9 Hotels That Give a Whole New Meaning to Pet-Friendly
Some properties take being pet-friendly to the extreme, taking on permanent furry and feathery staffers and residents. Catch these 9 hotel mascots while they’re on the job.
Monti – The Jefferson
Since January 2014, this luxurious dog-friendly hotel in Washington, D.C., has had an official ECO -- executive canine officer -- named Lord Monticello (“Monti” for short). A rescue beagle found on a beach in Ocean City, Maryland, Monti knew he’d be destined for a life of greatness when PAW Rescue in Maryland introduced him to the Jefferson staff. Monti spends his days greeting guests and mingling with other doggy visitors.
Peabody Ducks – The Peabody Memphis
Visitors line up in the hotel’s Grand Lobby to watch five North American mallards make their daily procession to an Italian travertine marble fountain at 11 a.m. sharp. Led by a “Duckmaster,” these ducks-in-residence leave their royal duck palace on the hotel’s rooftop, take an elevator down to the lobby and waddle along a red carpet route. At 5 p.m., they clock out and head home. A Peabody tradition since 1933, the story goes that general manager Frank Schutt and a friend came back from a weekend hunting trip empty handed and decided it would be funny to put their live decoys -- three English call ducks -- into the hotel fountain.
Buster – Hotel Nikko San Francisco
In early 2015, this San Francisco property, which is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle collection, welcomed their resident dog Buster and hired him as canine operating officer. Buster helps raise brand awareness for Hotel Nikko’s pet-friendly policies. The 2-year-old Morkie (a Maltese Yorkie Mix) also keeps busy saying hello to guests in the lobby and posting updates on his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
The Algonquin Cat – Algonquin Hotel
With a lineage dating back to the early 1920s, the signature feline at the Algonquin was said to originally have been a stray cat who wandered into the hotel and was given the name Billy. Following Billy’s passing, another stray came in and was rechristened Hamlet by legendary actor and hotel resident John Barrymore. Over time, the property has hosted 11 rescue cats, including Billy, seven Hamlets and three Matildas (the current Matilda has been there since December 2010). This puss has been the subject of a children’s book and can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Parker – Park Hyatt Chicago
In 2016, Park Hyatt Chicago adopted a 5-year-old pug with special needs who is now a permanent part of the hotel’s family and lives at its North Michigan Avenue address. In partnership with the Paws Chicago branch, Park Hyatt Chicago staffers chose to raise Parker, who is missing an eye. The much-loved pug is said to be fulfilled by a career of sleeping behind the front desk, basking in the sun of the hotel’s NoMi Garden and making visitors and colleagues smile.
Carly Copley – Fairmont Copley Plaza
As this Boston hotel’s canine ambassador, Carly Copley, an adopted black Labrador, is there to help guests feel at ease. By appointment only, Carly will accompany them on walks and runs throughout Beantown. Her clients receive a booklet listing her favorite routes and known commands, along with a biscuit to reward her for her hard work. Back at the hotel, she greets guests at her station within the lobby; she also puts in public appearances as a community liaison.
Dakota – Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland
Pets are treated to amenities at all Kimpton hotels, so, of course, their mascots serve important roles. Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland’s director of pet relations is one of the first employees to greet arriving guests -- with a tail wag and a smile. Dakota, a Golden Retriever, originally came from Down Under (Newcastle, Australia) to Portland, Oregon, as a wee pup. Yet Dakota has quite the connection to this hotel -- her owner works in the front office, and she is the “grand-puppy” of a former general manager at Monaco Portland.
Skabenga – The Oyster Box
With his name translating as “vagabond” in Zulu, this male cat went from being a stray that wandered onto a luxe boutique hotel in Durban, South Africa, to a permanent resident and even a local celebrity. Apparently, he got a little spoiled, too, from guests feeding him pricey tidbits. Over time, this once skittish creature warmed to his colleagues and clients, now having a favorite couch, making daily inspections of the property and appearing at A-list events (including a cocktail party for Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco). Of course, he’s got a Facebook page, too.
Bruno – Timberline Lodge
Since 1937, this historic ski lodge in Oregon has carried on a tradition of hosting a pair of resident St. Bernards. Named Heidi and Bruno, the dogs belong to longtime employees who serve as their primary caregivers and alpha masters -- and accompany them to work, too. Recently, Timberline Lodge welcomed a new purebred puppy, Bruno, who is said to be getting much attention at the lodge. But don’t worry about Heidi; she’s still got her spot at the front desk of the property’s Main Lodge.
Michele Herrmann is a freelance travel/lifestyles writer and editor who got over her fears and picky eating habits to immerse herself in destinations as far as Fiji, to date.