Name of a Real Hotel
I am writing my first novel the first part of which takes place in a real hotel in downtown LA. The main character has a job and office space that is part of the hotel. I mention some of the history of the hotel. No derogatory comments at all. Do I open myself up to liability by using the hotel's real name?
Thank you. Answer:
I'm not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice. But I don't think you have any issue, given what you've told me.
Of course, unless you are using this hotel precisely because it is famous for something that has important bearing on your story, would it not be just as easy to create a fictional hotel that resembles the one you have in mind?
Obviously, certain old buildings are landmarks (e.g. The Savoy Hotel in London) that you really can't fictionalize without losing some of their landmark status, especially if you are writing something like a historical mystery where the actual historical facts are part of what makes the story interesting. Sometimes you are writing for a readership who is interested in the history of the setting.
On the other hand, sometimes you can fictionalize an actual landmark (give it a different name and change some of the details) and the story works just as well. Or you can entirely make up a building. For example, does it matter that The Overlook Hotel and its history as presented in the novel The Shining are not historically true or even based on historical events?
The one advantage to a fictional or fictionalized setting is that you have more freedom to change details in order to fit the events of your story.
Either way, best of luck.