「호텔 델루나」 / 「Hotel del Luna」 is a Korean drama starring Lee Ji Eun (‘IU’) and Yeo Jin Goo as the owner and manager, respectively, of a thousand-year old hotel which only caters to spirits. It was written by the Hong sisters and aired from 2019-07-13 to 2019-09-01.
A story about healing, moving on, forgiveness, and loving again.
「호텔 델루나」 / 「Hotel del Luna」 (previously known as guest house of the moon) is not like any other hotel. A supernatural place, the hotel is not visible in its true form during the daytime as humans can only come across the hotel under special circumstances. Its staff and clients are all souls/ghosts coming to terms with unfinished business in their former lives before they pass on to the afterlife and cycle of reincarnation; the staff in particular have been there for decades and even centuries as they have not settled their grudges. The exception to this is the hotel general manager, which has been filled by a succession of human “passersby” since they need to interact normally with the real world in instances like paying bills or fulfilling ghosts' requests with still-living relatives/friends.1
Jang Man-wol is the owner of this hotel, which is located in Myeong-dong, Seoul. Due to a huge sin committed a millennium ago, the hotel catering to the dead has been bound to her soul. As a result of manipulation by the deity Mago, she meets Gu Chan-sung’s father and makes a deal for his son to work for her after 20 years in return for his life and money. With his new found fortune and life, his father takes Gu Chan-sung abroad where the young man grows up as a sincere perfectionist who is level-headed but also has a soft heart. He comes back to South Korea after his father’s death to be an assistant manager at a multinational hotel corporation, only to face Jang Man-wol, after which he ends up fulfilling the agreement and becomes the manager of Hotel Del Luna.1
At first, one would assume this is a typical romantic comedy about some couple who found each other, denies being in loved, and eventually lived happily ever after. However, one will soon learn that this is a story about healing, moving on, forgiveness, and loving again.
Lee Ji Eun beautifully brought to life her character. She successfully hid her image as the world’s “Queen of Pop” with her superb acting. From a very friendly, approachable, smiling Ji Eun, she totally became the bitter, easy to anger, and strict that is Jang Man Weol. As this story spans a thousand years, IU’s talent in acting shone as she took on different roles and genres in one series.
One would probably also assume that Hotel del Luna was a Ji Eun show especially since she wore countless of dresses in every 1.5-hour episode, which could range from a thousand years ago to the present. I would say she probably beaten Lucy Liu in “Elementary” in this area, turning a series into a subtle fashion show. However, Yeo Jin Goo made this his own show as well, himself a veteran actor who have taken challenging roles, playing as Goo Chan Sung, the Hotel Manager, equalised the show between the two actors and their characters.
The music were also great. Jin Goo’s and Ji Eun’s acting were more than enough but with the right music at the right time, it deepened the emotional connection to the important scenes. From action to the most heart-wrenching scenes, the music made the series very memorable and touching, especially for those who are going through the same challenges in their lives.
The writers also did well. While Hotel del Luna was a hotel for ghosts/spirits, nothing was too scary, I wouldn’t even categorised this show as “horror”. In each episode, they touched on different subjects about death, murder, accidents, forgiveness, and separation with the people we love, that longing desire to be with them even after life has ended. They carefully guided the show to not turn into “horror”–which amateur writers would’ve fallen into and throw the story everywhere–by always bringing in the light-hearted comedy of Jin Goo and Ji Eun.
Finally, the overall story of healing, moving on, forgiveness, and loving again was told perfectly in 16 episodes averaging 1 hour and 20 minutes each. This was very eye-opening for those of us who were recently deeply broken, those of us who are denying we have lingering bitterness in our hearts, those of us who are finding it hard to forgive and move on. Goo Chan Sung and Jang Man Wol showed us how and why we should heal, move on, forgive, and love again. Goo Chan Sung demonstrated to us how we should let someone heal first before entering into a relationship with them, how we can be the support they need and not give in to their every demands just because they were deeply hurt. While Jang Man Wol told us how bitterness and an unforgiving heart can lead one to live a sad, unfulfilling, pointless life, and how we can once again love by healing ourselves first.
Thank you to the whole team for bringing us an amazing production and a great meaningful story.
If there will ever be a “Hotel Blue Moon”, I hope that it will tell meaningful stories as with Hotel del Luna, and that the sequel wouldn’t fall into “just another entertainment show”–a common pitfall with sequels.
Hotel del Luna: 100 out of 10 stars!