This Ramadan, thousands stepped into the wide aisles and endless corridors of the ever-charming Grand Hotel in Aswan. From spectacular scenery to breath-taking costumes, the magic and elegance of this one particular TV series have many viewers glued to their TV sets and computer monitors in complete awe.
Grand Hotel is a drama series that features a number of young actors. The cast includes Amro Youssef, Amina Khalil, Dina El-Sherbiny, and Mohamed Mamdouh, among others. The main plot revolves around the hotel’s community of rich citizens, loyal servants, and exclusive guests as mysterious events unfold during the early 20th century. The series was shot at the historical Sofitel Legend Old Cataract hotel in Aswan.
In the drama, after the hotel owner’s death, the family starts formulating endless conspiracies in order to remain at the helm of the hotel and prevent the owner’s son, born from the head of the servants, from taking over the management. The story starts when Ali visits the hotel to find his long absent sister, who used to work for the hotel right before disappearing. Later on, the plot brings together the newly-employed servant Ali and Nazly, the owner’s younger daughter.
After only a few episodes, the series has brilliantly grabbed the audience’s attention and generated a great amount of positive feedback on various online platforms as the series mixes old school romance with timeless human relations.
With that said, the two main characters Ali and Nazly have grabbed the greatest share of attention with their on-screen romance. Actors Amro Youssef and Amina Khalil, who play the two roles, have already became the subject of many social media posts, memes, and life-goal pictures. Nazly’s character in particular has been attracting a lot of attention with her retro wardrobe that awakens every woman’s fashion desires.
Meanwhile, a few weeks before Ramadan, the Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity announced a valuable reward for any drama production that would not air a single inappropriate scene, such as belly dancing, nudity, drug abuse, or extravagant content. Grand Hotel is one of the very few series that have met both – the minster’s, as well as the public’s demand for a high quality drama series that would suit any common family.
The series has received positive feedback from critics and viewers respectively. The drama’s massive success is proof of a great shift in the current local audience’s preferences.
However, not all of the online feedback has been positive. The screenwriter, Tamer Habib, has been massively criticised for the noticeable similarities between the series and a Spanish drama bearing the same name.
After many shaming posts and severely aggressive feedback from the audience, Habib admitted that there are commonalities between the two scripts. Furthermore, he announced on his social media platforms that the series was indeed inspired by the Spanish script and that he did not mention this in the credits because it is evidenced in the shows sharing the same name.