin feels sorry for causing the trouble.

Zhen Yin receives a call from F & B. They are unable to close for the day because Dong Xian hasn’t paid his bill. She looks around and can’t find him. Only when the waitresses point to the second floor, then she sees a drunk Dong Xian looking at her and has another shock. He is too drunk to return to his room. He realizes that she hasn’t read his email. He wants to visit the most expensive room – the diamond villa.

She asks him about his occupation and he only answers that he is a hunter to purchase companies. I can’t believe it – she is not supposed to bring him inside but she breaks the rule! He wants her to dance with him. He hugs her lightly, saying that she is not doing it for 300 roses but because of him.

She dismisses it, saying that no one will want her for getting into trouble all the time. Both part when Tai Jun is there. Both men meet each other the first time. She calls Tai Jun at home but both refuse to apologise to each other. She gets so angry that she removes her handphone battery.

When her home telephone rings, she scolds the caller, thinking that he is Tai Jun. Dong Xian asks her gently why she is so angry. He asks her whether Tai Jun has blamed her earlier. She says that it is okay but he mentions that Tai Jun smells of chocolate. ( I wanted to laugh when I watched it.) He looks forward to next year’s Valentine’s day. Zhen Yin says that he will have to stay in Seoul Hotel till next year then.

When he asks her whether she is tired, she replies she is not after getting his call and he is delighted. However, not for Tai Jun though. Be amused when the scene is cut into 3 equal parts to show the different expressions of the 3. Tai Jun is mad when the line is engaged while the other two are chatting.

Dong Xian starts to buy shares of the hotel. He wants to tell Zhen Yin his real identity at the church but she falls asleep there. He kisses her forehead gently and lets her rest on his shoulder. She wakes and demands to know his confession. He presses her hand, pretending that he has just given her the photostated copy.

Chun Qing reminds Tai Jun to fetch her to go for Zhen Yin’s birthday celebration. Yun Xi is shocked to see Fu Wan in the restaurant and breaks plates. Tai Jun pacifies her upon knowing that she has no confidence to prove to her father that she can work. Rong Qi sees Tai Jun offering her consolation. He knows who she likes but he doesn’t want to give up.

Xiang Wan is unhappy that the purchasing process takes so long. He tells the banks to freeze the loans to the hotel. Dong Xian changes Fu Wan’s mind, saying that this will tarnish its reputation and will not be worth the money. Leo questions why he lies as it is his usual tactic to pick the company at the lowest cost. Tai Jun runs to the store before it closes to get a necklace with a pearl for Zhen Yin.

Zhen Yin gets many gifts from Dong Xian but she brings all the boxes down. She only wants a simple meal. She makes him return all the things and he begs her to keep the final necklace. Seeing that she likes it, he is overjoyed and puts it on for her. She asks him whether it is expensive and he asks her seriously whether she wants the receipt.

She doesn’t want him to spend so much money but he replies that he has no chance to spend the money he earns. He tells her about his past of nearly getting killed by a robber when he worked part time at a petrol kiosk. Before meeting her, earning money made him happy. She makes him discover the greed of loving.

Although Zhen Yin mentions that Tai Jun rejects her, he feels differently. Dong Xian wants to kiss Zhen Yin at the doorstep but she says that she isn’t ready. Upon going into her apartment, she is astonished to find all colleagues in her home. They have seen what has happened earlier and feel awkward. Jie Ni is angry with her for ‘betraying’ Tai Jun. Tai Jun gives her the necklace that he buys.

The next day, Leo quarrels with Dong Xian for being blinded by his love for Zhen Yin. If he gives her money, she will just submit to him. Dong Xian is so furious that he throws the documents at him. Leo is down upon seeing her later. Zhen Yin gives Dong Xian a pen in return to sign on documents. Zhen Yin imitates his photocopy gesture and smiles. Dong Xian’s unhappiness vanishes into thin air and smiles too.

Zhen Yin wears Tai Jun’s present to make him happy. I really laugh upon seeing how stupid she looks to follow him everywhere. He is still angry with her and she throws it into the grass out of anger. Fu Wan’s bodyguards try to create trouble in the restaurant and fight with the F & B staff. All are locked in the cell.

Dong Xian wants to go to the commercial centre. Tai Jun treats him politely although he is his love rival. This scene is memorable – we can see how unfeeling Dong Xian can be again. Dong Xian makes an international call and asks her if she is so busy all along. It will not be good to her after marriage. She is tongue-tied and becomes shy. He is surprised to know that his subordinate, Alex is coming. Zhen Yin observes that he is not the polite and mild-mannered man she sees – he is the man in the desert again.

