Legend has it the cats have nine lives. If indeed this is true, there are a number of fortunate felines who get to spend at least one of those lives residing at Leading Hotels. Here’s an inside look at a few whose living arrangements would make any Halloween cat’s back arch with envy.
True to its reputation as a family hotel, Le Bristol Paris
counts among its residents Fa-raon an adorable Sacré kitten from Burma. Majestic and with a stately velvet tread, he strolls around this legendary Parisian landmark. With his strikingly blue eyes, Fa-raon symbolizes the soul of Le Bristol. This privileged puss lives in harmony with the hotel, playing in the lobby, wandering through the grass of the French style gardens, and purring with pleasure at the attention from guests and staff. Intelligent and calm, this little ball of fluff offers gentleness and affection, and contributes to the harmonious family atmosphere of Le Bristol – unquestionably one of the key values of this exceptional hotel. Among his favorite places is a position above the gardens from where he can observe the activity below – including the clientele of Epicure who savor the refined cuisine of three-star Chef Eric Frechon, and succumb to desserts created by Pastry Chef Laurent Jeannin, under the shade of white umbrellas.
The story of Le Negresco’s
Carmen begins with a miracle. One day, Mr. Defay, a truck driver in southern France, had stopped by a village when he noticed some young people shooting a rifle in a deserted field. As he approached, they fled and he discovered, to his dismay that a cat and two of her kittens had been shot. One, however, was unhurt and very much alive. He tried to catch her, but she leapt on top of a rock, frightened and out of reach. Eventually he was able to lure her down and he brought her home. While Mr. Defay and his wife loved the kitten, they found they could no longer keep her. Fortunately, they heard that Madame Augier – owner of the Negresco – was looking for another cat following the death of her beloved ginger-colored Poussy. Wanting to make sure that their little cat would be well taken care of, Mr. and Mrs. Defay gave Carmen – who also happens to be ginger-colored - to Madame Augier, who has treated her to a wonderful life at Le Negresco. Indeed, Carmen – who still prefers high perches - has become such a symbol of the hotel to regular guests, that she often receives postcards and letters from them.
The Colosseum in Rome was once famous – or infamous – for the legions of cats roaming its ruins. While there are now just a few making cameo appearances at the storied site, none can claim the life of luxury that the two resident felines enjoy at Hotel de Russie
. In an act of compassion, the hotel rescued Mona and Lisa – this is, after all artistic Italy! – from a shelter in April 2012, and adopted them when they were just a few months old. With time they have become quite spoiled and are now truly "5 star" cats. They feel perfectly at home at the hotel and lead a rather luxurious lifestyle, basking in the sun of the hotel's secret garden and soaking up the tranquil atmosphere. They have, as well, become picky eaters, and have developed quite a refined palate: their favorite food is the fresh grilled salmon that the chef prepares just for them.
Set in a grove of cashew trees, Napasai by Orient-Express
is a paradise on the north coast of the tropical island of Koh Samui, Thailand. And it was this special retreat that Margarita, a domestic short-hair, chose as her place of residence. At first, she was not warmly welcomed, since management didn’t think it was appropriate to have a cat on the resort grounds. Not wanting to be cruel, they brought her to a local temple where the monks look after cats left in their care. While she was undoubtedly well-treated at the temple, after about a month, Margarita decided she would prefer the more sumptuous setting of Napasai, and made the trek of more than 40 kilometers back to what she considered her home. How could the hotel team deny her determination – or her excellent taste? Thus, Margarita was welcomed back – and, as self-appointed resort host – she has undertaken making the evening inspection tour of the grounds. So content is she – strolling through the gardens, playing with guests’ children, and napping in front of the general manager’s office, it seems she has grown plump and happy during her residence.
Skabenga (which means vagabond in Zulu), has made The Oyster Box
his permanent home for over ten years. It all started when he wandered onto the property as a stray, was fed tasty tidbits of prawns and seafood by the guests, and he never left, except briefly during building reformations a few years ago, when he was cared for by a cat-lover during the renovation period. Just before the hotel re-opened in 2009, Skabenga was brought ‘home’. Initially, he wouldn’t leave the back-office. Skittish and nervous, he hissed at anybody who came near him. The staff tried everything to make him feel comfortable again, giving him his own basket and even a bling collar (every five-star hotel cat should have one) - nothing seemed to work. But one day, he succumbed to the hospitality and emerged in the reception area and has never looked back. He has a favorite couch and takes his daily inspection strolls around the hotel. In addition, it seems he has impeccable timing; emerging in time, every time, the red carpet is put out - be it for an occasion like the arrival of Team Cameroon during the Soccer World Cup, or a royal cocktail party for Prince Rainier & Princess Charlene of Monaco. A gracious hotel host, he enjoys sharing his October birthday celebration with anyone who happens to be around during the month.
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About The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. (LHW)
When extraordinary and one-of-a-kind intersect, you have likely found a Leading Hotel. As the largest luxury hotel collection, with more than 430 of the world’s greatest properties in over 80 countries, we seek out the exceptional. From grand palaces to intimate city hideaways, from ancient castles to sumptuous safari tent villages, from tropical aeries to mystical paradises, all are utterly unique and boldly independent. Each celebrates the culture of its destination, rather than trying to mask it with corporate-mandated sameness. Established in 1928 by several influential and forward-thinking European hoteliers, it started with 38 initial members. With our eight-decade-long commitment to providing unforgettable, authentic travel experiences, LHW selects only hotels that meet our high standards for quality and distinctiveness. To us, hospitality is not an industry; it’s an art…and our passion.