The Fairmount Hotel: Press Release
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Meet the Fairmount's Four-Legged Concierge
Luke the Labrador Meets and Greets Guests At Historic Hotel
Tips For Pooch Help Non-Profit That Treats, Rescues Animals From Pound
San Antonio, TX (January 2007) - The Fairmount's newest employee is ready to bring guests their morning paper, so long as they don't mind a few gentle teeth marks in the wrapper.
"Guests are immediately smitten with Luke. They can't resist petting him, talking to him and offering him treats. I've had people offer to buy him and take him home, but we'd never think of parting with Luke. He's definitely part of the Fairmount family." -- Fairmount owner Robert D. Tips
Covered in beautiful flowing coat of golden hair, this healthy, laid-back and friendly 100-plus pound Labrador has become the hit of the historic hotel. Fairmount owner Robert D. Tips adopted the lovable pooch in November 2005 after his sister-in-law and niece, Lori and Natalie, helped save Luke from a lethal stay at the San Antonio Animal Care and Control Shelter, commonly known as the pound.
Now, Luke is the only four-legged concierge in all of downtown San Antonio, with the official title of Director of Pet Relations. With his large head, broad shoulders and droopy but gleaming eyes, Luke has quickly taken to his new life at The Fairmount. The Labrador often can be found lounging on a large padded pet bed in the first-floor salon next to the front desk, or loping amiably through the outdoor courtyard.
Luke is more than just a mascot. Luke is an official member of the Fairmount staff, and even has his own business card (Full name: Luke Tips) and e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org. Guests will e-mail photos of themselves with Luke after a recent stay, or send him a note of thanks for taking a walk with them through HemisFair Park.
"We're going to offer a pet spa package using Luke's official groomer," Tips said. "People can come in and have their pets pampered by Luke's personal groomer. While they are waiting, they can take Luke for a walk in HemisFair Park right across the street from the Fairmount."
Luke has become famous all over the world. He was featured on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 during the cable news giant's global telecast of New Year's Eve 2006. Articles on him have appeared locally and as far away as Canada. A travel film crew from Thailand made an unannounced stop at the hotel to videotape Luke when they heard about him. And he's soon to be featured on Hi-Def network WealthTV and on an in-house flight commercial for Frontier Airlines.
Guests without pets can set appointments to walk or jog with Luke through HemisFair Park as a healthy, motivating way to venture outdoors and learn more about San Antonio. Some even ask if Luke can stay in their room for the night.
Luke has already received tips from dog-walking guests, from a few singles to a $20 bill. Tips says any tip money that Luke earns are donated to the non-profit Bexar County Humane Society or to SNIPSA - Spay, Neuter, Inject Project of San Antonio. This 501-C3 is run by local veterinarian Dr. Shannon Epsy, who volunteers many hours a month to save dogs like Luke from euthanasia. Luke was diagnosed with heartworms, which is an automatic death sentence for animals at the pound. But thanks to Lori and Natalie Tips and SNIPSA, Luke was saved, treated and delivered to the Fairmount.
"We have had about 15 dogs come in an out of our lives since August and I'm still learning so much," said Lori Tips, who has become an active advocate of animal rescue efforts. "I first thought that it would be impossible to find good homes for these dogs because I thought everyone wants a puppy. Wrong. There are a lot of people out there who have already figured out that the older dogs are the way to go. These dogs are normally through with chewing and being in the pound is a very humbling experience for the dogs. They are all so glad to be out of the little cages."
Luke is definitely happy to be out of the pound. Guests regularly ask the front desk for a doggie treat to feed to the royal retriever. Luke already has learned to sit, lie down and shake hands. A dog handler is training him to deliver the morning newspaper to the 37 salons and suites in the boutique property.
For the ultimate experience, plan a day with your pet, Luke and his groomer as you are chauffeured around town in the Fairmount's new signature Family Limo Coach, a 20-passenger luxury vehicle with standing head room, complete with wet bar with refrigerated wine and beer glasses, DVD players, a state-of-the-art stereo sound system and an incredibly smooth ride powered by a V-10 engine. Luke and his groomer can take you and your pet on a guided shopping and recreational tour of the city's best pet markets, dog walks and other pet-friendly activities.
Be on the lookout for Luke the Concierge merchandise, which soon will be for sale at the hotel and on the hotel's website: www.fairmountsa.com. T-shirts, coffee mugs, calendars and other items bearing Luke's image and slogans such as "I slept with Luke at The Fairmount" are sure to be a hit.
"Guests are immediately smitten with Luke. They can't resist petting him, talking to him and offering him treats," Tips said. "I've had people offer to buy him and take him home, but we'd never think of parting with Luke. He's definitely part of the Fairmount family."
The Fairmount is a boutique luxury hotel made up of 37 salons and suites located steps from San Antonio's famed River Walk, across from HemisFair Plaza. Fairmount owner Robert D. Tips has invested in a meticulous renovation to restore the grandeur of this historic treasure built in 1906. Elegantly themed suites, a breathtakingly beautiful courtyard and hand-picked antiques accentuate an Old World European style, making every stay at The Fairmount a one-of-a-kind experience.