He asks her how to call the hotel guest room. She is taken aback by his icy tone and eyes. He scolds Leo – he has wanted to extend the purchase date. Leo says that he has no choice as Alex insists on coming. Dong Xian then questions Leo whether Alex is the boss – is he that desperate to get his commission? Zhen Yin is speechless to see him so fierce. Dong Xian then tells him to get the meeting agenda ready by the next day. I must say that he really looks very scary here.

After hanging up the phone, he then recalls that Zhen Yin is beside him and apologises for his temper. She is still in shock and questions whether he looks this way when he works. He is regretful and replies he is a hunter. He asks her to prepare a meeting room and breakfast for the guests the next day. She says she must get it done as she is afraid to get a scolding from him. Upon seeing her frightened look, he smiles. How will he bear to scold her?

Yun Xi returns home to save the others. The chambermaids discover the purchase documents and pass them to Tai Jun. Zhen Yin is dozing off when she suddenly remembers Dong Xian’s request. She is 8 minutes late and is very apologetic when all wait for her. This is so unfair – Leo chides her but Dong Xian still says that it is alright?

Tai Jun finds out that Zhen Yin knew Dong Xian in Las Vegas and suspects Dong Xian of making use of her. Xiang Wan reports the case to Dong Shu. Zhen Yin knows that he is a M & A but doesn’t know that he is a specialist in purchasing hotels. Xiang Wan sneers at her as Dong Xian might have promised her a GM post.

Dong Xian is surprised that Zhen Yin doesn’t return home as she has worked through the whole night. This is also a classic scene as Yun Ah really acts very well in here. She sees the documents and is in anguish as she thinks that she has fallen in love again but he has cheated her. She throws the necklace at him and leaves. He tears the documents in silence.

Dong Xian goes into the hotel to look for her. He snatches the walkie-talkie and demands to speak to her. The bellhop stops him and he folds his arm – this shows that Dong Xian can be barbaric! Tai Jun accuses Dong Xian of cheating Zhen Yin. He demands to know how they get wind of news that he wants the hotel. Tai Jun slowly feels that this man is difficult to deal with – he cannot read his mind at all. Moreover, they are in the wrong to get the documents illegally.

Many look down on Zhen Yin for betraying the hotel but Chun Qing is on her side. They end up drunk, only to return the next day. Dong Xian waits for her outside her home and Jie Ni refuses to tell him where she is. Dong Xian goes for Fu Wan’s appointment reluctantly. Yun Xi wants him to persuade Fu Wan to let her work in the hotel. He jokes that she has to pay a high price.

He gathers that her love interest is in there because he can see the happiness on her face. At first, she is dismayed when he agrees with Fu Wan that she should go overseas. But she is relieved when he says that Seoul Hotel is a good place to make her learn. He sits in his car, hoping to see her walking up the slope but she never turns up. He returns to give her an email, telling her that he is willing to give up everything for her because he can’t do anything without her.

This scene is memorable. Zhen Yin is still angry to see Dong Xian the next day. She refuses to listen to him so he locks her up with him. He confesses that his main reason to come to Korea is because of her. He pleads with her to look at him and not care about others, placing her face in his palms. He has no time to tell her more but kisses her in public. The staff are shocked but also moved.

Leo is angry when their luggage is thrown out of the room by Xiang Wan. Dong Xian is cold and demands to see Tai Jun. The poor bellhop is so scared to be reminded of the force that Dong Xian applied on him earlier. Dong Xian doesn’t want to forgive them and he wants the hotel to close down.

If he decides to sue the hotel for stealing the documents, they are ruined. So Tai Jun sends flowers and champagne to Dong Xian. Dong Xian can be so unreasonable. He has wished to see Zhen Yin coming and is enraged to see him instead. So he steps on the flowers and throws the bottle to the wall. One glass piece leaves a cut on Tai Jun’s face. Dong Xian is really ruthless in this scene – he demands to see only Zhen Yin.

Tai Jun keeps it from her but Chun Qing tells her about it. She goes to see him. He pours two glasses of wine and is hurt when she addresses him as ‘Sir’. To his surprise, she drinks it in one gulp. She is sad that he upsets everyone – why is he ruining the place and people that she likes. Both are in tears. Dong Xian says that he cannot let her go because he has gone too far. But she chooses to walk away with Tai Jun. Tai Jun is overjoyed to see Yun Xi working in the hotel again.

Dong Xian tells Leo that he might only love Zhen Yin this lifetime. Tai Jun brings Zhen Yin to the restaurant and she tries to hide from him. I really laugh when he comes from the back and pulls her hand to shock her again. He begs her to see him for the last time at midnight at the church.

