Puppy Cuddling for Weary, Needy Travelers

Happiness is just a hug away at certain hotels across the nation — such as this one in San Francisco, with its 'unique' employees

by Michele Blood | Updated 15 Jan 2018 at 10:29 AM

Flight delays, lost luggage, the navigation of unfamiliar cities — all of this can make traveling exquisitely stressful.

Some “unique” employees of San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko are now trying to change all that, one cuddle at a time.

Meet Buster. The two-year-old Morkie (a cross between a Maltese and a Yorkshire Terrier) and his team are providing weary travelers with cuddles and kisses on demand, for real. 

“Imagine guests checking into the hotel and stressed after a long flight — then around the corner here comes Buster, wagging his tail and happy to meet them. To watch their shoulders drop and for people to become happy and relaxed almost instantly — that’s more heartwarming than anything,” said Dani Ortega, Hotel Nikko San Francisco’s associate marketing director.

“Our general manager, Anna Marie Presutti, began bringing her dog, Buster, to work and our guests fell in love with him — thus began his career as our canine operating officer,” Ortega told LifeZette. “We knew there was an opportunity to provide our guests with a unique experience. How many hotels do you know that offer puppy kisses? He is a touch of fun in our luxury hotel and brings a sense of calm in a busy city.”

Buster Presutti Posey (yes, he has three names) has served as the hotel’s canine operating officer since early 2015. He is assisted in his duties by his canine bestie, Tamago, a  Coton de Tuléar. In one video, Buster even inspects the qualifications of the team’s most recent recruit, Bisou, a mini Golden Doodle. (Bisou passed with flying colors.)

The tail-wagging team's duties include greeting human guests, romping on the outdoor patio and dog run with canine guests, and taking multitudes of cute selfies — which anyone can enjoy on Buster's official Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages (yes, he has his "own" accounts).

When they enter their rooms, guests of this iconic, 28-story hotel in the heart of San Francisco's Union Square find a stuffed animal on the bed along with a notecard. The card offers guests the opportunity to purchase the stuffed animal — with proceeds going to benefit a local dog rescue — or to interact with the real thing.

The therapy dogs work at the hotel Monday through Friday.

Buster, Tamago, and "intern” Bisou happily allow cuddles and give doggie kisses to all comers at meet-and-greet events. These meet-and-greets often take place on the recently renovated patio. The outdoor dog run on the patio is the largest among the San Francisco hotels that offer them.

The therapy dogs work at the hotel Monday through Friday. And they go home with their respective pet parents when they're not on the job.

For dog-loving travelers who are missing their pups at home — and for travelers who have brought their pets along for the trip, the furry trio are a welcome sight. The pups' social media pages are filled with photos of delighted guests interacting with the friendly furballs.

So, yes, Hotel Nikko is exceptionally pet-friendly. Not only does it welcome service animals, but it also welcomes small- to medium-sized family dogs that weigh less than 60 pounds. The hotel has one floor dedicated to guests whose dogs are traveling with them.

For $50 a night, canine guests of Hotel Nikko get the works, including dog beds, bowls and treats. They also enjoy access to the patio and dog run.

Hotel Nikko receives quite a number of inquiries about its dog-friendly program. Its best recommendation to other hoteliers who are interested in offering this amenity to guests is to "be authentic and let the pups do what they do best — spread the love!”

Michele Blood is a freelance writer based in Flemington, New Jersey. 

(photo credit, homepage image: Hotel Nikko O'Farrel Entrance, CC BY-SA 4.0, by TDFritz6)

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