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.