Yun Xi is being attacked by a customer at the rooftop and Tai Jun asks Zhen Yin to take over the front desk. He manages to save Yun Xi but poor Rong Qi who gets hurt is neglected by her. I feel so sorry for him. Zhen Yin is late and Dong Xian is no longer there. She knocks his room door but no one is in. She holds Tai Jun’s hand, saying that he is her good friend. Dong Xian sees them on his way back so he is angry.

How can she forsake him because of the hotel? Zhen Yin sees that he is so angry that he even forgets to close the car door after alighting. Dong Xian wants to buy over 20% of the shares and doesn’t mind spending his own money. It is surprising that he uses the pen that Zhen Yin gives him to sign all the documents. Tai Jun searches for the last 3% - Yun Xi provides him the news.

Madam Song stays in Pearl Room again and Zhen Yin tells Chun Qing not to tell Tai Jun. She will deal with her. Chun Qing mentions this to Xiang Wan and Xian Wan tells this to Dong Xian, who promises him the GM post if he lets him know the hotel management.

This scene is also an unforgettable one. Dong Xian and Leo visit Madam Song. They give a 20% profit to buy her shares. Dong Xian manages to suppress his disgust and says there will be no problem for him to treat a meal. I laugh when Leo adds that he can give her a drink but she tells him to shut up. She only wants Dong Xian. Zhen Yin enters, apologizing that she can’t get the brand of undergarments she wants. Madam Song throws the things at her. Leo doesn’t dare to look at Dong Xian as he nearly freezes to ice.

Dong Xian feels like having a stab in his heart. When Zhen Yin says sorry to Madam Song and picks the things up, he finds it unbearable and nearly can’t control himself from hitting Madam Song. He runs after Zhen Yin. However fast she goes, she is no match for him who jogs daily. This stupid woman has so many places to run but she chooses to go to the Diamond villa. It is locked so she has to face him.

She tells him that she will do anything for the hotel. He consoles her that he doesn’t feel shameful over it. She weeps and he is determined to make it ‘their‘ hotel. Since she can’t move to his side, he will make the first move. This man’s attitude can be so insulting – he signals to Tai Jun to see him. Tai Jun is furious to know what has happened to Zhen Yin. He goes to see Mrs Song to pass her undergarments to her.

Actually, Mrs Song is here to sell the shares to Tai Jun to make amends for the past. She actually likes what Zhen Yin buys for her. She only wishes to punish Zhen Yin for lying to her that Tai Jun isn’t in the hotel. Do laugh when Tai Jun is uneasy and flees quickly as the woman tries to seduce him again.(But is Tai Jun really so handsome?) Leo suspects Zhen Yin to be the spy to ruin their chance but Dong Xian trusts her.

Fu Wan finds out that she falls for Tai Jun. Now he knows how the news is leaked. Tai Jun visits Zhen Yin – she even jokes that he puts on the stockings for Mrs Song! Upon seeing that she doesn’t wear any necklace, he asks her. She replies that both are missing.

The hotel is getting a financial director who administers the funds – although he has no say in the management, the hotel has to give in to him if it needs the money. All are shocked to know that the person is Dong Xian. He dominates the session and Tai Jun is annoyed when he doesn’t allow him to talk.

Tai Jun likes Yun Xi now. Dong Xian is not satisfied with Tai Jun’s report on developing the hotel. He wants a plan for the present. Xiang Wan comes up with a retrenchment list and Tai Jun confronts Dong Xian. He gives him the resignation letter and approaches the editor to publish the news.

Dong Xian is puzzled as he knows the procedure – Tai Jun should give the letter to Dong Shu and not to him. He sees Zhen Yin at the pub. She hopes that he vanishes from her. It is so sad - Dong Xian is hurt – she has built a hotel in his heart. Now where does she want him to go?

Tai Jun copies Dong Xian’s diskette and sneaks out of Dong Xian’s room. He sees Zhen Yin’s necklace with Dong Xian. Dong Xian uses legal means so Tai Jun suspects Fu Wan’s funds are illegal. Fu Wan manages to stop the press from publishing the news. Seeing that Fu Wan is so nervous, Dong Xian smells a rat. He tells Zhen Yin about Tai Jun’s resignation. She is unhappy so he tears the letter.

Dong Xian promises Tai Jun that he will not retrench anyone. When he steps out of Blue Emerald room, he is kidnapped. Tai Jun is puzzled on how Dong Xian can agree to his request since he has the upper hand. Fu Wan’s guards beat him up. Yun Xi informs Dong Xian and they rush there with Zhen Yin.

