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Talking Location With … Mo Fanning – The Beverley Hills Hotel

9th June 2024

Mo Fanning #TalkingLocationWith…. Mo Fanning, author of HUSBANDS, set in Hollywood, Los Angeles (and all points east)

The first thing that hit me as I emerged from LAX was the heat. I’d been warned of smog and fog and the way it just never really gets cold in Los Angeles. The day I arrived on my research visit (a tax-friendly way to justify a fancy holiday), weather reports boasted record-breaking high temperatures.

Unlike my hero, Birmingham supply teacher Kyle Macdonald, I didn’t have a driver waiting. Nobody was holding up a card with my name, so I jumped into a cab. Half an hour later, I was technically still at the airport. LAX is huge, and Los Angeles is a city of many cars.

Much of the LA part of ‘Husbands’ takes place in and around The Beverly Hills Hotel – nicknamed The Pink Palace – on account of the rose-coloured stucco walls surrounded by lush green vegetation. Being the kind of guy who rarely stays anywhere with a bellhop, I directed my driver to a low-cost chain hotel closer to the airport than Beverly Hills.

Mo Fanning

Photo: International Traveller

I’d booked a table for lunch at the object of my attention hotel months in advance – and I’d advise you to do the same. I also arranged a substantial personal loan to cover the cost of what was really little more than a toasted cheese sandwich and a glass of sparkling water consumed in the legendary Polo Lounge.

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Would I have missed out? Not for all the tea in China or all the brands of sparkling water on offer in the hotel dining room. I dressed up, and so did everyone else. Not flashy. Not designed to stand out, but those sharing my space while picking at green salads exuded money and confidence. And everyone asked for the dressing to be served ‘on the side’.

Photo: The Three Drinkers

If you want to dig deeper into the history of this hotel, I highly recommend ‘The Pink Palace Revisited – Behind Closed Doors at the Beverley Hills Hotel’ by Sandra Lee Stuart and John Prince. It explains in luscious and gossipy detail how Hollywood might be where the beautiful people worked, but it was never where they played. At the Beverly Hills Hotel, they were (and still are) pampered and coddled.

My time in this other world was all too brief, and being terribly British, the bowing and scraping wore thin fast. I tipped everyone – almost certainly, some of those receiving five-dollar bills were confused guests – and clicked my fingers for a cab as I left.

“Sir, you need to ask the concierge to arrange transport,’ said a bellhop.

Reader. I walked.

Mo Fanning

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About the author

Mo Fanning is a working-class homosexual born just south of Birmingham who has lived in Lyon, Amsterdam, Brighton and Manchester. By day, he tells people how to get the best from a serial comma; by night, he writes dark, romantic comedy. His characters just so happen to be gay. ‘Husbands’ is his fourth novel and explores how, when something appears too good to be true, chances are they’re not.

Published by Spring Street Books in June 2024, it’s available in ebook, paperback and audiobook formats.

Mo Fanning has contributed to 100 Stories for Haiti and written for the Observer travel section. His first novel The Armchair Bride was nominated for Arts Council Book of the Year, and his work was turned into a short play for BBC America. The follow-up, Rebuilding Alexandra Small, which featured in bestseller charts, and Ghosted have established Mo Fanning as a leading voice in LGBTQ romantic comedy novels. His latest novel, Husbands: Love and Lies in La La Land is available from all good book retailers. Visit www.mofanning.co.uk for more information.

Catch the author on Twitter X: mofanning and connect via his webstite: mofanning.co.uk

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