Hotel King is one of those dramas where I watched two episodes and bailed. It wasn’t beyond terrible but was bad enough that even the reunion OTP of Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae wasn’t enough to keep me around. With that said, the three new pictures posted by Lee Da Hae on her social media account this weekend is luring me back to check out the drama. Maybe not the entire thing from where I left off, but I’m intrigued enough to want to watch the last two episodes of this sucker. HK had disappointing ratings in the high single digits for most of its run and only towards the end broke ten and hovered in the low teens. Even its predecessor the abysmal Golden Rainbow got mid-to-high teen ratings during its run. Can’t say what the problem was with the lack of viewer interest but the first two episodes were unnecessarily dramatic in doing stylish makjang and Lee Da Hae’s character was weird and not in an interesting weird way. Her face also started to sadden me with its stiffness but she still tries so darn hard, bless her heart. Lee Dong Wook acted like he has a stick up his rear he was so stiff, but very gorgeous doing so. The three pictures that piqued my attention are ones snapped by the OTP at a beach wedding scene for the final episode of this drama. I don’t think that’s a spoiler anyone cares about being spoiled, unless HK’s narrative called for a rocks fall down ending. Check out the lovely wedding couple pics below as well as the cast attending the well-deserved wrap party for giving it their all through 32-episodes. If folks who watched HK all the way want to chime in your thoughts on whether it’s a watch/avoid that would be much appreciated!
Lee Da Hae and Lee Dong Wook look incredibly sweet together in the way that only costars who really get along off camera can really muster up. I’ve heard they still really enjoyed working together again so fans of the DongHae couple might even have a third go from them one day. Who knows, Lee Da Hae and Jang Hyuk have done three dramas together already.
With Hotel King checking out, up next for the network is the terminal illness female empowerment weekend drama Mama with Song Yoon Ah, Hong Joon Hyun, and Jung Joon Ho.
I started watching just for the main couple as well but I also stopped after watching 10 episodes. Despite how cute LDH and LDW are together, this drama was just too makjang for me and got really really hard to follow with all the birth secrets and fauxcest and all that unjazzy stuff.
I also found LDH’s character to be kind of bizarre. I couldnt even feel how she came to like LDW’s character. Plus, her nasally voice kind of irked me. I dont know why shes using that kind of voice because she totally wasnt like that before.
First time posting here but a regular reader of this blog. About this drama,it deserve a recognition not on the writing part but on based on the actors performance. The leads are the reason for it’s success.It can be considered successful because its one of MBC’s dramas that made them number one in their time slot even when angel eyes was airing. It’s lowest rating is about 8.2% AGB nationwide for the whole run. True to its genre,its definitely a makjang that could put off some viewers to check it out. It has its flaws but it has its saving grace too. When it comes to the chemistry of the leads, well, Lee da hae and Lee dong wook reached a level that the scenes appeared real.Much better than My girl chemistry. They made a lot of adlib that make their scenes more believable and sweet. To judge the drama properly,one must finished the whole stretch.Just giving my opinion though.Thanks for the post about them Ms Koala.
Very well said..
Despite of some negative comments which I believed that all dramas will received certain level of negative comments due to different preference of human beings, I still got hooked onto the drama very much. Putting aside the storyline which may not a favourite to everyone, I really like the chemistry between the DongHae couple. I may not be a fan of them but I watched “My Girl” years back. They already having very good chemistry then and this time round even better. Looking so lovey dovey and looking so real. Was really surprised that they wasn’t even nominated for the “Best Couple” in the MBC Awards. But that’s not important coz I really hope to see them putting a step forward to become real couple. Also, looking forward to their 3rd collaboration.
You’re absolutely right.. you must finished watching it.. in 4 straight days i did it.. woohhh
I love it very much!! Kudos to all the stars..LDW and LDH congrats!! Even its already 2017..
Very well said.I really loved watching donghae couple and the drama was also pretty good that I have rewatched it about 3-4 times already
I really hated the show. The story was one of the worst. What a waste of talent!
then how come you watched it if you hated it?
