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FEATURE/No pet peeves here: Sofitel hotels welcome Fido and Fluffy.

PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE FEATURES)--April 10, 1996--The French have long been known as a nation of pet lovers who treat Fido and Fluffy as one of the family.

So it's only natural that Sofitel, the French-owned luxury hotel chain, should throw open its doors to our fine furry friends. Not only are they welcome at most Sofitels worldwide, there is even a range of pet services available to meet their special needs. Inevitably, there are times when this policy leads to some interesting "tails"...

Hollywood star Liza Minelli is known for traveling with her dog in tow. During a stay at the Hotel Sofitel San Francisco Bay, both she and her pet were treated like celebrities -- Liza with the raft of amenities that makes this hotel so popular with discerning travelers; the pampered pooch with a personal food dish containing a fresh bone and a doggy cookie for dessert. Special food needs are as easily filled in France: At the request of a guest staying at the Hotel Sofitel Thalassa in Quiberon, an accommodating head chef temporarily abandoned his post in the main kitchen to help a pooch celebrate her birthday with a special birthday cake. Chocolate of course. No candles.

The impromptu dog-sitting service offered at some Sofitels can, according to the manager of Hotel Sofitel Zurich Central, have unexpected results. Recently a staff member offered to walk a large German Shepherd while his owner went off on business. The problem was the dog, confused by the arrangement, thought he was the one in the role of guardian and refused to let the girl move from her chair. When the owner returned, he found both parties frozen in the same place he had left them five hours earlier. Dog walking is easier in Washington D.C., where the Sofitel's roof-top patio has become the late-night hot-spot for guests and their canine companions.

But dogs are by no means the only pets to check into Sofitels. Last summer a couple checked into the Sofitel Miami carrying a large box covered with blankets. The following morning they left to do some shopping and the maid cleaned the room. When the guests returned several hours later they made a frantic phone call to the concierge saying the pet was missing. Arranging a search party, the concierge asked for the name of the missing dog. "Oh no, he's not a dog," she was told. "He's a 12-foot python." Fortunately, panic was averted when the snake was found curled up for the night under the bed covers.

The manager of the Sofitel Madrid Plaza d'Espana has another strange story to tell. A few months ago a bellman reported that a vicious argument was going on inside a guest room on the second floor. He had escorted a happy young couple -- newlyweds, he thought -- to the same room a few hours earlier but, judging from the shouts and screams, the relationship had already turned sour. What should he do? Offer them a bottle of champagne, he was told. But when he knocked and entered the room he found the couple quietly sitting there. The source of the noise: a large, colorful parrot, angrily arguing with itself in the mirror.

A more civilized type of bird (less given to foul language) is a frequent guest at the Hotel Splendid in Nice, a Sofitel affiliate hotel. A female guest who regularly checks in with a cage full of canaries always requests the same floor. It turns out the hotel's maid is a fellow enthusiast of tweetie-birds and together the two ladies share reams of ornithological advice.

"If we could talk to the animals"...perhaps they would request another night at a Sofitel!

Hotel Sofitel has 105 properties worldwide in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Sofitel is a division of Groupe ACCOR of France, the diversified hotel, catering and service company.

CONTACT: Laura Davidson Public Relations, New York

Beth Walsh/Laura Davidson

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 10, 1996
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