Resident animals are the latest hotel bonus.
Whether you’re a solo traveler longing for a little companionship or a family in need of a little canine (or canard) affection, a growing number of hotels and resorts offer guests a perk worth crowing about: the chance to pet, feed, and, in some cases, ride animals—all without leaving the property.
Petting a pet can be as much of a mood booster as those chocolates some hotels leave on your pillow. But don’t take our word for it. Scientific research suggests that human-animal interactions boost levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, serving to reduce bad moods, stress, and loneliness. If you’re an animal lover who sleeps better knowing that there’s fur or feathers on the premises, check out these 15 properties with resident animals—from goldfish and dogs to chickens, goats, and peacocks—to see if there’s one that resonates with you.
The Fairmont Copley Plaza
WHERE: Boston, Massachusetts
Carly Copley, a black Lab adopted from the Animal Rescue League of Boston, is a fixture at The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston’s Back Bay area. She’s one of 11 canine ambassadors at Fairmont Hotels around the globe. She puts in a full work week (Tuesdays-Saturdays from 11am-7pm). During that time she hangs out in her dog bed by the check-in desk, where she’s popular with guests and locals who often stop by to say hello. Dog lovers forced to leave their beloved pets behind while on the road can schedule walks or runs with Carly throughout the city.
INSIDER TIPThe hotel offers a Canine Adventure Package, which includes, among other things, a stuffed Carly replica to take home. If you still miss her after your trip, CC has her own email address: [email protected]
The London West Hollywood
WHERE: Beverly Hills, California
The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills recently welcomed two new pups, Winston and Churchill, as its official pet ambassadors. Twice a day, guests can play with the English bulldog bros in Hampton Court, an outdoor space with views of the Hollywood Hills and Sunset Strip. At other times, the boys might be found lounging by the rooftop pool or sniffing out the property. You can even invite them to attend your event at the hotel (for up to one hour), but it will cost you—a $250 donation to a local animal shelter.
INSIDER TIPInspired by Winston and Churchill, the hotel’s executive chef Anthony Keene has created a room-service menu for four-legged guests, which includes “The London Pooch,” a mix of fresh chicken, brown rice, potatoes, and eggs, and “Doggie Bag Treats” in flavors such as peanut butter, veggie, and fruit.
Sunrise Springs Spa & Resort
WHERE: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Guests at the Sunrise Springs Spa & Resort, a wellness retreat located on 70 acres with mountain views, are encouraged to explore the therapeutic benefits of hanging out with animals. You can enjoy hands-on time with puppies (often Labradors and Golden Retrievers) that are training to be service dogs. Under the supervision of both trainers and trained handlers, you’ll observe and interact with the pups, learning a thing or two about patience, clear communication, and compassion. If you’re less partial to canines than to chickens (no judgments!), the property also houses a flock of Silkies, named for their fluffy plumage, also prime for petting.
WHERE: Paris, France
At Le Bristol, you’re bound to mingle with celebrities, including its resident white Burmese cat Fa-Raon, who can usually be found lounging on the concierge desk, in a lobby chair, or on one of the property’s many garden paths. Like the hotel’s clientele, Fa-Raon lives large. His collar? Maison Goyard. Dog tags? Customized silver by Christofle. His crib? An ‘apartment’ decorated by the world-renowned street artist Renk. (The walls have the word ‘cat’ written in different languages.) Fa-Raon has resided at Le Bristol since August 2011, when he was three months shy of his second birthday.
“The cat’s a little touch that indirectly makes the property more accessible and friendly,” says a hotel spokesperson. Fa-Raon’s lady friend, Kléopatre, arrived on the scene in July 2014. Earlier this year, she moved to Le Bristol’s sister property, Brenners Park Hotel & Spa. But reps for the cats tell us the split was amicable.
Sunset at the Palms
WHERE: Negril, Jamaica
Since Betty, a female goat, was adopted by the grounds-keeping crew at Sunset at the Palms last spring, she has become a social media sensation. Betty has free reign of the five acres between the resort’s garden, where the guest rooms and treehouses are located, and the Royal Palm Reserve, a nature preserve just behind the resort.
INSIDER TIPIf you’re up for spending some QT gabbing with the goat—and who isn’t?—you can request a picnic basket with treats for yourself and Betty, too. (She gets salad to keep her girlish figure.) Don’t worry about leaving your camera behind; the resort photographer will capture the moment so you can boast about your goatly encounter.
WHERE: Ascot, England
Ten impeccably trained and groomed horses—a selection of warmbloods, Irish horses, Welsh ponies, and show ponies—are ready to ride at Coworth Park, a pristine Georgian county estate 50 miles from London. Whether you fancy a relaxing trot around the 240-acre estate with views of a pristine lake or a lesson in dressage, the equestrian staff will make it happen.
INSIDER TIPYou can BYOH (Bring Your Own Horse) to stay at the on-property horse hotel; horse-guests are pampered with a lavender bubble shower after exercise, full turndown service, a Himalayan salt lick and homegrown carrots as well as treats made by the estate’s pastry chef.
Oil Nut Bay Resort
WHERE: Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Five Paso Finos, all rescue racehorses from San Juan, reside on Oil Nut Bay, a tranquil property on the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda, where they are cared for by the owner’s wife. Although you can’t ride the horses here, you can have a look at their stables while checking out the property’s organic garden before heading out on a spectacular hike along one of the six trails spread across 300 acres.
Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa
WHERE: Hudson Valley, New York
Eight pedigreed alpacas formerly owned by the granddaughter of department store magnate John W. Nordstrom are the stars as Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa, a quaint country inn that’s just a 90-minute train ride from New York City. Buttermilk’s Millstone Farm, just across the Swan Pond from the regal estate, is also home to angora goats, chickens, llamas, donkeys—and even peacocks.
INSIDER TIP When the llamas and alpacas are sheared annually, Buttermilk offers spun wools for knitting.
Carmel Valley Ranch
WHERE: Carmel, California
If you’re hungry for locally-sourced eggs, look no further than Carmel Valley Ranch in the foothills of California’s Santa Lucia Mountains. Here, twelve brown egg-laying chickens—both Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock breeds—have occupied its hen house since 2013. If you’d like some honey with your morning tea, the property also boasts Italian honeybees (60,000 at last count).
INSIDER TIPAttend a Chicken Chat to learn what the hens eat and how they spend their leisure time, or simply order an omelet at breakfast and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Marriot Cancún Resort
WHERE: Cancún, Mexico
Teresita (a.k.a. the “good luck dove”) has served as a mascot of sorts for the Marriott Cancún Resort since 2012, when a couple hosting their destination wedding there brought the lovebird along as a good luck charm for their beachfront ceremony. The couple has long since flown the coop, but Alberto, a bellman, has taken Teresita under his wing and cares for her in between transporting bags to guests’ rooms.
Palms Hotel & Spa
WHERE: Miami Beach, Florida
If Sunshine and Chance, the resident macaws at the Palms Hotel & Spa, look familiar, it’s probably because they appeared on Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami. But unlike the Kardashian clan, they take their celebrity in stride. The parrots can usually be found poolside interacting with guests. The older of the two, Chance, has been on the property since the hotel opened as the Miami Beach Ocean Resort in 1992. (He’s 34.) Sunshine, the blue-and-yellow plumed female, is a relative newcomer at 8, but she warmed up fast to the hotel’s tropical vibe and friendly guests. They can both say hello in English and Spanish, and know the names of the hotel staff (at least the ones they like!). Play your cards right and they might learn your name, too.
The Peabody Hotel
WHERE: Memphis, Tennessee
The stars who walk the red carpet at The Peabody Hotel wouldn’t be caught dead in Louboutins. Since 1940, every day at 11 am the official Peabody “March of the Ducks” features five North American Mallards. The web-footed guests of honor are escorted by Duckmaster Anthony Petrina down to the hotel lobby from their rooftop ‘palace,’ which lives up to its name. Built in 2008, the palatial digs have granite and turf floors, a fountain with a bronze water-spitting duck and a scale replica of the hotel in which the one drake and four hens nest. After posing for pictures, the ducks swim in the lobby fountain until 5 pm, when they march back to the palace with much pomp and circumstance.
The hotel’s Ducky Day Family package entitles kids 5+ to lead the march and celebrate afterward with duck-shaped cookies.
WHERE: Newmarket-on-Fergus, Ireland
Raptors rule the roost at Dromoland Castle, where guests can book a not-to-be-missed Hawk Walk on the property grounds. During the hour-long experience, a falconer explains the noble art of falconry while introducing you to one of six Harris Hawks. After you watch it making lazy circles in the sky, you’ll have him eating out of your hand, literally. (Don’t worry, the falconer provides a glove so the hawk’s talons don’t leave a lasting souvenir when he swoops in to grab a hunk of raw meat from your palm!) Guests can also book an appointment to visit Dromoland’s Falconry School, which has been on the premises for nine years. The school houses the Harris Hawks along with one Red Tail Hawk, four falcons, and three owls.
The Hotel Monaco
WHERE: Seattle, Washington
The Kimpton Hotel Group’s Guppy Love program dates back to 1998 when the Hotel Monaco Seattle started offering guests the option of requesting a complimentary goldfish companion in their rooms. The fact that the staff handles feeding and bowl-cleaning take the stress out of the request… and whose blood pressure wouldn’t go down by staring at a golden girl (or guy) for a few minutes? The program has since expanded to all Hotel Monacos (9 in total), and each property has around 25 fish on hand. The program “is an extension of our overall pet-friendly hospitality,” says a hotel spokesperson, who adds that animals of all breeds and sizes can stay for free with their owners. “If they can fit through the hotel doors, they’re welcome.”
INSIDER TIPTraveling on business? Participating hotels will place a little swimmer in an on-site meeting room upon request to help you relax and focus on the tasks at hand.
WHERE: Nairobi, Kenya
The aptly named Giraffe Manor hosts a herd of 11 rare Rothschild giraffes (the Kenyan subspecies with no markings beneath the knees), all of whom love interacting with guests over breakfast and afternoon tea. For the rest of the day, they run, walk, and scour the trees for leaves at Nairobi National Park, their official home. Since the 1960s, Giraffe Manor has served as a breeding center for the Rothschilds, increasing the headcount from 100 to 800. Here’s the feel-good kicker: The Safari Collection donates $10 for each guest who stays at Giraffe Manor to the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), which sponsors wildlife conservation projects across Kenya.