To Harry Potter fans, I’m sure J.K. Rowling’s association with Edinburgh is well known. She famously penned her first tale of witchcraft and wizardry in at least one of several cafes and tearooms in our nation’s capital and you only have to look up at the looming presence of Edinburgh Castle to see where she might have found her inspiration for Hogwarts.
And yet that doesn’t qualify her for a bedroom in the chic Angels Share hotel. A bedroom named in her honour, I mean, alongside the monikers of famous Scots such as Nicola Benedetti, Robert Carlyle and Sean Connery.
“She wasn’t born in Scotland,” the receptionist told me, explaining the place-of-birth criteria as she handed me my magnetic key card and gave me directions to ‘Gordon Ramsay’. That’s when a thought or two occurred to me.
“Tell me this, ” I asked, “Do guests ever complain about the rooms you assign them based on the name?”
“Yes, they do, ” she admitted, “Sir Alex Ferguson can be a bit divisive. Not everyone supports Manchester United, after all. We try to change the room if we can.”
Her next answer surprised me.
“Lulu. Some of our female guests – hen parties and the like – don’t like the idea of spending the night in ‘Lulu’.”
I thought that was a shame. I explained that I had once commissioned a two-part radio drama about Lulu’s incredible life and career and couldn’t see why anyone would object to her name on their bedroom. Then again, when I opened to the door to my own room I saw a huge – and I mean massive – photograph of Gordon Ramsay hanging over my bed. I could feel his eyes following me as I unpacked my luggage and was glad I had neglected to bring my usual emergency supply of Pot Noodles. Imagine the shame of it. If photographs could swear…
It was a pity I wasn’t in a room named after a writer, though, given that the hotel was also the venue for our Radio Academy event where Grant Stott was interviewing me about my book. It turned out to be a great night and had taken place in the basement bar – The Devil’s Cut – with appropriate red lighting shining from the alcoves. I ended up talking about The Red Light Zone in a wee red light zone.
But here I am, days later, still thinking that J.K. Rowling deserves, at least, a broom cupboard…and still pondering the answer to the last question I fired at that obviously patriotic receptionist.
“So what happens if one of these famous people gets embroiled in a scandal? Do you have to make a swift change to the name of the room?”
She didn’t hesitate.
“”That could never happen. These people wont get involved in a scandal.”
“Because they’re all Scottish.”