Song Yoon Ah Cameos in Secret Garden (Plus Some Hotelier Thoughts)

Famed screenwriter Kim Eun Sook has so many drama hits under her belt, naturally it would also come with heaps of acting goodwill from the actors who have benefitted from starring in one of her dramas. When Kim Eun Sook filmed On Air, the string of cameos from A-list stars was so long there was actually a list to keep track of it. I remember a few folks popped up in City Hall, and now the first big cameo in Secret Garden has just been announced. Song Yoon Ah, newly married and the mother of a three-month old baby, will be coming out of her maternity leave and lending her star power as thanks to Kim Eun Sook for casting her in On Air.


She looks great, doesn’t she? I have a strange relationship with Song Yoon Ah. I neither like nor dislike her. She has a tendency to over-act, a lot. Her over-acting also coincides with playing screechy and shrilly characters, which makes it even more unbearable. Yet she always manages to settle down her performance mid-way through a drama, and then end on a lovely note. With that said, I’m always happy to see a career actress find the opportunities to continue their career after motherhood. Makes me feel less like a maternal leper figure.

Whenever I see Song Yoon Ah, the first thing that always, always, never fails, comes to mind is “THE HOTELIER KISS”. One word: Frank (okay, that was more like one name). Before he was Yonsama, before he was Kim Hyun Joong‘s mentor, before he was the zen master from Korea, Bae Yong Joon was Frank. And oh my god was Frank hot. I think Frank was the first time in K-drama history that the second lead got the girl (I refuse to believe he was co-male lead when Kim Seung Woo was a much bigger star at that time). Hotelier was also the first Hallyu-era K-drama to feature to sexy, adult, lingering kiss – which was heightened by its voyeuristic backdrop of the entire hotel staff witnessing said kiss. Song Yoon Ah, to me you will always be the chick that got kissed by Frank.

Have an awesome Hotelier MV (without said hot kiss, sadly):


Hotelier was technically my first K-drama, though I never watched it in its entirety until years later. A few years before I started really watching K-dramas (when all I knew were J-doramas and TW-dramas), one night, close to midnight, I was munching on cheetos and flipping the channel when I saw Asian people on screen. I stopped and was mesmerized by the strange dramatics that was going on. It was Hotelier, though I never realized it until years later. I watched the entire hour and turned it off thinking that it was the worse thing I had ever watched. Yes, watching K-dramas out of context does do that to a person. Thank god years later I got a proper introduction to K-dramas, and the rest is history.


Song Yoon Ah Cameos in Secret Garden (Plus Some Hotelier Thoughts) — 10 Comments

  1. Since I’m obviously a much more recent convert to K-drama then you, I NEVER KNEW O_O that Kim Seung Woo was a big star back in the day, though I like his recent work a lot. He was adorable in the winner of the Most Unpopular contest that was How to Meet a Perfect Neighbour.

    But I must be the only K-drama fan to have not watched ANYTHING starring Bae Yong Joon… do you think I should watch Legend? Just so that when I say I don’t think BYJ isn’t anything special, at least I have something to base my opinion on…

    • Kim Seung Woo is still a HUGE star in Korea. He’s achieved godfather status there now, and has transitioned to the more elder statesman roles, but still able to do romantic leads if he feels like it.

      Together with his wifey, also big K-star Kim Nam Joo, they are like the Brangelina of Korea. Only with less kids.

      As for a Yonsama drama, lots of people love Legend, I couldn’t get into it. I would recommend a classic like Winter Sonata or Hotelier just to see what all the fuss is about. Both hold up relatively well over the years, and does help the viewer understand the origins of the modern Hallyu drama craze.

      • the idea of watching Winter Sonata intimidates me. nuff said! Legend just doesn’t seem as tear-inducing.

        but Kim Seung Woo is sooooooo cute. He has that gruff, grumpy, I-like-you-but-won’t-show-it kinda charm which I’m totally weak against. Park Shin Yang has it too. I’m a sucker for an older man.

  2. Oh! my dear Ockoala,
    I just come here form PK YT recap 6 comments reading and I saw the latest of your blog about SG and Song Yoon Ah + Hotelier….. OH…. I was so happy.