What?! Don’t u know how to appreciate this drama?! Well you … Idiot Hotel King … Is the best Korean drama ever so shut your mouth .. Tss holy crap…
Despite the makjang elements that could’ve been normally dragging, I’m one of those who enjoyed the drama. I admit that the genre may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it did have its redeeming factors. Lee Da Hae’s Ah Mo Ne may have started out as bizaare, but it was refreshing to see her mold into a headstrong and capable grown woman. And of course, the chemistry of the leads is just out of this world! Seeing them act all lovey dovey is enough reason to tune in. I’m gonna miss this drama badly. 🙁
Started then stopped. Even my love for Wookie couldn’t help me passed the first few episodes. It was just too long and drawn out. They need someone to edit it down to 16 episodes, and then maybe I will give it another try. But Wookie, you were lovely to look at!
The worst part for me was Wookie looking constantly constipated….
First time I have posted on here, but always come to have a look at what Koala has to say.
I agree that it started out abysmally, apart from the ‘falling through the glass ceiling’, however, it did drag with all the confrontations between LDH and LDW. So much so that I actually fast forwarded, which is something I rarely do. LDH’s character was beyond annoying and I found it hard to understand how the ‘General Manager’ could fall in love with her. But then…who knows how men think? LOL
Trying to watch it from start to end was beyond me and I had to find a Kdrama not so intense. My worry was that LDW might die in the end after all his suffering. Actually, if you can hold on until about ep 15 onwards the drama is truly worth watching. So many surprises. I am up to ep 29 and am not bored.
Not sure what ‘makjang’ means not being Korean. I am assuming that it refers to a drama that is beyond ‘dramatic’ and into melodrama! I kept thinking that Joan Crawford would have played the Director Baek part as well as the actress already in the drama.
The stand out portrayal for me was the Roman Lee role. It wouldn’t have been easy to have brought out all the nuances required but this actor was superb. He had to appear pitiful, flawed, strong, trustworthy and, eventually, loveable. Not an easy task. I have seen him giving a bravura performance in Monster and he steals every scene, much as he does in this drama.
Nothing need be said about the ‘Vice-Chairman’. Every drama that he is in that evil grin sends shivers up my back…. He was born to play the villain. LOL
I bet someone made a OTP compilation vid, and that’s all most people need to see. The acting ranged from passable to atrocious minus the veteran actors and the guy who played Roman.
In any case, HK was a massive waste of time and the only good character to come out of it was Cha Soo-wan. Makjang frenzy aside, I’m really mad that they built up this huge mystery only to give zero payoff for it.
you should have stopped from the very beginning instead of you wasting your time in watching. no wonder you did not understood the story coz from the very beginning you did not understand it….
I would say that you are too harsh in your assessments. It certainly wasn’t a story that could be watched half-heartedly whilst fiddling around doing something else. If you watched it earnestly I can’t understand why you didn’t understand the varying plots and devices.
I think the weakness can be put down to LDH. She was unable to bring out the various levels of her character. She does improve later on in the show, around about where she is dumped as the Chairwoman. Give it another try, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Unpopular opinion, but this is one of the few makjangs that I really, really enjoyed watching. That I love Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae is one thing, but I appreciated all the other characters as well, even the hotel staff. True, the plot is ridiculous, but getting past that admission helped me enjoy this drama so much, because everyone’s acting was really beyond good. I hope you try watching it again! 🙂
Couldn’t agree more! I enjoyed the acting, especially that of veterans Kim Hae Sook and Lee Dok Hwa. Hands down!
At last!!!! Another two people who enjoyed it as much as I am.
Hi Capt. Koala! Thanks for this news and picture. I watched “Hotel King” from start to finish. Its story held my interest, perhaps because of the makjang elements. But I think it is more because I found all the actors played their characters very well. LDW, I thought, was outstanding in this drama. If you only saw the first 2 episodes and then watch the last 2, you will miss out on many of the amazing acting scenes from LDW.
LDH’s character had many shining moments as well, which you will not find in the first 2 episode because her character’s growth, I believe, started in the middle episodes. Her chemistry with LDW is undeniable in this drama, which made me cheer for her character even more.
