Natarsha Brown travels around the globe to find the cutest, cuddliest and quirkiest pets-in-residence.
The world’s cutest and cuddliest hotel pets
Natarsha Brown travels around the globe to find the cutest, cuddliest and quirkiest pets-in-residence.
Luscious feather-down pillows, 24-hour room service, plush bathrobes ready to wear after a shower and… being greeted at reception with a wagging tail or decadent purr? Upping the cute factor and the home-away-from-home appeal, the creatures great and small at these hotels are more like staff than pets – but prefer a friendly pat to a tip.
The Rosewood Hotel, London
Just steps from Convent Garden, guests arrive at Rosewood London through a grand archway that opens into a spacious Edwardian courtyard. Sounds la-di-da? It is. The heritage hotel offers a little oasis of tranquillity in the bustling city and making visitors feel right at home is sometime-resident, the lovely Pearl, who greets little guests at the front doors. The golden retriever spends her London days roaming the grounds, barking at passing squirrels, and sleeping in her bed beside the concierge desk. After four years living the city life, Pearl is now stretching her legs in the Scottish countryside, but she often returns to make sure all is just so at Rosewood and she has even devised the pet-friendly menu.
The Oyster Box, South Africa
Although it’s the popular accommodation of choice in Durban among big names such as Charlize Theron, Sean Penn and the Kardashians, The Oyster Box‘s biggest celebrity is, in fact, its resident cat. Skabenga, meaning ‘Hooligan’ in Zulu, has lived at the Red Carnation hotel for more than 10 years after originally wandering in as a lost kitty and pestering patio guests for their seafood scraps.
These days, the haughty famed feline pretty much owns the place, taking daily ‘inspection’ walks around the grounds. Skabenga has his own profile on the hotel’s ‘meet the team’ online page, and even has a storybook written about his adventures. Of course such a purr-fect employee is active on social media, with his very own Facebook page in which he often meow-brags about the delights of his home. Spoilt to bits, the hotel throws Skabenga a birthday party every October for charity, with hundreds of attendees year after year.
Fun fact: Adored across the country, when Skabenga went missing in 2015 (and was eventually found 10 kilometres away) it made national news!
Le Bristol, Paris
Le Bristol‘s Fa-Raon, a sacred cat of Burma, has won the kitty lotto. In the summertime the pampered moggie is usually found snoozing on the Italian Botticino marble flooring that covers the terrace of three-Michelin star restaurant, Epicure, strolling through azaleas and rhododendrons in the fragrant French gardens, or taking a sip out of the Fontaine aux Amours. However, in the colder months, Fa-Raon tends to lounge near the hotel’s 19th-century marble fireplace. If the cat is craving privacy, he can simply retire to his own custom apartment in the hotel, the walls of which are decorated by street artist Renk with colourful inscriptions of the word ‘cat’ in different languages.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Colorado
This mountain resort has long been a hit with families – and no small part of this success can be attributed to its two playful pooches Bachelor, a gentle Saint Bernard, and Belle, an intelligent and affectionate Bernese mountain dog.
Bachelor is the newcomer, joining his then one-year-old friend Belle in 2015. His hobbies are wide and varied, but he is especially known for loving playdates in the fresh Colorado snow, playing tug-of-war with Belle and, of course, savouring a good nap. If you truly want to win him over, you had best bring a pack of his favourite treats: beef-flavoured training bites.
When you’re not frolicking with Bachelor in the powder, guests can partake in ‘Canine Adventure Hikes’ with Belle and the resort’s resident naturalist, Jackie, through Beaver Creek and the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The Peabody, Memphis
Not all resident pets are of the furry variety, as the five fêted, feathered Marching Ducks of The Peabody, an elegant landmark hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, demonstrate. Teams of pampered ducks have been residing in the hotel since 1940, when Bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, taught them the Peabody Duck March. The ducks still strut their stuff daily by the lobby fountain. The Peabody claims the ducks have even been known to lead sessions of poolside yoga, but we’re not entirely convinced. When they’re off-duty, they can be found living the high life in their own Royal Duck Palace on the hotel’s rooftop.
The Jefferson, Washington DC
One of four brothers and sisters, Lord Monticello, otherwise known as Monti, has captured the hearts of Jefferson guests, and America. The resident ‘ECO’ (Executive Canine Officer) even ran a cute ‘n’ cuddly campaign for President of the United States, running for some pawsomely serious issues – like free bacon for all and a dog’s right to choose whether or not to live with a cat. While winning the popular vote, this beloved rescue dog was unfortunately not elected, and instead lives a life of love and luxury at The Jefferson.
Monti spends his days getting to know all the guests and staff at The Jefferson. He’s perfected the best trick to get unlimited belly rubs – the ‘Full Monti’ – where he rolls over onto his back and sticks his paws in the air. Monti loves his seemingly unlimited supply of turkey, and that there are lots of other dogs to play with every day; whether it be in the lobby or at one of the many pet parks near the hotel. As for Monti’s brothers and sisters, all found good homes and the youngest works as a stand-in dog on the Paramount lot in Hollywood.
