ABC's newest summer soap, Grand Hotel, follows the inner workings of a luxurious Miami Beach hotel — and it has a lot more in common with Downton Abbey than you'd realize from the salacious marketing. The Crowleys these are not.
The series is, at its heart, a classic upstairs/downstairs story about the people living in and running the Riviera Grand Hotel in Miami Beach — which today's TV audiences will recognize most immediately from the British aristocratic drama. Grand Hotel, however, is actually based on the Spanish TV drama Gran Hotel, an upstairs/downstairs story set in 1900s Spain.
The ABC series, produced by Eva Longoria (who also plays a key recurring role), is set in the last family-owned hotel in Miami Beach, where the Mendoza family — patriarch Santiago, his second wife Gigi, and their four adult children — tries to keep their business afloat while burying plenty of secrets.
The first episode takes place months after the mysterious disappearance of one of the hotel's workers, as one of Gig's daughters plans to marry the son of a prominent family — but the wedding doesn't turn out as planned, and a new hire at the hotel has an ulterior motive in his new position.
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Roselyn Sánchez Plays Gigi Mendoza
Santiago's second wife, Gigi, is the mother to twentysomething twin daughters and wants to help her husband maintain the Riviera Grand Hotel's prominence. She's played by Sánchez, who starred in the Longoria-produced Devious Maids on Lifetime, as well as CBS procedural Without a Trace, and films including Rush Hour 2 and Act of Valor. She did her soap time on As the World Turns, and was also nominated for a Latin Grammy for the first single from her debut album, Borinqueña.
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Bryan Craig Plays Javi Mendoza
Soap veteran Craig has won two Daytime Emmys for his role as Morgan Corinthos on General Hospital. After his time in Port Charles, the 27-year-old recurred as a special forces sergeant on The CW's military drama Valor before landing his role as Santiago's amputee son, Javi. (He's not an amputee in real, life, BTW, but he has done plenty of research for the role.)
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Demián Bichir Plays Santiago Mendoza
The Riviera Grand's owner, Santiago Mendoza, is father to a grown son and daughter with his first wife, Beatriz. He's played by Mexican actor Bichir, who trained in the theater and is familiar to American audiences from TV shows like Weeds, where he played Nancy Botwin's politician/drug lord boyfriend, or The Bridge, where he played a Mexican detective investigating the a murder whose victim was discovered on a bridge between El Paso and Juárez. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 2011 film A Better Life.
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Wendy Raquel Robinson Plays Mrs. P
The Game star Robinson plays Mrs. P, Jason’s mom and the woman in charge of the domestic staff at the Riviera Grand. She’s also appeared in many pivotal ‘90s and ‘00s pop culture staples, including The Steve Harvey Show, Miss Congeniality, and Two Can Play That Game. She's also Cruella de Vil in Disney’s The Descendants.
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Lincoln Younes Plays Danny
The Riviera Grand's newest waiter is actually the brother of the hotel's missing employee who goes undercover to try to figure out what happened to his sister. Danny is played by Australian actor Younes, who did a stint on Australian soap Home and Away and the witness protection drama Hiding before heading stateside for Grand Hotel.
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Denyse Tontz Plays Alicia Mendoza
The 24-year-old kids' TV veteran — you'll recognize her from Big Time Rush, Dog With a Blog, or, more recently, The Fosters — plays Santiago's daughter, Alicia, who becomes more involved in the family business. Tontz has also starred on All My Children and the Matt Damon- and Ben Affleck-produced Syfy series Incorporated. She's also got a music career on the side, releasing singles including "Better Than Nothing" and "United States of Anxiety." In 2014, she won a Daytime Emmy for the original song "Parachute," which she wrote for All My Children.
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Anne Winters Plays Ingrid
Hotel maid Ingrid is hiding secrets of her own — namely, she's pregnant, and the father isn't necessarily who you'd expect (or who she tells people it is). She's played by Winters, who you'll recognize from the FX drama Tyrant, the short-lived ABC murder drama Wicked City, or as high school it girl Chloe in season 2 of 13 Reasons Why.