Take a look at several properties around the world where you can meet and mingle with animal ambassadors.
Have you recently noticed the menagerie of animals popping up at destinations around the world? While it seems that the trend of having animals as ambassadors has just recently begun to rise, it may have kicked off as early as the 1930s when a stray cat meandered into the Algonquin Hotel in New York. The original cat became the hotel’s mascot and had a grand time taking catnaps around the property and mingling with the guests.
Over the years, there have been 11 cats – eight Hamlets and three Matildas – who have called the hotel home, with the hotel appointing an official Chief Cat Officer to take care of the furry mascot.
It is a well-known fact that people derive great pleasure from interacting with animals, garnering lots of unconditional love, companionship, and exercise so it makes perfect sense the hospitality industry would note people’s affinity and develop programs around animals.
Take a look at seven properties around the world where you can meet and mingle with animal ambassadors.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, The Bahamas – The flamingo flock
Luca, Lynden, Baha, and Indy are the official ambassadors of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar’s flamingo flock. Along with enjoying yoga with guests and meeting families at Flamingo Cay, the beautiful birds have even walked brides down the aisle.
Families can also interact with nurse sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles at the BEACH Sanctuary and explore swim-up aquariums, cliff jumps, and an underwater marine cavern inspired by one of the world’s deepest saltwater sinkholes, Dean’s Blue Hole.
The Palms Hotel, Miami – Macaw parrots Sunshine and Chance
Who can resist the gorgeous color and chatter of parrots? At The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami, Florida guests can say hello to Sunshine and Chance, the hotel’s two resident chattering parrots – and they’ll probably say hi back!
The multicolored macaws arrived at The Palms as rescue animals 16 years ago. Sunshine and Chance adore attention from hotel guests, whether it be in the form of a friendly conversation, or snapping a selfie in passing on the way to the pool or beach.
Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel, Guatemala – Margarita the spider monkey
A short drive away from the magnificent Tikal, Uaxactún, and Yaxhá ruins, Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel offers more than 300 acres of lush, private reserve that highlights the conservation of Guatemala’s native species.
The eco-luxe property offers guests a boat ride to Monkey Island, just beyond Quixel Lagoon for the opportunity to admire the spider monkeys hanging from the trees.
One specific spider monkey, known as Margarita, swings from branch to branch, making an appearance each time the boat passes by. Not only does she wave to guests, but Margarita hops right on the boat to meet and greet guests and pose for pictures with them while stocking up on food for the day. Monkeying around with Margarita brings joy to hundreds of hotel guests each year.
JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, Peru – Panchita the alpaca
The colorful city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas is the perfect destination for adventurous travelers looking for a dynamic dose of culture. A short drive from the city center is Awana Kancha, a llama, alpaca, and vicuña farm, which brings visitors up close and personal with the region’s most loved furry animals in all shapes and colors.
Upon arrival at JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, guests are greeted by a few resident animals, eagerly awaiting to be fed giant handfuls of grass. Panchita, the sweet, cuddly alpaca, visits daily and loves to spend time in the courtyard eating apples and posing for selfies.
The interactive feedings are followed by textile weaving demonstrations by the local women who are keeping the tradition alive.
Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, Mexico – Mitzy the kitty
Mitzy is the resident feline at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. Received by the warmth and kindness of hosts and guests at the beautiful beachside resort, Mitzy instantly fell in love and decided to make it her forever home.
Mitzy has since made the Marriott PV lobby her personal catwalk and can be found welcoming guests and greeting staff alike. Visitors are invited to share their moments with their unofficial feline mascot on social media with the hashtag #HelloMitzy.
Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina, U.S. – The goat herd
The resort’s resident mascots live a life of luxury in their own mini-mansion, built in 2017 when Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina first opened on Rhode Island.
The mansion is a goat-sized replica of Marble House, the famous 1892 Bellevue Avenue mansion built for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, honoring the history and aesthetic of Newport.
Most of the time, the goats’ hang out and frolic in their home on the north lawn of the resort, but occasionally, the goats like to earn their keep by helping to “mow” the resort’s lawn. They also are integrated into the Kids Program, requested for wedding pictures, guest appearances for local community events, and have timeframes when guests can join them in their pen to meet them up-close.
The Henderson, U.S. – canine companions Dune and Ranger
Dog-lovers near and far are in for a treat with the property’s Canine Ambassador program at The Henderson Beach & Spa Resort in Florida. Dune and Ranger were welcomed into The Henderson family over the 2018 holiday season. They are brothers from the same litter, a black and yellow lab.
A part of the team, Dune and Ranger enjoy the property’s sprawling greens, 1.3 miles of private beach, and the opportunity to greet visitors in the lobby around 2 p.m. daily. Other engagements with resort guests and the neighborhood include meet and greets, attending local community and philanthropic events.