Tabitha Wilson meets some of the purr-fessional pets who have taken up residence in hotels around the world.
The world’s cutest and cuddliest hotel pets
Tabitha Wilson meets some of the purr-fessional pets who have taken up residence in hotels around the world.
Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a holiday that stretches out for blissful weeks, there’s no denying we miss our furry friends from home. Fortunately, there are a number of hotels and resorts that can fill that little hole in our hearts, with their very own pets-in-residence that are ready to purr, wag or even quack hello.
Fairmont Empress, Vancouver Island, Canada
This luxury hotel welcomed their latest Canine Ambassador, Winston, from the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind early in 2019. Named after one of the hotels most prestigious guests, Winston Churchill, the Labrador-Golden Retriever mix was allegedly rejected as a guide dog for being ‘too friendly’. A career change sees him greeting guests at the lobby of the Fairmont Empress and joining them on walks should they wish him to join them. If you can’t make it to Canada for a walk with Winston, you can follow his working week on his Instagram account @winstonattheempress, where he has already amassed over 5000 followers.
The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
The stunning Gleneagles Hotel, is home to a number of animals but our favourite resident has to be their most recent, an 11-year-old Shetland pony who joined them in August 2019. The adorable Hettie has already been dubbed a ‘wee princess’ by the team and she is a regular feature on the hotel’s social media. Families might bump into Hettie greeting guests out the front of the hotel as she does every so often, but you can guarantee a hangout when you book a Meet the Ponies experience or go on a stable tour.
The Peabody, Memphis, USA
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.
A holiday in the Canadian mountains sounds like a dream come true, especially when there is an Alaskan malamute to cuddle. Three-year- old Maola was welcomed as a resort ambassador and has become a real star. She’s frequently seen in resort videos and has been a key part of developing their brand-new Doggo Amenity program where guests can customise bedding and order room service for their own pooches. If the kids are tempted to pack Maola, there are cuddly toy lookalikes available to take home as a sweet souvenir.
Le Bristol, Paris
Possibly the most pampered puss in all of France, Fa-Raon is Le Bristol Paris’ resident kitty. The Birman cat has become quite the ambassador of the hotel, his model good looks serving him well in his luxury surroundings. While he was briefly joined by the beautiful Kléopatre, since her move to sister property Brenners Park Hotel & Spa he has been riding solo. He seems to be enjoying life as a bachelor, rocking a collar by Maison Goyard and relaxing in his personal apartment which was designed by street artist Renk.
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.
Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya
As the name suggests, this world-renowned property is home to some fairly sizable resident ‘pets’. The herd of Rothschild’s giraffe that roam the retreat are a sight to behold, often peeping through windows hunting for snacks and generally enjoying their home. Animal lovers will love breakfasting with these gentle giants, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feed giraffes while enjoying your own eggs benedict. If you just can’t get enough, you can also enjoy a guided walk around the grounds and visit the AFEW Giraffe Centre to see more of the famous herd.
The Algonquin Hotel, New York City, USA
The Algonquin Hotel has a long history of in-house kitties, stretching back to the 1920s when a stray walked into the lobby. The original cat was named Hamlet and since then, there has always been a hotel cat, with the hotel making plenty of references to its feline history with events like their annual cat fashion show. The current Hamlet VIII spends a lot of his time napping in the lobby, greeting guests and supervising festivities. Fortunately for those of us who aren’t in New York just yet, he puts out plenty of content on social media (@thealgonquincat) and even has his own book, Hamlet, the Algonquin Cat.
The London West Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA
Visitors of The London West Hollywood are lucky enough to share the premises with the hotel’s official mascots: two English bulldogs named Winston and Churchill. The pair live on the property full-time and are always up for a friendly face, happy to say hello wherever you find them on the property, be it the rooftop pool or their favourite Hampton Court. Guests can even invite the pooches along to events they might be hosting, with the dynamic duo partying for up to an hour as part of a donation to a local animal shelter.
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!
The Ritz-Carlton, Colorado, USA
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.
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.
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.
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, Australia
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