Then there were the villains outstandingly performed by Lee Deok-Hwa and Kim Hae-Sook. Their being veteran actors were in clearly display in this drama. I’ve seen Kim Hae-Sook in several dramas before, as recent as in Wang’s Family, but here in Hotel King, is where I really began to appreciate her.
I also liked the supporting characters and the actors who portrayed them. I thought they played a significant role in the growth of LDH’s character and in reinforcing the fact that LDW’s character is the hero of this drama.
The story of this drama may not have broken any new ground, but I’m still glad I watched it in its entirety because I got to witness some amazing acting performances.
Thanks again for this article and for inviting us to share our views on “Hotel King”.
I agree with you! LDW was able to portray such great emotions here and not just the usual cutie look other k actors show in usual drama
Ockoala, the way you wrote about the rating and the story, sounds like double standard. I can feel you are not really fans of the main stars. Just for the sake of writing.
double standard, how? Ockoala has never been afraid to voice her opinions whether she did or didn’t like something. Actually, if you’d read her earlier posts regarding this drama, you’d have known how happy she was with this reunion. Just because the drama was not to her liking, did you want her to be insincere “just for the sake of writing”?
Love hate relationship with the drama. Loved the chemistry between Wookie and Dae Hee but hated the contrived way the writers separated and reunited them, and repeat.
Loved two of the supporting characters, Cha Su Wan and Sun Woo Hyun but hated how the writers underutilized the rest. And don’t get me started about the villains and antagonists. I was so disappointed in Lee Duk Hwa since I normally like his acting. But he was just painful to watch in this drama. It’s like the writers never cared about the direction the show was going into.
BUT for all its awful points, I stuck with this drama till the end because of the chemistry. I really hope these two do another project again, one with better writing.
Totally agreed the two main leads hv good chemistry. Its was melodrama. I praise the script writer who unravelled the mystery of who the real murderer , the relatioship intertwained and the jig jaw pcs eventually placed well. I loved to watch the two main leads to act together.. chemistry is there definitely.
He is just too darn HOTTTTT !!!
I watched the drama from start to finish. To be honest, I found LDW’s acting here sucks. His acting looks like he is always constipated. There are some angle in the drama that he even looks terrible, like some malnourished owl. I guess the live shooting is to be blamed plus being in Roommate once in awhile doesn’t help at all. LDH’s acting all throughout the series seems overacting. I have to admit though that she’s more gorgeous and beautiful here than in My Girl. I hope she and LDW will really have a real relationship.The guy who played Roman Lee is eye catching though.
LOL “malnourished owl”. I love LDW but that is such an apt description of him when he’s tired! I also saw from Roommate that he was basically starving himself for the drama. Poor guy 🙁
I watched a couple of episodes and decided to just watch Da Hae and Dong Wook scenes only…it was a good decision, fast forward the rest:D
HK had a lot of repetitive plot loops. Ah, typical makjang to me. But LDW and LDH had fantastic chemistry. The OTP scenes were so sweet and sexy! Really worth watching just for those scenes. 🙂
To be honest, I felt like this was the kind of drama that you either really really loved or really disliked.
And I really loved the drama: there were times when the drama hit really unrealistic plot lines that were never really elaborated on, and sort of just skipped over.
But overall, the drama was really intriguing, and what really kept me glued until the end was the sheer, raw chemistry between the two leads. Most of their scenes together seemed like…a hidden camera of an actual couple, which is something I rarely experience when I watch a drama, so of course I was hooked.
But enough about the obvious–
Acting-wise, I think Lee Da Hae was amazing. She took a poorly written character and owned her role. Her crying scenes were some of the most heartbreaking scenes in the whole drama, and you could really emphathize with her character.
Baek Mi Yeon was also wonderful as usual. Lee Duk Hwa was a really strange villain, almost comical. However, near the end, he does some spectacular acting.
Lee Dong Wook had his shining moments–his expressions were perhaps exaggerated in the beginning, but you get used to it.
