Hotel del Luna and the Appeal of the Mysterious House

Hotel del Luna is a hit Korean TV series about an ancient, ageless guest house in the heart of Seoul that functions as a waystation for ghosts on their way to the next life. Only the dead and the psychic can see it, but the living has no business there. Its staff and guests are ghosts who still have unfinished business on Earth and won't leave until they've taken care of it.

The surly owner of the hotel, played by Lee Ji-Eun, is bound to the hotel for a sin she committed a thousand years ago, a karmic debt she as yet to pay, and she hires a new manager from the world of the living, an earnest young man (Yeo Jin-Goo) who opens her heart. The irony is she can only finally die when she knows love again. In the meantime, the two of them have to deal with the guests with their unfinished business. It's part of the service.

Hotel Del Luna and the Appeal of the Mysterious House
"Hotel del Luna", Viki, tvN

The show takes on an anthology format on top of its longer arc about the mystery of the owner and her past actions that brought her to the hotel. The owner and manager also have to help the guests deal with their issues to help them move on – as well as refill their coffee and make sure their rooms are clean. The owner lets the manager and staff deal with that while she overspends money on gaudy dresses, champagne, and cars to while away her eternity.

The show carries a vibe that's similar to Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, but the format is a common one in the fantasy genre. An appealing cast in an otherworldly setting that draws on myth and folklore who help the people who come into their orbit. This genre has been around for decades, whether in the original Fantasy Island or the more recent Sky High manga series which spawned a successful live-action TV series in Japan. It's an appealing format that you can hang all kinds of themes and stories on. Sandman was about the realm of dreams. Fantasy Island was about people exploring their fantasies and learning lessons about their lives. Sky High and Hotel del Luna deal with the afterlife, karma, moral choices, tragedy, and redemption.   Hotel del Luna was one of the biggest hits on Korean television in 2019 and Hollywood production company Skydance announced back in June that they have picked up the rights to make a US version. Hotel del Luna can be streamed on Viki.

About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.