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  Online Editions >> March 2019 >> 10 hotel pets worth meeting


From ponies and penguins to sharks you can swim with, the special residents of these incredible hotels and resorts are worth planning your holiday around.

1. Monty the Bernese Mountain Dog

Montage Deer Valley, Utah USA

This family-friendly ski hotel has its own Canine Ambassador Program, the star of which is Monty, the hotelís 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.

2. The Peabody Ducks

The Peabody Memphis, Tennessee USA

Family members big and small will be delighted by the famous Peabody Duck March, a tradition dating back to 1940. The first ducks were trained by former circus animal trainer, Bellman Edward Pembroke, who served as the Peabody Duckmaster for some 50 years until his retirement in 1991. Today, visitors can still see the ducks in the lobby fountain every day at 11am and 5pm. When theyíre not strutting the red carpet, the ducks retreat to their own Royal Duck Palace on the hotel rooftop, a US$200,000 structure featuring its own fountain, grassed area and a duck-scaled replica of the hotel.

3. Cupcake the miniature pony

Salamander Resort & Spa, Virginia USA

A luxury resort boasting its own 10-hectare equestrian centre, itís 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.

4. Marcus the Golden Lab

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 hotelís 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 Fairmontís partnerships with local guide dog associations, adopting dogs judged unsuitable for guide work (often they are deemed Ďtoo friendlyí!).

5. Davidson, Cat-in-Chief

Cap Maison, St Lucia, Caribbean

At this boutique island hotel, Davidson is living his best life as the hotelís cat-in-chief, apparently often found dining on prawns and lobster and chilling on the decks of the hotelís bar and grill, The Naked Fisherman. Indeed, Davidsonís 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.

6. Pearl the Golden Retriever

Rosewood 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.

Looking for a more unconventional ‘pet’ experience? Try these wilder options ...

7. Sharks in your suite

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 thatís 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.

8. Oreo, Nahu, Buddah, Zen, Mai, Tai and Momi the penguins

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 resortís 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.

9. Fish feeding and flamingos

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 resortís other animals each day with Club Penguin, the resort kidsí club. For even more kid-friendly encounters, the club also takes little guests to the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium.

10. Giraffes at your balcony

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.

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