I used to be greeted by friendly smiles upon entering a 5-star hotel. Nowadays, it’s a bark or a woof echoing in the lobby upon my arrival. In the continuous quest for hotels to create a residential feel and a true home away from home, it is funny and ironic that some big brands are now turning to our canine friends for a touch of humanity.
Parker, the adorable pug at the Park Hyatt Chicago, was picked up from a shelter in poor medical condition and with one eye (which only adds to the “Awww” effect) about six months ago. Today, Parker is in growing health, greets every single guest upon arrival and departure and even attends some of the weekly management meetings — when he is not on his daily walk around the park to lose some weight, of course. Needless to say, Parker has rapidly become a great and loved asset to the hotel (for both the staff and the guests) and most likely wins the title of cutest employee on the property.
After jetting off from Chicago to New York and Washington, D.C., I landed in London on my most recent business trip, only to be greeted by another furry friend. Pearl, the resident golden retriever at the Rosewood London, is more than just a prop next to the check-in counter. He resembles the pet-friendliness of the hotel and even has his own Instagram page with more followers than I do!
Surprisingly (or not), these two hotels are a rare breed (no pun intended) in the world of hospitality, whereas most hotels seem to shy away from dogs or any pets in general. As a dog lover and a daddy of three Shiba girls, I actually see a lot of opportunity for hotels to attract more guests when they open up a bit more to our human’s best friends. The Park Hyatt Chicago and Rosewood London are definitely game changers, not for only accepting dogs but for their understanding that a stay at a luxury hotel is all about experiences and little meaningful moments.
As a hospitality designer, we always strive to design a hotel that feels like a home, but is the true feeling of a home could merely created by designer and service? Just like myself, we are lucky enough to have a few physical shelters in a few different cities, but the one we will truly call and feel as home is where we are being greeted by our lovely girls. So glad that such warmth to be extending to enrich our hectic travels.