A fun trend in hotel amenities is gaining popularity while keeping even the loneliest and most bored travelers upbeat. Along with room service, extra pillows, and wake up calls, etc., more hotels are adopting rent-a-fish programs and supplying guests with goldfish during their stays.
Belgium’s Van der Valk Hotel Charleroi Airport began their program a few years ago as a way to keep guests entertained while waiting in the check-in line, according to The Telegraph. The fish were so popular, the hotel brought in an entire school and started letting them spend the night with lodgers.
The Van Der Valk fish are rented for €3.50 — just over $4 USD — a night. Hotel manager David Dillen says they rent a few fish per week and business travelers enjoy returning from a business trip with ‘goldfish rental’ on their expense reports. When not on the clock, the fish stay in a large tank in housekeeping department, where they have a more natural setting with plants and shelter.
New York City’s Soho Grand Hotel offers a pet goldfish, upon request, as a complimentary extra — grouped in there with free wifi, newspaper, and local phone calls. Who needs all that information overload when you have a tiny nautical companion in your room??
The Guppy Love program created by the Kimpton Hotel Group (you may know them in the U.S. as part of the InterContinental Hotels Group family) allows guests, especially those with children, to request goldfish for their rooms, free of charge. And just like they do with regular housekeeping, the hotel staff takes care of the fish when guests are out.
The Guppy Love program is not new. It was conceived back in 1998 by the general manager of a Kimpton hotel in Seattle, according to Senior Manager of External Communications Faith Yi. After watching a TV program about goldfish being stress-reducing and calming, the manager pitched the idea of making goldfish available to guests, and the rest is Guppy Love history.
Yi says the program is an extension of the company’s overall pet-friendly hospitality and you’ll know whether your particular hotel offers goldfish if you see a fishbowl at the front desk.
English bed and breakfast Happy Guest Hotel Lodge in the UK has a rent-a-fish program, according to The Telegraph, but… they only have one fish. So if you’re heading to the Cheshire area any time soon and want a finned-friend, you need to reserve quickly. His (her?) name is Happy, btw, and rental is $6-8 USD a night.
Ireland’s Cork International Hotel is offering to guests who make a donation to a local children’s charity an evening with ‘Aaron the International Goldfish of Mystery.’
Any fish with a name like that just sounds like he’s going to get you into trouble, doesn’t he?? But if you donated to charity to win the evening, you could argue that all of your bad decisions were for a good cause, so there’s that.