I too bailed after 2 episodes. Lee D Hae just looks so fake now and so thin! Skeleton thin! She was pretty then and I thought she would be more gorgeous with age but she obviously tried to slow that down. I was also confused if I was watching a Taiwanese drama or a korean drama as there was so much unnecessary intense dramatic moments. It was awful.
I agree. Too many flashbacks saying the same thing. On the other hand, if you can fast forward a few of them, it really is an interesting drama with many standout performances from the cast. A rich dish indeed!
watched until ep 8, then i stop. ijust couldn’t stand it. But every now and then i just check some recap just to catch up things.
I just don’t know why people would try to write a review when they only watch few episodes. You haven’t seen how the characters developed., story that unfold and the great acting of the actors. Yes it was makjang but one of the best I had seen.
Okay, this is coming from someone who stuck through it from the first to the last minute.
Personally, I think HK, if given the right direction would have made a really fun makjang. I have not seen the last episode, but this is more of an overview. Looking back now, I can see that the writer already had this drama well thought out. All the machinations were put in place and frankly, nothing really came out of the left field. It’s very structured and the flow of storyline is quite simple.
To me, it’s the direction that ruined the drama. I could finally understand why Kim Daejin PD was fired, because he didn’t get the drama. I would argue, neither did his replacement. So yeah, that’s not saying much.
I think HK is a drama that actually gets better on its later episode because you get to see the full picture and have finally understood what it was trying to say. But even so, I don’t deny that probably 80% of my reason watching was the OTP. I don’t regret watching it at all because it has been a fun ride. The drama had some very painful episodes, but I’m glad I was able to stick thru them.
Bottom line is, if you’re a fan of the OTP, might worth a watch. If not, meh, there are much better dramas out there right now.
LOL at the wide-ranging opinions on the same drama watched by different viewers. Thanks for all the 2 cents, peeps!
But I think we can all agree that the chemistry between the leads was hot as effing hell (x
I like LDW but has he been taking acting lessons from SSH lately, grimacing, bulging eyes, etc. I cannot finish any of his dramas since Scent of a Woman. I could not even get through the 1st ep of Hotel King.
As much as I fangirl over this dude, I gotta agree. There’s not a lot of improvement since his My Girl day that I think he just doesn’t have acting, especially dramatic acting, in his gene. Either he needs to take more roles like this to practice, or just stick to romcom.
You should both watch him in Mandate of Heaven. That is the first drama I saw him in and I was hooked. My Girl was a fluffy piece of half-arsed comedy, but enjoyable for what it was.
If not for the sheer chemistry of LDW and LDH, I don’t think I would be able to complete watching all 32 episodes. LOL. They are just so adorable and good to look at when together! That wedding scene by the blue sea, clear sky – so beautiful!
I am impressed with Jin Tae Hyun’s portrayal of Roman Lee. The other supporting role that impressed me was Cha Su Won. 🙂
YOU. GET. ME.
Honestly, I’ve never watched a drama that was longer than 16 episodes, NEVER. I thought that any drama that couldn’t finish its story in 16 episodes was bound to be a failure.
But of course, there’s always a first time, and HK was my first. In a bout of superficiality, I found myself watching purely for the excitement of my OTP and was terribly terribly disappointed when it ended so quickly. (yes, quickly! How I must have changed)
my OTP T___T
This viewer is not into makjang and totally avoids them. I admit I only take HK because of LDW and LDH having seen and enjoyed the classic My Girl. I also agree that LDW has not mastered the nuisance of acting angry scenes, but other than that I think DW showed a lot of improvement from his MG days. I really enjoyed watching the two in Hotel King – the chemistry, whether they’re acting angry, sad, funny, romantic or passionate scenes is way really something else, not usually seen in Kdramas – sometimes you can no longer tell which is scripted or ad-lib. If you enjoy them in My Girl, you’ll definitely enjoy watching them in HK.
As for the makjang plot, yes HK has the conventional makjang elements of birth secret, one-sided faux-sibling concept (which I think turned off some of the audience at the start) which was only cleared by episode 10. But unlike other makjang that start showing all the secrets of the past and old generation and you just have to wait when they will be revealed, Hotel King will keep you guessing what secrets will be revealed and how, episode after episode. It’s not a drama series that you can pick selected episodes only – you’ll get lost. It’s a series that you have to watch from beginning to end for better appreciation.