The women are anxious to see an injured Tai Jun and Dong Xian envies him. He carries him to hospital and is upset when Zhen Yin sits a seat away from him. Suddenly she sits near him and says that she is thankful that he saves Tai Jun. The next day, Dong Xian meets Fu Wan after his jog and says that he doesn’t want to work with despicable people. Later, he finds out that Jie Ni is his long lost sister, Dong Xi.

He tells Zhen Yin about his past and she consoles him, saying that he is now successful in life. But he replies how can he be successful if he can’t even make his lover wear his necklace? He has no courage to approach Jie Ni. Zhen Yin is stunned that a hunter can lack courage but she still helps him.

Dong Xian returns from his jog and sees Jie Ni. She is confused as he is Tai Jun’s love rival and also her brother. He arranges her to meet their father. He holds her hand to calm her nervousness when both go to see him. However, he can’t bring himself to have a meal with them as he reminds him of his bitter past. He offers to help Jie Ni to further her studies but she is more interested to be a chef.

Dong Xian tries in vain to talk Fu Wan out to sell the hotel to foreign hotels. He has predicated that the hotel will earn profits in 2 years. Dong Xian admires the scenery from the rooftop with Zhen Yin. From walking around, he starts to realize why the staff loves this place so much.

Dong Shu is dying from cancer and accepts Yun Xi to work in the hotel again. Tai Jun visits Zhen Yin and is uneasy to see Dong Xian. Dong Xian knows that she is still at work and visits her. He jokes that waiting in her home wastes his time. Leo is shocked when Dong Xian decides to buy over the hotel shares. He is going to sell his villas in the US to raise the funds. He tells Leo that he treats him rudely because he is kin to him. He asks for his blessings so he supports his decision.

It is an awkward moment for Zhen Yin, Tai Jun and Dong Xian during dinner. To Tai Jun, she is a luggage label which expires after a trip but he can’t bear to throw it away. Tai Jun insists on paying for the bill. He finds it unbelievable that he is going to be a shareholder and not the financial director anymore. Fu Wan is angry when Dong Xian annuls his agreement with him.

Fu Wan decides to frame Dong Xian but Yun Xi steals the documents for him. Leo predicts the worst scenario is they have to pay a fine and be banished from Korea. Dong Xian decides to work with the tax department. Tai Jun belittles himself to beg Dong Xian to settle the bank receipt problem and he agrees.

Zhen Yin meets Dong Xian after his jog. Jogging is not his habit – it is rather his trademark. He needs to care for himself but now he has her. He likes to meet her every morning. She replies he will have to cut down his workload if he wants to do that. Poor Leo has to pretend to be the double agent. He uses Fu Wan’s cheque to buy over his own shares. Then Dong Xian will be the new buyer to buy the shares again.

Many are touched by Dong Xian’s gesture. Zhen Yin wears the necklace again. Dong Xian meets her for dinner. He can’t sell the shares now so he is penniless. He has no house to provide for her but she still wears his ring. She finds it expensive and says she will visit the shop the next time in case he gets cheated. He pretends to look shocked – isn’t a ring enough for her? She says that he can take a break and she will provide life for him since he works so hard.

Leo is worried over Dong Xian’s safety to meet Fu Wan as the cops cannot protect him. He will have to gain the evidence from him on his own. He quickly contacts Tai Jun. Sure indeed Fu Wan discovers the wiring on him and beats Dong Xian up. It still puzzles me when he doesn’t fight back to defend himself since he fights so well. Yun Xi stops her father and Tai Jun helps Dong Xian up.

Fu Wan admits his crimes after listening to Yun Xi. She goes to Las Vegas to study hotel management. Dong Shu requests Zhen Yin and Tai Jun to manage the hotel The hotel’s rebuilding ends and Dong Shu gives out all her shares to the staff. Do look out for Hang Jul who sings in the celebration dinner but it is so annoying that he wears shades at night!!! Dong Xian gives Zhen Yin the air ticket to LA but she tells him that she can’t go. Dong Xian is shattered as he doesn’t know when he is allowed to return to Korea. He is disappointed when he doesn’t see her walking up the slope to see him on the day he leaves.

He doesn’t see her at the airport too. This scene is touching when he looks around for her in vain so he leaves messages to her email. Zhen Yin waits for Dong Xian to look for her but he doesn’t appear. Only after she reads the long emails then she recalls the past with him. The last one is he can’t break up with her like this and wants to see her before he leaves. No matter where he goes, he will leave a spot for her. But now he can only feel her warmth in his heart. She chides herself for always wanting him to make the first move and rushes to the airport but she is too late.

