The warm, engaging service provided by Fairmont colleagues is a hallmark of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. As recently noted in the company’s Luxury Insights Report, Volume 1, the long lasting impressions made by Fairmont colleagues are often cited as contributing to enjoyable stays and provide a major incentive to return. Among those 45,000 kind and friendly faces around the world, a special 16 stand out for not only leaving an impression, but possibly becoming a guest’s’ best friend forever.
Fondly known as Canine Ambassadors, the resident hotel dogs of Fairmont are gentle, affectionate and can often understand matters in a way no other human can. Their job, as official members of the hotels’ Guest Services Teams, is to provide companionship, security and that special wisdom that only a pet can provide. Fairmont guests appreciate the dogs’ company on leisurely walks, vigorous hikes, or resting in the lobby lounge for a soothing scratch behind the ears.
Meet the team
Marcus, known to his friends as Mark, is a Golden Labrador Retriever, with the additional duties as Director of PR (Pet Relations) at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. Like his four-legged colleagues around the world, Mark loves to hike and play fetch with guests. Playing or petting a dog has been scientifically proven to increase the levels of the happiness hormone, oxytocin, and decrease the levels of cortisol, which is responsible for feelings of stress, thereby leading to a happier mood.
In Kenya, sisters Tusker and Grammy are a mix of Labrador and Ridgeback descent. Hard at work at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, they can be found around the Club taking walks together, jumping into ponds and chasing birds over 100 acres of picturesque landscape. These pups prove that when you do what you love, it’s not really a job!
Business travellers love the chance to commune with the Fairmont dogs. Of note, a visiting conference group at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess asked for the Canine Ambassador duo of Bixbyand Gibbs to join them on their lunch breaks so they could enjoy snuggles and selfies with the happy pups.
Many canine colleagues began their careers by training as service dogs. Similarly, Umi, at Fairmont Tremblant in Quebec and Stanley at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, trained with the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind and Catie Copley, who has since retired, started out with the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in New York before becoming the first Canine Ambassador at Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston. Daphnie at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, is another example; she trained to become a guide dog through the Mira Foundation, along with Beau and Hunter at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver who are former BC Guide Dog trainees.
Umi, Catie, Daphnie, Stanley, Beau, Hunter and others, all developed their gracious manners and sweet demeanor in their early training to become service dogs. But it was their strong social skills, their outgoing natures and their love for meeting new people that drew them to the hospitality industry and jobs in canine ambassadorship.
Service training also instilled a strong sense of community in the Fairmont dogs and they enjoy participating in their hotels’ philanthropic efforts. Bello, a Black Labrador at Fairmont Le Château Montebello, has participated in some unforgettable moments with guests, such as celebrating with a young man who came for an amazing Star Wars theme party, thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation. At Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Smudge is a huge advocate of the Edmonton Humane Society; she has assisted in raising well over US$20,000 through a number of team related initiatives.
Speaking of Smudge, this lovely Golden Labrador Retriever has had an enviable career path, beginning with training at Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. Smudge found her calling as a canine ambassador at Fairmont St Andrews, in Scotland, while her Canadian owner was employed as General Manager. Both the GM and Smudge received job transfers back to Canada, where they joined Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. While Smudge’s Scottish colleagues were sad to see her go, they now enjoy the company of Honey, an adorable Yellow Lab often spotted roaming the hotel’s 520 acres or appearing on the hotel’s social media stream.
While all the Fairmont dogs are rapidly becoming stars on social media, Bixby and Gibbs of Fairmont Scottsdale Princess have joined the ranks of storybook heroes as well. The Golden Friends of Fairmont is a delightful childrens’ book about the pups’ heartwarming adventures and antics around the hotel and its 68 acres of gardens.
Before she moved away from active duty, Catie at Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston was featured in not one, but two, wonderful storybooks that share the delights of being Boston’s most famous dog and the informal mascot of the Boston Marathon. Catie Copley and Catie Copley’s Great Escape are still available on Amazon. Now at the age of 14, Catie has retired from official ambassadorship, but her duties have been happily taken up by little sister Carly Copley, an adorable pup the hotel adopted from the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
For a look at all of Fairmont’s Canine Ambassadors, visit fairmont.com/promotions/canine