Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland has partnered with the nonprofit Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas to host a few holiday-themed llama visits where guests can interact with the shaggy creatures in the spirit of stress relief. The Friday llama lobby visits are scheduled Dec. 6 and 20.
It’s not the first time the hotel has sponsored llama shenanigans.
“Prior years, we’ve had the llamas out, and walked through the downtown areas and spread holiday cheer unexpectedly,” says Travis Williams, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland’s general manager. “Last year we had them in the lobby before we walked them around the neighborhood, and immediately the word is out once you see a llama. People were so excited by the chance to touch and feed and get some photos with a llama.”
The idea for the partnership came from a hotel employee who was friends with someone at Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas. After seeing the reactions from guests, Portland locals and tourists, the hotel decided to bring them back.
“Once we saw the joy that it brought people, we just kept going,” Williams says.
When the Mountain Peaks therapy llamas and alpacas aren’t making holiday-themed visits to the Kimpton, they’re herded around Washington and Oregon to hospitals, rehab facilities, senior communities, hospice care, schools and special-needs organizations. According to the Mountain Peaks website, “research has shown that animals help humans by acting as social bridges, reducing blood pressure, directing thoughts outward, and serving as strong motivators for accomplishing difficult tasks.”
For those concerned about the well-being of llamas and alpacas in a hotel lobby, Williams says there’s nothing to be worried about. The animals are well fed and taken care of, plus they’re attended to by handlers during the visit.
To promote the animal visits, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland is running a Fa-La-La-La-Llama package starting at $155 plus tax per night. The package includes a $5 donation to Mountain Peaks, a stuffed toy llama as well as a plate of holiday milk and cookies. For the ultimate llama experience, book the package to overlap with the llama visit days. It could be the most unusual thing you do this holiday season.
“Everyone’s got an option to go see Santa, or an option to go see a Christmas tree, but an option to go see a llama is pretty cool,” Williams says.