The research shows that even a short engagement with such shows leads to significant increases in positive emotions including awe, contentedness, joy and amusement. The study also found substantial decreases in emotions such as nervousness, anxiety, fear, stress and tiredness.
While watching animals from the comfort of your home most of the year is enjoyable, these hotels around the world have made it a point to include a real life experience with wildlife during guests’ stay to really make their dreams come true.
From whale watching off the coast of Monte Carlo to spotting indigenous birds in Costa Rica, these hotels provide an unforgettable experience for guests to interact with animals in real life.
Bird Watching in Costa Rica: Set on a 1,100-acre rainforest, Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort recently launched a ½ day bird-watching package for guests to discover and identify the species in their native habitat. Groups will spot 40-60 different indigenous species in nearby Carara National Park while expert guides explain the ecology of birds as well as the physical environment that surrounds them.
Presidential Pets in D.C.: The Jefferson D.C.’s new Summer of American Democracy program includes a complimentary, 2-day itinerary for animal lovers called “America’s Best Friend: Famous Dogs and Animals in American History.” Curated by Susan Sullivan Lagon, Ph.D., the itinerary includes activities such as visiting the Smithsonian Museum of American History to learn how President Theodore Roosevelt earned the nickname “Teddy,” to heading to the Newmuseum to see the “First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets” exhibit. Guests who book this package will receive a daily F&B credit to be used at Michelin starred Plume, and a welcome gift from the National Museum of American History.
Mediterranean Whale Watching: At Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, aquatic animal lovers can get up close and personal with the ocean’s most gentle giants through the hotel’s newest “Just For You” experience, The Cetacean Ball. Accompanied by a marine specialist and bilingual guide, guests are taken by boat to the Pélagos marine sanctuary for a day of whale watching followed by a gourmet lunch in the heart of the Mediterranean.
Hotel Service Dog: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach in South Florida newly debuted a resident mascot at the hotel - Sandy, an eight-month old black Labrador retriever that is a therapy dog in training. Sandy is often spotted walking around the property’s lobby, meeting spaces, and beach, greeting guests and corporate meeting attendees who come through the door. Guests and groups have even been known to come back and request to pet Sandy.
Animal Keepers Program: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico offers guests the chance to come face-to-face with local animals through their Animal Keepers program. With three vets onsite to lead the program, visitors have the opportunity to feed, bathe and care for endangered and rescued animals including rescued donkeys, endangered white-tailed deer, and macaws. The resort is also home to “Cat Cafés,” where guests can feed and interact with native cats found on the property.
Farm Sanctuary with Rescued Animals: Nestled in the Finger Lakes Region of Central New York, Farm Sanctuary’s 175-acre animal haven houses more than 500 rescued animals from industrial farming sites all across the country. Farm Sanctuary recently unveiled their newly constructed tiny houses. Approximately 384 square feet, the house contains one queen bed, one full-size futon, a kitchenette and even a washer and dryer unit. The homes have been renamed and redecorated after some of the most beloved animal residents including Marjorie goat, Amy sheep and Turpentine turkey. The accommodations serves as an ideal way for visitors and volunteers to learn about animal issues and forge a closer bond with the rescued animals at the shelter.
Resident Rooster: Descendants of roosters that were bred in Cuba and the Keys, Key West’s roosters are main characters on the island. At the storied Casa Marina resort, where vibrant roosters roam freely, Feathers the rooster has taken occupancy on the grounds for many years. Both employees and returning guests know him by his bright colors and distinctive cock-a-doodle-doo.
Koi Fish Feeding: David Sosner, General Manager of Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, has raised koi fish for nearly 15 years. When he took up the positon at Kauai Beach Resort, the Aqua-Aston Hospitality-managed hotel on Kauai’s eastern shore, he brought his collection of beautiful koi with him, where they now happily swim in the ponds throughout the property. David now leads koi feeding activities at the hotel at 8:00 a.m. each day to spread his passion for the colorful fish, which can live for over 200 years!
Rescued Horses & Turtles: Oil Nut Bay, a luxury, multi-generational resort and residential community tucked away on the Eastern tip of Virgin Gorda, is home to five rescued Paso Fino horses and six red-foot tortoises. Guests can feed the turtles and interact with them alongside the turtle caretaker on property.
Scuba Diving for Sea Life: For those seeking dream getaways full of animal encounters, guests should look no further than the all-inclusive Jewel Paradise Cove Resort & Spa in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Travelers can discover a completely new underwater world through the resort’s scuba diving program. An experience for everyone – from the novice to devoted diver – guests can have access to the on-property PADI 5-star dive center and receive diver certification for a myriad of experience levels. Home to some of the most desirable diving sites in the world, divers will find unique fish and rare creatures only a short distance away from the resort.
Horse Country in Kentucky: Travelers in Lexington, KY (known as the “Horse Capital of the World”) can meet the city’s famed championship thoroughbreds – an experience that was previously unavailable to the public. The 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, an 88-room boutique hotel and contemporary art museum, offers a Kentucky Bred package featuring overnight accommodations, two tickets for a Horse Country tour (which can be used to visit American Pharoah), breakfast for two at on-site restaurant Lockbox and a signed copy of “American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner’s Legendary Rise” by New York Times bestselling author Joe Drape.
Seaside Sanctuary: At Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, head to Cable Beach, located alongside the Beach Sanctuary, home to nurse sharks, sea turtles and stingrays. Just opened in April, the 1,800-room property has seven pools with immersive water features that personify the natural beauty and wildlife of The Bahamas. Other features include turtle feedings on the beach and interactions with exotic birds at the Flamingo Sanctuary, a swim-up aquarium and aviary.