31 January 2020
Checking in to Hotel
The staff of Die Fransen Hotel return for a fourth season of zany misadventures, miscommunication and mismanagement mayhem in Afrikaans comedy series Hotel.
If this is your first time staying at the establishment, here’s what you need to know as you start streaming. The hotel is manned by bellboys, waitresses, receptionists and cleaning crews, headed up by manager Ferdie (James Borthwick) who ventures into politics in Season 3. It’s not all fun and games with their guests though – Season 4 sees the staff fearing for their jobs when the Mautrain (mocking Johannesburg’s problematic Gautrain) is planned to be built right where the hotel stands.
It’s on the inside that matters most
Hotel creator Bennie Fourie, who also directs, says that the new season, which comes to Showmax express from kykNET, is much more about the characters’ internal voices than what goes on externally. “We focus on the relationships and friendships between the staff of Die Fransen. We’re staying a lot closer to the hotel, literally and figuratively, more so than in Season 3 with the mayoral election taking centre stage.” Ferdie’s fight to save his hotel from newly elected mayor Stefano (James Cunningham) is only second to his health woes in Season 4. “He is making plans that will secure his legacy. He wants even his great-grandchildren to hear stories about him,” adds Bennie.
In all seriousness
The comedy does have a more human touch too, like with bellboy Danny (Schalk Bezuidenhout) and his waitress girlfriend Malanie (Mila Guy) getting more serious in their relationship. “They are definitely looking at their future but it’s not happening in one episode,” teases Schalk.
As it turns out, Danny is one of the comedian’s favourite roles: “I love him because he’s a character that you can do the craziest things with. He’s got this larger-than-life personality,” say Schalk, reminding viewers about Season 3 Episode 5 when he convinced everyone he could drive a car while he didn’t even know how to use the clutch.
New face, new trouble
One of the newcomers at Die Fransen will also be giving a regular face grey hairs. Life-coach Gawie (Quentin Krog) has the hots for receptionist Jony (Simoné Pretorius) and “their flirting has a couple of twists and turns and pitfalls for sweet and innocent Jony,” says Simoné.
The hotel’s owner Thomas (Beer Adriaanse) and handyman Jaap (De Klerk Oelofse) aren’t keen on this Gawie guy hanging around Die Fransen either, not least because Gawie is a nuisance. Jaap has spent three seasons in love with Jony, while Thomas’s crush on Jony is still developing.
Quentin, who directed 2015 drama movie Ballade Vir ’n Enkeling, has enjoyed his role in front of the camera, saying that “it’s been such a great experience playing this role. The viewers won’t be able to fault Gawie’s character because he just wants to be the best he can. He even offers to be Die Fransen’s in-house psychologist and help the staff with their problems”.
Season 4 is packed full of celeb cameos too, adding to the fun in the corridors of Die Fransen. Survivor SA host Nico Panagio checks in in episode 10, while Afrikaans singer Jo Black (best known for his 2019 hit song Bitter) calls the hotel home in episode 11. “Nico plays Jeff, an instructor who teaches people to have more confidence, and it was great fun having him on set with us, not just as Nico but as one of our castmates,” says Bennie.