Walking into a hotel lobby, the last thing you expect to see is a wagging tail and beady eyes looking up at you. An unusual and innovative foster dog programme, run by Aloft Downtown Boutique Hotels in the US, offers rescue dogs a lavish lifestyle while finding them new, happy homes.
In March of 2017, a friend sent Ashley Bush a photo of an adorable little dog living the high-life in the lobby of the Aloft Tallahassee Downtown. Chester, a rescue, was part of the hotel’s foster dog programme.
Smitten by the picture, Ashley stopped in for a visit. The Leon County Humane Society placed Chester, a Pekingise/Chihuahua mix, at Aloft for his effervescence, abundant cuteness and ability to thrive in the busy environment of a hotel lobby. If Chester needed some private time, he could retire to his doghouse, a custom-built replica of the hotel.
WATCH: New York's Ark airport terminal, exclusive to animals, going to the dogs
Ashley and her life partner, Walter Gordon, were still hurting from the death of their previous dog Penny, also a rescue, just six weeks earlier. They weren’t actively seeking a new pooch, but after time spent with Chester it suddenly seemed clear that opportunity was barking. The deal was sealed.
Chester was the third dog adopted from the Aloft Tallahassee Downtown, part of a foster pet programme started by the Aloft Asheville Downtown that has spread to three more of the Aloft hotels.
READ: Play time! This exhibition shows the close relationship between humans and dog
What are the policies in SA hotels?
Although we have not caught on to a similar foster programme trend in South African, hotels have advanced pet policies with some even having animals around as their ambassadors.
atFrits Hotel and Daycare in Cape Town CBD, is a five-star dog hotel offering concierge services, spa, daycare, premium rooms and even day tours for your furry friends.
Owners get the chance to run errands without worrying about the safety of their pets, thanks to the hotel's babysitting services. Here dogs receive the very best treatment and if you are not convinced, each of the rooms have a built-in webcam so owners can check up on their best friends from a webcam app to ensure that all is well.
The Oyster Box in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal and their unofficial mascot, Skabenga the cat offer guests the pinnacle of luxurious accommodation.
The hotel’s superior Garden Villas accommodate both guests and pets. The inclusion of special pet menus, linen and sleeping baskets guarantee that the four legged friends enjoy the same luxury as their owners during a stay.
From check-in, The Oyster Box’s customary warm welcome is extended to pets – from a stylish collar, to a water bowl gift set. Pet-friendly services also include dog-walkers and collection and delivery to the parlour, on request.
WATCH: Art gallery for dogs opens in London
Other hotels such as The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa and Radisson Red seem to have also taken a liking to having domestic pets mingling with hotel guests.
Ingwe, The Twelve Apostles' house cat, sometimes makes an appearance in this luxe hotel, lavishing many guests with its presence.
Radisson Red's mascot is a four-legged Boston Terrier called Baxter. Pets are welcome in any of the 10 pet-friendly rooms, which come equipped with pet beds and treats for any dog or cat of 8kg or less. Your canine or feline friend is welcome to roam anywhere in the hotel, except the rooftop area.
Find Your Escape by signing-up for the Traveller24 Weekly Newsletter – Subscribe here. Or download the News24 App here, to receive expertly curated travel ideas and deals directly to your mobile.