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Sometimes the best welcome a hotel can offer the kids is a wagging tail or the brush of soft fur, and a few hotels and resorts are making their properties feel more like home with resident pets that serve as mascots. The animal touch and kiss may be the special treat that ensures a property is a kid favorite. From dogs and cats to penguins and alpacas, there is a menagerie of lovable mascots below. (Here are some other cool hotel amenities for kids and the best hotel amenities for babies and toddlers.)
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Fairmont Hotels around the globe are not only providing luxurious kid- and pet-friendly stays, they feature canine ambassadors like Bixby and Gibbs, who can be found at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona. Kids can hug yellow labrador retriever Bixby and golden retriever Gibbs, who also like long walks, golf cart rides and bedtime stories. Other famous Fairmont pets include a black lab, Carly Copley, who catches rides on bell carts at the Copley Plaza in Boston, and Stanley, a guide-dog school dropout, who plays at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Fairmont is part of AccorHotels, which is launching Le Club Accor — a new loyalty program — soon.
Set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in the tony town of Aspen, the Hotel Jerome is an iconic and historic hotel first opened by Macy’s co-owner Jerome Wheeler in 1889. Celebs from John Wayne to Cameron Diaz have frequented the hotel’s halls. You’ll also find Rocky, a Bernese mountain dog, tooling about. The Hotel Jerome’s resident pet has his own following on Instagram. With a bed beside the front desk, Rocky may greet your kids the minute you arrive. You’re welcome to take him for a walk around town or a hike in the mountains as well. Book with The Platinum Card® from American Express through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program for 5x points and a $100 food-and-beverage credit.
The Ritz-Carlton Ambassa-dogs
Outside of Atlanta is the lakeside luxe resort that also happens to have two chocolate labs who can’t wait to play with kids. Beau and Buddy have been fixtures at the resort and were joined just this last winter by two more labs, Finn and Skye.
Ritz-Carlton properties around the world have ambassa-dogs, including Bachelor Gulch’s Saint Bernard, Bachelor, and Bernese mountain dog, Scout. Part of Marriott’s Bonvoy program, Ritz properties are points-friendly (though usually at the higher end). The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, is a Marriott Category 6, from 50k points per night plus a $53/day resort fee. The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, is a Category 7 hotel, which starts at 60,000 points per night (plus a $55 per day resort fee). If you stay four consecutive nights on points, you get the fifth night free.
The Peabody Hotel
The Peabody in Memphis, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2019, is famous for its Duck March featuring five mallards who call the hotel home. Dating back to 1940 and led by the Peabody Duckmaster, the red carpet walk is a kid favorite, taking place at 11am and 5pm every day. When not strutting their stuff, the ducks live in a rooftop home with a replica of the hotel for nesting, a fountain with a duck sculpture spitting water and a “grassy” lawn. The hotel loves its ducks so much, they won’t even serve duck on any of its restaurant menus. You can’t book this hotel on traditional hotel points, but be sure to pay with a credit card that rewards you for travel, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve that rewards 3x points per dollar spent on travel purchases.
Four Seasons Whistler
If your family likes to ski and then rest at night in luxury, then the Four Seasons Whistler might be on your radar. If so, prepare for some fluffy snuggles from Maola (short for Maolalus) who has grown from this ball of fluff into a full-fledged Alaskan malamute resort ambassador.
Ever wonder where #fswhistler resort #doggo got her name? As a puppy Maola had very prominent raccoon markings – although we may not use it often, her full name is Maolalus which means “raccoon” in First Nations language. pic.twitter.com/euF83EsMoq
— Four Seasons Resort Whistler (@FSWhistler) April 11, 2019
Stays at the Four Seasons Whistler can be booked using a Platinum Card via the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program to get included breakfast, late check-out and a $100 spa credit. In the off-season, rates can be as low as $150 per night, but jump considerably during the peak ski season. (And here’s a drive to look forward to on the way to getting puppy snuggles from Maola in Whistler.)
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa
While you’re riding horses, hiking through a nature park and kayaking the Colorado River, you can also meet the resident alpacas, Yogi and Booboo, at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines near Austin, Texas.
In addition to Yogi and Booboo, you are also likely to meet resident longhorns, ponies and more since this resort has a full-fledged collection of furry friends.
Who needs to just sit on a pony when you can sit on a real longhorn?
At other Hyatt properties you may stumble upon more traditional mascots, like Ellie, a yellow lab who loves snuggling during story time at the Hyatt Centric Park City, or the rescue-dog frontman, Leo, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. But in Maui, you can see the Hyatt Regency’s seven resident penguins! You can meet these pet mascots using World of Hyatt points with nights at Lost Pines starting at 20,000 points per night. Earn points with the World of Hyatt Credit Card, and remember, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transfered 1:1 to World of Hyatt.
In the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is a luxury, intimate boutique property nestled on 4,200 acres. Originally geared toward adults with just six rooms, the farm has grown into estate rooms, suites, cottages and homes with up to three bedrooms so families can enjoy the property, as well. Food has always been a feature of Blackberry Farm, and the culinary delights includes truffles hunted nearby. How does this appeal to kids? The property is home to Lagotto Romagnolo truffle-hunting dogs. When they have puppies, it is cuteness overload no child or adult can withstand. These fluffy dogs aren’t the only animals on the property. There are sheep, horses and chickens — this is a farm, after all!
The Algonquin Hotel Times Square
Often, pet-friendly hotels simply mean “dogs.” The historic Algonquin Hotel in New York City has been called the Cat Hotel because not only does it welcome cats as guests, it has had a purr-fect cat in residence since 1923. The first cat’s name was Billy, but today, Hamlet is the kitty of the house, named for Algonquin’s famed former resident John Barrymore’s greatest stage role. (This is the eighth Hamlet, and the hotel has also had three Matildas.) Hamlet especially loves petting from kids. The Algonquin is part of the Autograph Collection, meaning your Marriott points are good here. This Category 6 hotel is bookable from 50,000 points.
The Palms Hotel & Spa
When visiting tropical Miami Beach, introduce the kids to tropical fowl known as Sunshine and Chance, the resident macaws at The Palms on Collins Avenue. You’ll find the colorful duo sitting outdoors in the hotel’s tropical gardens. You may even catch them sneaking a kiss! The old-school hotel offers direct access to Miami Beach and its four-mile boardwalk, or just nab a cabana and let the kids hit the pool. Book The Palms through Chase’s travel portal where you can burn Ultimate Rewards points (when we checked a date in May, it cost 11,924 points) or pay with your Chase Sapphire Reserve and earn three points per dollar.
There’s no faster way to put a smile on a kid’s face than by walking into a hotel lobby and being greeted by a furry face. What’s your family’s favorite hotel mascot?
Featured image courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee (Instagram)
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