Oh it has flaws in writing and directing, and even encountered production problems in the middle. But for a makjang – it got a lot of viewers hooked and thinking about the plot and how the characters will react. And the 32 episodes allowed for impressive character development for the leads – Cha Jae Wan and Ah Mo Ne, and their love story while still keeping the context of the scenes in hotel business. For this viewer, Hotel King is for keeps.
So ockoala, thank you for posting an article and allowing your readers to air their views on HK.
Thanks to the comments left by Koala’s readers, I started watching a few episodes.
I don’t know whether my opinion will change after more episodes but I need to write my initial thoughts.
Lee Da Hae
I like her since My Girl. I didn’t think she was that pretty in My Girl as I thought she still had some baby fat then and she was pretty but not drop dead gorgeous. Lee Da Hae today – her nose has changed from being button cute to aristocratic refined and she has lost all the fats from her My Girl days. The good is that she looks ethereal, and you can stare at her all day like she is a goddess put on earth to disgrace the likes of us mere mortals. Her nose, face shape, lips, eyes, everything now is close to perfection. Her figure is supposed to be perfect but perhaps a little skimming on skeletal.
She is a good actress, no doubt about it. She has honed her acting skills over the years. I feel that her acting is better than Lee Dong Wook here, and she was intriguing in glimpses of a dislikable character such as Miss Ripley. What do I want to say most? She is gorgeous now but I like her old looks better. Maybe she didn’t look like a fairy then but she was more likable. Please stop morphing further because it’s getting borderline!
Her looks and aging needn’t get in the way because she is a natural actress and I feel that she has an infectious charm.
LDW’s acting has never been to me on par with the likes of those who can act with their eyes. His problem is that he has big dead fish eyes. Perhaps it is too soon to say but he was awfully repressed and controlled in the first few episodes. It is okay to act repressed but he can give off flashes of his emotions or discomfort or tenderness in small expressions, his eyes or a flicker of emotion. That will convey that he is suppressing himself due to the villains but he is suffering/ gentle/ affected underneath.
I like both of them. I am very pleased that I discovered HK due to this post. I will watch the OTP for as long as I feel like because they are good together.
I agree. I couldn’t skip any episodes. Thanks for the lesser flashbacks than other dramas.
i started watching this purely just for the leads as i am curious enough to check out their if their chemistry from MG is still there…it just happens that i was into makjang dramas for the past year that i decided to give this one a try…it turned out that i got hooked into loop of controversies,secrets and unusual ridiculous story lines as makjangs usually do, making me more curious to watch the next episode…but i know deep within me that the major part that got me so fixated in watching this one is the chemistry of the OTP…that turned me from a plain kdrama addict into shipper (which i rarely do in any dramas that i watch)…anyway, thanks koala for this post
I really love this drama. LDH n LDW were perfect together. their chemistry waz guud n performance very great so were d others. I didn’t think it was boring. Juz hav patience and sit thru it and u wld enjoy it.
both main character look anorexic. I don’t know why Lee dong wook have to be in a strict diet for his role in this drama. Are they an item? I prefer them during the My Girl stint
En realidad ha sido un buen drama, en especial para todos lo que lo hemos visto desde principio a fin. LDH y LDW son espectaculares juntos, su quimica es super natural no hay punto de comparación con otras parejas y he visto mas de 30 dramas. Amo a esta pareja los sigo desde MG y han superado mis expectativas. Por Favor vuelvan a trabajar Juntos!!!!