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England
Oliver Beckington is one of the most loved members of the team at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire – and certainly the most noted in guest comments and social media shares. And who wouldn’t want to Instagram a picture of this four-legged cutie? Lively, curious and no stranger to the limelight, Oliver has been a firm favourite of the pup-arazzi, featuring in Tatler, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar.
A Hampshire pooch born and bred, the black labrador is named after two bishops who once resided on the estate. Oliver has been a part of the Four Seasons family since he was 12 weeks old and, for many, is one of the main reasons they come for a visit. Happily greeting guests on arrival, Oliver can usually be found tottering around the hotel lobby, enjoying long walks around the grounds or taking a well-deserved snooze on his beanbag in front of the fireplace.
“Pets are a part of the family and, for many people, a holiday or a visit to the countryside isn’t complete without them,” says general manager Charlie Parker. Luckily, Oliver loves nothing more than greeting other furry friends at the pet-friendly hotel and sharing countryside strolls along the canal with all of his new pals.
Montage Deer Valley, Utah USA
This family-friendly ski hotel has its own Canine Ambassador Program, the star of which is Monty, the hotel’s namesake ambassador. Weighing in at nearly 50 kilos, this gentle giant loves meeting hotel guests and taking happy snaps with families during his daily meet-and-greets in the hotel lobby at 11am and 3pm. Particularly attached children can even take home their own stuffed-toy Monty from the Montage shop. During his time off, Monty likes to go hiking through the mountains and splashing in alpine streams.
Salamander Resort & Spa, Virginia USA
A luxury resort boasting its own 10-hectare equestrian centre, it’s only fitting that the Salamander Resort & Spa should have an equestrian ambassador. Cupcake the miniature pony can be found in the hotel lobby on Friday and Saturday afternoons, greeting guests in her blue rhinestone halter. Little guests are also welcome to visit Cupcake any time at the equestrian centre, which runs a variety of classes and trail rides.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta Canada
Marcus holds the highly regarded position of Director of Pet Relations at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. He is much loved among the hotel’s younger guests, gifting sloppy kisses, playing fetch and guaranteeing smiles all round as he greets guests in the lobby. Marcus is in fact one of 13 Fairmont Hotels working with a canine ambassador as part of Fairmont’s partnerships with local guide dog associations, adopting dogs judged unsuitable for guide work (often they are deemed ‘too friendly’!).
Cap Maison, St Lucia, Caribbean
At this boutique island hotel, Davidson is living his best life as the hotel’s cat-in-chief, apparently often found dining on prawns and lobster and chilling on the decks of the hotel’s bar and grill, The Naked Fisherman. Indeed, Davidson’s life is so enviable he has his own Instagram account (@CatMaison) where fans can follow his fishy escapades. Guests of the five star hideaway may run into Davidson as he roams the hotel grounds, or perhaps on one of his beach patrols.
Looking for a more unconventional ‘pet’ experience? Try these wilder options …
Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai
The jaw-dropping Underwater Suites at Atlantis, The Palm feature floor-to-ceiling views of the Ambassador Lagoon, home to some 65,000 aquatic residents including elegant rays and six different species of shark. If that’s not close enough for you, two complimentary dolphin encounters are included in the room price and kids aged eight and over can even go for a swim in the Shark Lagoon at Aquaventure.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort, Hawaii USA
This family of African black-footed penguins is living the Aloha spirit in the atrium lobby of Hyatt Regency Maui Resort, where guests can visit them any time (although we recommend catching the daily talk and feed at 9.30am). Now over 30 years old, the resort’s oldest resident, Oreo, has outlived his average life expectancy since being rescued in 1985. The penguins are now reproducing in captivity, contributing to the continuation of their IUCN red-listed species.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, Hawaii USA
Nine hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens at this beachfront resort offer sanctuary to a host of stunning wildlife just waiting to meet little zoologists, including waterfowl, turtles, fish and more than 60 species of birds such as macaws and flamingos. Kids will be thrilled to feed exotic koi fish and meet the resort’s other animals each day with Club Penguin, the resort kids’ club. For even more kid-friendly encounters, the club also takes little guests to the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium.
Jamala Wildlife Lodge, Canberra ACT
All right, Jamala isn’t so much a hotel with pets as it is a zoo with a hotel. Nestled in the grounds of the National Zoo & Aquarium, this African-inspired safari lodge has a range of suites that get animal lovers up close to its wild residents. The Giraffe Treehouses are ideal for families, boasting balconies overlooking the enclosures of long-necked beauties such as Hummer. Guests can even feed the giraffes right from their room. You can meet even more wondrous creatures on the two guided tours of the zoo included in an overnight stay, and dine in a cave with white lions as guests of honour.
Browse our selection of great family accommodation options around the world