A melodrama about love and revenge, Hotel King tells a story about a heiress who's in search of finding her father's murderer and a man who seeks revenge to his "mentor" who'd raised him with deceit, and how they've fallen in love despite all obstacles which are thrown in the their paths.
The story opens with two young boys, Jayden (starring Lee Dong-wook) and Ju-han (starring Jin Tae-hyun), who are street beggars and they failed to provide their earnings to some crime gangsters. Needless to say, they'd a good beating from them but being the eldest one, Jayden fought back and accidentally shot the leader. His savior, Lee Jong-goo (starring Lee Deok-hwa) is a crippled man who took him under his wings, trained him to be a hotelier and told him that he is to seek revenge from Chairman Ah Sung-won, who's a top hotelier at that time. He also told Jayden that Chairman Ah is his father.
With this thought in mind, Jayden plans his move to get close to Chairman Ah but he died before Jayden could do anything. Rumors claimed that Chairman Ah was hit badly by depression, but Jayden thinks otherwise. Then came Ah Mo Ne, the daughter of Chairman Ah and she's there to claim what's remaining of her father - their prestigious seven-star hotel, Ciel. And this begins the drama and romance between Jayden and Ah Mo Ne.
I thought the premise is quite intriguing; plus there's a cast of characters who are interesting in their own way. One could see different characteristics through each of them, and let your emotions be evoked by their behaviours. I liked how the mystery is wrapped around initially and have you wondering about a few characters, but the suspense was dragged for too long and there are scenes which I felt was unnecessary.
That said, I liked how the characters of Jayden and Ah Mo Ne are played out. Their dislike towards each other in the beginning to towards their goal in finding out the truth adds a warm touch to this melodrama. I liked seeing the change in Jayden and Mo Ne; the former from a cold-hearted man to someone who feels remorseful, and the latter from an airheaded heiress to someone who feels for her employees. Secondary characters such as Ju-han and his adoptive mother (starring Kim Hae-sook) portrays a bittersweet relationship between mother and son, but what perplexed me is the relationship between Jayden and his "mentor". To avoid spoilers, all I've to say is it's unbelievable.
Overall I enjoyed this melodrama but felt it'd be better if it's not dragging. The ending is a satisfactory one but personally I felt it was somewhat anti-climatic. Still, I've to applause for the excellent acting skills of the cast, especially Lee Dong-wook who played Jayden. It pained me whenever I watched him cry. Yes, he may be a cold man with a strong competence but he's a human after all.
Finally, as today is the last day of 2014, I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! I hope everyone has a great and wonderful year ahead!