- Hotels in Portland and Seattle are taking advantage of mentions in bestsellers
- Packages include sailing and helicopter excursions
- Note: S&M amenities are not included
Fans of that sizzling, steamy, saucy, sexy, sensational novel, "Fifty Shades of Grey," can now plan their own erotic romps through the Pacific Northwest with a domineering billionaire by reserving one of several hotel packages looking to capitalize on the bestseller's -- 19 million copies at the last count -- popularity.
First, a quick brief on the book, the first in the Portland/Seattle-set trilogy by British author E.L. James. As if you haven't heard of it.
Much like watching a Michael Bay film, you don't read "Fifty Shades" for its intelligent wordplay or skillfully crafted plot. It's pure, unapologetic smut, dubbed "mommy porn" in honor of the millions of 30-something women reading it.
"Fifty Shades of Grey" features two main characters: the young, awkward Anastasia Steele and the dark and brooding Christian Grey.
Steele is an innocent student, Grey an eccentric billionaire with a penchant for S&M. They meet under unlikely circumstances, then have lots and lots of sex in all sorts of different places. Some other stuff happens. The end.
'Live out your fantasies'
These days, Seattle and Portland's tourism players are wising up to the potential benefits of being the main settings for the popular series, with hotels now marketing packages tailored around the Steele/Grey lovefest.
One warning: S&M amenities aren't included, so you'll have to bring your own whips and chains.
First up is Hotel Max, which was featured in the book. They've recently launched a new "Fifty Shades of Seattle" offer.
"This package brings together all of the only-in-Seattle experiences in the bestselling 'Shades of Grey novels,'" says the hotel's marketing spiel.
"Live out your fantasies with a two-night getaway in an Artist King room on the romantic 8th floor. During your stay, enjoy chauffeured town car service, a helicopter tour of the city and a private four-hour skippered sailing excursion on Puget Sound with gourmet picnic and a bottle of Bollinger Grande Année Rosé 1999 Champagne, a favorite of Mr. Grey himself."
Channeling your inner Anastasia for two nights at the Max will cost US$1,669, plus tax.
Another Seattle hotel looking to capitalize on the book is The Edgewater. This one isn't in the novel, but their "50 Shades Of Romance" package more than makes up for it in terms of creativity.
Guests stay in a "Premium Waterside" suite, go on a sailing excursion around Puget Sound, knock back a bottle of Bollinger and are even given a map of Seattle sites that appear in the book, which they can check out when they test drive an Audi sports car, just like the one Grey bought Steele in the book. (Well played, Edgewater.)
The Edgewater Hotel's "50 Shades" package starts from US$914.
You want to do what with that tie?
In Portland, The Heathman Hotel is making the most of its appearance in "Fifty Shades of Grey."
Having already read the book, we don't need to tell you that this is where Grey and Steele enjoyed a few naughty moments, as well as Steele's birthday party.
In honor of Mr Grey's chopper, The Heathman is offering a "Charlie Tango No Limits" add-on package that includes appetizers and white wine at the hotel restaurant for six people, a helicopter tour of Portland, roses for the women, dinner at the hotel and limo transfers.
The price of this one is US$2,750.
The Heathman also has an "Inner Goddess" add-on for US$40, which includes a bottle of chilled white wine and a grey tie.
In response to The Heathman's Facebook post announcing the add-ons, one lady remarked: "If only you could include Mr. Grey in your package. You would be sold-out forever."
Between mommy porn, "Magic Mike" and Spanx, has there ever been a better time to be a middle-aged woman?