Just as “Twilight” brought vampire novel addicts to Forks on the Olympic Peninsula, Seattle is encountering a new wave of tourists. These tourists however prefer Kama Sutra and racy businessmen to brooding vampires that sparkle in sunlight.
The latest pop culture phenomenon featuring Seattle is “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its two sequels by author E.L James. The book has been turned into a movie which opened this week.
The Fifty Shades trilogy tells the story of Anastasia Steele who finds herself in a troubled relationship with sex crazed, billionaire Christian Grey. Christian introduces the young and innocent Anastasia to his BDSM lifestyle in the city of Seattle.
Both the “Twilight” and the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series sold more than 100 million copies.
These are just the latest potential boosts to Seattle’s romantic reputation. The 2013 film “Beijing Meets Seattle” (with the English title, “Finding Mr. Right”) has equated the city of Seattle with love for many Chinese tourists and movie-goers. And more than 20 years after 1993’s “Sleepless in Seattle” was a romantic hit, travelers still buy pajamas with the title at Sea-Tac International Airport.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, people are being drawn to Seattle to have their own “Fifty Shades of Grey” fantasy. For some fans, it isn’t enough to simply curl up with the book or watch it unfold on the big screen. Businesses in the city have picked up on the Fifty Shades phenomenon.
“I think for businesses and hotels to play off of the movie that is such a desire to so many people who have read the books is kind of like a win-win,” said Molly Blanton, spokeswoman for The Edgewater Hotel. “For such demand of the novel we felt that it made sense to create a package for lovers to create what Anastasia and Christian Grey had.”
The Edgewater Hotel offers a “No Grey Area” package that allows guests the opportunity to use an Audi R8 Spyder, much like the one in the novel, and receive a helicopter tour of Seattle to view Christian Grey’s city in the most lavish way possible. For $14,169 a night guests will be able to get into character with champagne and other aphrodisiac treats in one of the most romantic rooms in the city. It is truly a package for those with the earnings of Mr. Grey himself.
Not only will people have the opportunity to live out the Fifty Shades fairy-tale in Seattle, a hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland offers a raunchy package. Hotel Nira Caledonia offers a package called “50 Plaids of Wa-Hay” including a private butler, goody bag with blindfolds, and for an extra charge, a Jacuzzi bath filled to the brim with champagne.
The movie is estimated to make more than $60 million over the weekend. All those viewers are potential tourists in the city where “Fifty Shades” all took place.