Could the erotic best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey do for Portland and Seattle what the Twilight series of books and movies did for the sleepy town of Forks on Washington's Olympic Peninsula?
Many of the steamiest scenes take place in Seattle and
Portland, and there are plans to turn the novel into a movie.
"We're getting people making dinner reservations,
people in the bar, people just coming in to look around because a friend told
them, or they read the book," says Chris Erickson, general manager of
Portland's Heathman Hotel. "It's more than I expected, and it's been a lot
Mention of the Heathman pops up 18 times in the book, as
young Anastasia Steele and her billionaire boyfriend Christian Grey meet in
elevator No. 3 and have dinner in a second-floor private dining room.
Erickson says he has no plans yet for public tours, but
says he welcomes tourists who have been dropping in to look around, ride the
elevator, snap photos and book rooms.
For those who want to create their own fantasy, hotels in
Seattle and Portland have come up with elaborate packages.
Seattle's Hotel Max offers a $US1669 two-night package
that includes a skippered-sunset cruise, inspired by the Puget Sound sail
enjoyed by the book's characters.
Bigger spenders looking to recreate Steele's birthday
party can opt for the Heathman's $2,750 "Charlie Tango No Limits"
package, including appetizers, wine, dinner and a helicopter ride over Portland
for six; roses and limo transfers. Rooms are extra.
Guests soon may be able to check out the
"Shades" books for bedtime reading. That is if British author E.L.
James responds to an invitation to spend the night, a requirement for any
author whose book is on display in the Heathman's library.
Erickson says he skimmed the book, the first in a trilogy,
after a guest put a copy on his desk last September. Now, like millions of
others, he's curious to learn more.
"If I ever get a day off, I'm going to dive into
those books cover to cover."
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