It can get pretty lonely for travelers to stay alone in a hotel. Fortunately, the Hotel Charleroi in Belgium has a fishy proposition for its guests.
The hotel, located in Gosselies just outside Belgium, has a ‘rent-a-fish’ service for clients looking for someone to keep them company. Basically, for 3.50 euros (about AUS$5 or US$4) per night, the front desk will send over a goldfish in a bowl up to your room.
Michelle Cook tweeted about the unusual offering, and it quickly went viral, receiving both positive and negative reactions. Some lauded the thoughtful service, while others criticised the establishment for taking advantage of animals.
— Michelle Cooke (@Mich_Cooke) September 2, 2017
Poor fish, tiny bowl, under the glare of a lamp with no plants to shelter in. If they are sentient enough to be company they deserve better.
— Anne Cowling (@Spa_town) September 3, 2017
Hopefully she contacted the local animal welfare regulator to complain about the cruelty of keeping a fish by self and in such a tiny bowl.
— Catriona MacLennan (@CatMacLennanNZ) September 3, 2017
According to hotel manager David Dillen, the rent-a-fish program has been running – or swimming, rather – since 2013, and has made lots of clients happy.
“We started a few years ago. The idea was to surprise our guests, as we always try to do,” he said. “It’s brilliant to see how people react to it. They smile, they take pictures to put on social media. We rent a few fish per week.”
In response to the criticism, he added: “I can also tell you that we take very good care of our fish; they have been with us for over four years now, so if they were not taken care of they would have died a long time ago.
“They also have a big fish-tank in the housekeeping department, with a shelter, oxygen and plants. When we think it’s necessary, we put them there for a few days.
“I think it’s a pity people nowadays tend to look at the glass being half-empty instead of half-full.”