Dong Shu passes away after having a good talk with Fu Wan. Tai Jun becomes the new CEO while Xiang Wan is the GM. He marries Chun Qing and is now even more hardworking than Tai Jun. Zhen Yin is unhappy as Dong Xian hasn’t contacted her for a week. Tai Jun and Rong Qi are going to Las Vegas to receive the best Asia hotel award .They will meet Yun Xi there. He tells her to take care of a special guest he has invited. She can take leave from the next day onwards.

She is surprised to know that Dong Xian is the special guest. Since she doesn’t go to the US, he has to come personally. He asks her whether he can check in. She asks him how long he is going to stay. He replies he is going to stay forever by her side. She is overjoyed and hugs him. He smiles to return her hug.

Favourite character
Dong Xian, he may be a villain at first. When it concerns work, he is so cold-blooded and nasty. But he is so gentle and devoted to Zhen Yin and is a better person in the end. How touching it is when he becomes penniless to purchase the hotel’s shares for her! But in exchange, he is no longer lonely and wins her love.

Most hated character
Tai Jun for being so indecisive to waste Zhen Yin’s time. He wants her, doesn’t make the move and yet jealous when she is with another man.

Songs

Most touching songs are well sung by Jang Jul. He is a wonderful singer. The main theme ‘The Day We Met’ has 3 versions – one by him, another is a duet with a female singer while the last is the mandarin version. I like the subtheme songs ‘Because Of You’ and ‘The Promise That Can’t Be Fulfilled’ too. Other songs include ‘You are my sunshine’ by Heaven sent and ‘I will be back’ by Stone Rain. But the most attracting part is the fast-paced musical opening theme music. I didn’t buy the vcd for this serial because I bought the 14 ost MV VCD at $14 which captured most scenes from it.

Interesting facts

The real Korean hoteliers watched the serial too. All places shot become hot tourist spots – the hotel, the church and even the Macdonalds outlet. Many insist on staying in ‘Blue Emerald’ room or Yun Xi’s room. The former, about NT$10000 a day, is expensive at a VIP rate. The Diamond villa is still empty till now – it is only fit for a president or high officials for stay as the glass are all bullet proof and only they can afford it.

Many are attracted by Bae’s smiles because they are so rare in this serial – his smiles look innocent, sunny and attractive. Especially in the swimming pool scene, he really looks so happy. Some joked because the couple could get wet together. Many guessed the producer shows special preference to Bae to let him say all the touching lines. One has said that she liked the line ‘I told the gift shop assistant to give me a magical ring that can make my woman stay with me till the end’ most during the proposal.

Bae likes to take pictures during the breaks. Many commend him for being a professional for taking the black and white photos well. The Jaguar that Bae drives in the serial belongs to the director in real life. Many shots in the hotel are filmed in secret because the hotel doesn’t wish its business to be affected.

I am not sure whether Bae was nominated for this role but Kim Seung Woo was nominated in MBC’s television awards. Yong Jun went for a 3 month speech course in the US to play the role although he was already there for 2 years to study before that. The winner was Cha In Pyo for ‘A Woman’s Home’. Song Yun Ah won the best actress award from here. Song Yun Ah and Kim Seung Woo went Taiwan to promote it.

Bae hit 99 kg because he never watched his weight when he was busy studying in the university. Coincidentally, he has jogging scenes for almost every episode so he shed the pounds in 2 months. He joked that he would not worry about gaining weight again. Many look out for the scenes that Dong Xian exercises. He looks dashing when wet! They show how fit Yong Jun is. All shake their heads upon seeing that Zhen Yin knows none of snooker and swimming and he offers to teach her.

Note the similarities in ‘Hotelier’ and ‘All About Eve’? Zhen Yin and Shan Mei are clumsy and make blunders. Dong Xian and Xiang Zhen are educated overseas and forgive them endless times. Both productions are from the same television station, MBC.

Conclusion
This serial doesn’t have the highly publicized love relationship between the leads as in ‘All About Eve’. But the love scenes are realistic. It tells the truth on how all are indecisive in making their choice. Like TKL, I didn’t like them beg unreasonable customers by kneeling – this is throwing away their own self-esteem.

However, the artistes' performances can be very inconsistent. Some are good while some deliver a bland performance. So I feel disappointed over the acting. Maybe I have expected too much.

Do go for the dual sound version if you have the chance. I watched it twice on television. Bae, Song and also the actor as Leo really speak good English. Leo even leaves a trace of American accent. Bae’s voice is as irresistible as Byun Hun’s. Gentle and filled with emotion when speaking the sad lines. He is the main attraction here too – just like Byun Hun in Beautiful Days.

Sukting's Ratings :

On song : * * * * (Scale of 5)

On acting : * * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : * * * * (Scale of 5)


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