The Pet Guide 2018: Aloft’s Soft Spot

Downtown hotel hosts rescue dogs available for adoration and adoption.

Mavis (being held by owner Geo Cuevas) was Aloft’s first adoptee.

Aloft Orlando Downtown

Then and Now | Senior Pets Rock! | Casting a Canine Spell | Pet Products | Fighting Fright | Aloft’s Soft Spot | Pet Resource Guide

In May, Aloft Orlando Downtown became a place where you can not only experience R&R, you can experience a third R: rescue. Inside a customized enclosure within the lobby of the hotel resides the latest resident dog available for playtime, cuddles and adoption.

The hotel is working with the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando to help find forever homes for rescue dogs among hotel guests and locals. The program is modeled after those at McKibbon Hospitality’s Aloft Asheville Downtown hotel, Aloft Greenville Downtown in South Carolina and Aloft Tallahassee Downtown.

The program began May 23 with Mavis, a 5-year-old Shih Tzu, who was adopted in one day by the hotel’s sales director, Geo Cuevas. Fifteen dogs were adopted from Aloft Orlando Downtown between May and the end of July—four to staff members, six to locals and five to hotel guests. More than 200 have been adopted from all four properties.

“The average length of stay for the dogs in the program is one to two days, which is fantastic. Not only are dogs quickly finding homes, but the public enjoys the program as well,” says Pet Alliance Executive Director Steve Bardy. “Aloft guests and staff have loved interacting with the dogs, and some people who work in the offices close to the hotel regularly stop by to visit the resident dogs.”

Aloft Orlando Downtown guest services manager Kelsey Brown says the program “makes the hotel feel homier. A lot of our guests are traveling away from their families, and it helps they can experience a little unconditional puppy love.”

Says general manager Craig Leicester, “There can be a stigma when people think of shelters. This is the lobby of a hotel. It’s bright. It’s colorful. It’s welcoming.”

Next in the works for the hotel is a Wednesday yappy hour, a time when people “can bring your dog and have a cocktail,” Leicester says—or maybe go home with a new furry friend.

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