    Do u know why I am so exicting? Same as you Hotelier was the very first Korea drama I watched. I like Song Yoon Ah, Bae Young Joong and Hotelier very much. That drama take me to new world that I can be enjou until now Korea dramas, songs ect……

    I would like to ask u that may be u know ……
    In 2008 in Bae Young Joong’s website had script of Hotelier’s Part two. I did download and printed it out. I still have it. But that one was unfinished. Now I keep looking for it and I cannot find it anymore there. Part 2 of Hotelier script was quiet good. It had been written about after married life of Frank and Jin Young (may be spelling wrong).
    Could you pls kindly tell me where I can get the completed script of that.

    When I was reading part two script I want them to continue Hotelier part two.
    Now Bae Young Joong does not do much drama or movie, I am wondering what is he doing?
    I know that he created the book of “Beauty of Korea”.

    • Hi sandi

      I know nothing about the Hotelier part II script, but I’m fairly certain that its fanfiction that was released on the internet, and not anything official at all.

      There was and has never been any discussion of doing a part II to Hotelier.

      As for Bae Yong Joon, he’s not been acting since 2007, and has been publishing travelogues and acting as spokespersons and goodwill ambassador and the like for S. Korea.

  3. @ Sandi:
    Try the very quiet Hotelier 2002. com site, which was early home to so many familiar (ex Hoteliers) and K-addict writers you see around today. Not that all of us were that head over heels over the drama then … more the comfy site housed convenient meeting place to yakk about all things K-related.

    This was a site dedicated to the drama, with the early Hotelier fans doing their own version of voluntary subbing and translating (way before fan subbing even existed in the Kworld). So if you’re talking about Hotelier fanfic (TT and Haze = gracious mods of the site who also wrote beautiful fanfic spurned out of love for this drama), this would probably the site to start looking. It’s almost a shrine dedicated to Hotelier and all related resources.

    Hahaha .. I was so nodding to your early Cheetos encounter with FS and totally with your comments on SYA too (yes in a nutshell).

    Well ditto for me, but my first Kdrama foray was not actually Hotelier … it was Autumn in My Heart when I was back holidaying in Singapore. Saw these 3 gorgeous beings fleetingly on a beautiful cinematography backdrop (Song Hae-kyo, Song Seung-heun and Won-bin) when the credits were rolling and of course …. shallow me had to get to the bottom of WhoTF were these people?!?

    My midnight Cheetos first K-encounter however, was definitely with Frank Shin … also early morning/late night in Vancouver, when any interesting Asian offering back then at midnight would be almost-illusionary. (outside of FS, however I can’t summon any more interest in BJY though I did do the obligatory foray after into that Kdrama bible — WS, and later his April Snow) That aside … the early Hotelier.2002 home remains dear to many of us fanatics who had endless hours of fun chatting and bonding in there, since there wasn’t many K-resources to turn to back then. And blogs … eh, what were those?

    And my (also) midnight Cheetos J-encounter in Vancouver was a long-haired Takenouchi Yutaka … (whoa, who was that???) and that drama was With Love.:)

  4. I would like to say thank you to both Ockoala and Jusash for let me know about my query.
    Its may be fans had been written about those script. WHO KNOWS…..?

  5. i know i’m being really shallow…..but i was just watching dr champ and i really wish SBS would use the same camera for this drama too….just imagining looking at all these pretty people through that….gaaaaaaaaah!!!

  6. Hello Ockoala! I came read this just because I read Hotelier in it, and was curious^^ Glad that I read it. I’m with you, she will always be the girl Frank kissed! Hahahah omo, I love hotelier, and like you said, is one of rare kdramas that the second guy got the girl! I sooo loved it, and yes I also think the other actor was the main guy, but he didn’t get the girl. And also, I love manager floor Suh and Frank kisses. The one in her house *here again has everyone watching it, and the other one in the hotel*I didn’t see her last works, but I liked her acting in hotelier, since I never saw her again, I thought she wasn’t so well recognized in Korea, but I see I was wrong^^ Kisses!

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