Luxury hotels have always been about providing guests with the best experience. Top-notch toiletries, stellar service, and decadent dining options are all par for the course. But there's a recent trend we've seen at some of the world's top properties – the championing of unusual animal mascots. Going well beyond a friendly dog or cat that roams the lobby, hotels are now welcoming unique animals from Shetland ponies to swans to serve as a welcome committee for visitors and an attraction in-and-of themselves.
Scottish estate, Gleneagles, recently welcomed Hettie, a Shetland pony. Described as a "wee princess" by the hotel's Equestrian team, Hettie is an 11-year-old Shetland pony, whose favorite pastimes are eating and having her long blonde mane groomed. She joined Gleneagles' family of 25 horses and ponies in May, has been winning hearts since making her debut on the hotel's complimentary Stable Tours and Meet the Ponies experiences – part of the family summer program designed to inspire and entertain wee ones during the school holidays.
Back over in the U.S., Gurney's Newport Resort & Marina has three pygmy goats – Henry, Cooper, and Cornelia. The resort's resident mascots live a life of luxury in their mini-mansion that is a miniature replica of Marble House, a famous Newport mansion.
At the St. Regis Aspen, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, Kitty Jacob Astor II, a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, pays tribute to the St. Regis’ history. Named after the hotel's founder's late pup in 1904, Kitty lifts the spirits of guests and employees alike. And if you're not able to stay at the St. Regis, you can follow Kitty on his Instagram.
On the other coast, Hotel Bel-Air, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, has four resident swans in their iconic Swan Lake – Odette, Chloe, Athena, and Hercules. They have called the Hotel Bel-Air home since its opening in 1946, and many regulars/locals know to look for them during their stay, serving as unofficial mascots for the Swan Lake and hotel.
And these unique animal mascots can be found all over the world. Los Poblanos' Historic Inn & Organic Farm in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has a unique one – a resident male peacock. Betty the Goat lives at Sunset at the Palms Resort in Negril, Jamaica. Guests at Ashford Estate can take the resident Harris Hawks out for one-hour Hawk Walks on the grounds of the Estate. JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, a 16th-century convent turned hotel in Peru has Panchita, a sweet, cuddly baby alpaca that visits daily posing for selfies. Harrah's Resort Southern California also has an alpaca named Albert. And the list doesn't stop there.
Capella Singapore is home to Paul the Peacock and Amelia the macaw resides at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. You can visit several flamingos at Baha Mar in the Bahamas and even go on a daily parade with them. Seven black-footed penguins (Oreo, Nahu, Buddha, Zen, Mai, Tai and Momi) call the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa home. Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Virginia has a llama on property. Wiley, an 11-month-old Augur Buzzard, joined Boar's Head Resort in Charlottesville in early spring. And both Marquis Los Cabos in Mexico and Les Ilets de la Plage in Saint Barths have iguanas guests can visit named Pancho and Oscar respectively.
It sounds like an animal mascot tour is in order to visit all these adorable creatures.