Very well said..
i agree the chemistry is amazing, that you’ll think they really are a couple off cam (that will make me happy if they are). the story is not that bad, i watched it from start to end and i enjoyed it. waiting for LDW and LDH next project together. ilove donghae 🙂
i dnt knw wat to say..m an Indian nd i watchd dis drama online..for two days continuously…nd frankly speaking I really love dis drama…Lee Dong Wook i really like him..I use to learn korean jst to get to knw its culture more…Icnt evn tell hw many times hve i read Kimchi recipe nd all jst b’coz i love korea nd dat too b’coz..these Korean Dramas…I really like him..I kn wits a bit Crazyyy…
I got to know LDW for the first time through HK , i got hooked coz of his fascial expression which is priceless not like some cliche kdrama lead male, HK was awesome .character development , pararell scene , symbolismand ,chemistry bet.leads were perfect .the story has its flaw in editing , direction but all in all i enjoyed.i check out My girl coz it seems more popular but i found HK is much better .LDW performance improved in HK very much
HK was awesome. I really enjoyed it. LDW and LDH awesome. I so much love them.
I really got hooked in an instant. Maybe because I love these couple so much since My Girls time. I was so happy to see them again in Hotel King. Hope they could do another series in the future. I hope too that these couple will end up for real. I really love watching their BTS and they were so natural. The chemistry is just there. Please get married Lee Dong Wook and Lee Dae Hae! ☺
As for me, I liked it. As a writer, I think the writer did a great job with the plot lines. The focus is not just the love story but other things as well. I’m so glad it wasn’t a sappy love story.
I’ve seen My Girl years ago, after watching HK, I decided to watch “My Girl” again. My Girl story and focus is the love story and the missing granddaughter. HK’s story and focus are the lives of each characters, the hotel and the love story. It’s more mature and deep.
As for their characters personalities, they are not out of character. Their personalities in the story trascended their upbringing and experiences. They make sense to me.
I love My Girl but I’m not a teenager anymore so I don’t feel the appeal to watch it again but since it’s DongHae, I’m willing to watch just their scenes together.
Boooo!!!!!to those who do not appreciate such a nice storyline as this.The main characters were on point n their chemistry is sooooooo real n great.l!!!!whats nt to be loved about such a nice movie?Pls finish the movie first before u make any unecessary comments!!!!!!
Different strokes for different folks…for me I loved the story especially my fave couple #DongHae…
Stop making comments if you haven’t finished watching the whole thing. you cannot decide wether a drama is good or bad if you have only watched the first few episodes, try watching the rest of the episodes then decide wether its good or bad. but for me it was really a nice drama.
. . .I love it. . .#DongHae couple, did it well. Also the rest of the cast did a great job on this drama.. .
Love the show, have watched in 3 times,am now a diehard fan of Lee Da Hae, will be watching all her previous dramas. Am a new fan of Korea drama.lol
I have no idea why some people are provoking this drama. I cant get over it despite its many episodes! The songs keep on playing inside my head . It saddens me that this drama has ended. I really hope #DongHae couple make a new comeback again soon!! Pretty Please!!
first i watch this drama i feel very bored..then,i try to finish to watch this movie and i got this drama are very awesome….
I can’t agree more.. people said that the drama was bored. But when i watched it by myself, it wasn’t bad at all. There’s some humour in it despite of its complicated plot. Well u can say that I am in loss for watching it now.
I am fairly new to Korean Dramas. I have seen My Girl about a month before seeing Hotel King. I thing the shows are wonderful but too long. Lee Dong Wook and Lee Dae Hae co-starred beautifully together. I would like to see them co-starring together again.
I really love them together, they look compatible. I would like to watch them together again. I really wish so
TOTALLY AGREE WITH U.THEY REALLY FIT,AS FOR ME MY BEST COUPLE WAS KIM SOO HYUN AND JUN JI HYUN BUT RIGHT NOW I’M TOTALLY ROUTING FOR DA HAE AND DONG WOOK
Although LDW was looking too stiff and was like someone that was about to go blind he is still hot.Totally routing for ldw n ldh and all of u who haven’t finished watching the movie especially those who said they stopped at episode 2 and say they hate the movie how can u hate what u haven’t started. Let me tell why u hate the movie its b/c ur IQ’s re too low that they can grab the chemistry between lee da hae n lee dong wook
Lee dong wook did it great as well as the rest of the characters. I really love this couple. I hope they end up together in real life. Jae Wan is my ideal type he stands up and chooses the right path. Mo Ne is so lucky to have him. Having him is like having shield.