Hurricane Irma evacuations bring 900 dogs to Orlando hotel!
Between 800 and 900 dogs and also a handful of cats became guests of the Hyatt Regency Orlando on International Drive this weekend after hundreds of Hurricane Irma evacuees headed here from other parts of the state. “We’re always dog-friendly,” hotel manager Kevin Kennedy said on Saturday night. Marcus Newton and his daughter Adison, 11, from Vero Beach planned this trip to Orlando nearly two months ago. They decided to keep the reservation as an evacuation plan.
“I couldn’t imagine leaving them in a shelter,” said Adison, referring to their two dogs Reagan and Riley.
Mia Gallow drove up from Naples on Wednesday with her golden retriever Scout to avoid the storm. “I’m actually from California, so I’m used to earthquakes and fires,” Gallow said. “This is my first hurricane”. Gallow said she was surprised how many dogs you can spot in the lobby at any given time. “It reminds me of that book “Go, Dog, Go” because there are so many dogs here,” Gallow said.
Brandon Spohn, 12, of Palm Beach couldn’t get very far after leaving the elevator because of his white Labrador puppy’s adoring fans. “People say how adorable he is, and they want to keep him,” said Spohn. Spohn and his family say they are enjoying their time despite the stress.
Kennedy said some of the 4,500 guests were thankful the pool was open until the afternoon, giving stressed travelers some relaxation. The hotel also opened a multipurpose room with a pool table, movies and games for families.
“We’re prepared for the storm,” Hotel general manager Brian Comes said. He said the standard $150 cleaning fee for rooms with pets was dropped to $50 this weekend. About 200 hotel employees and their families as well as dozens of Florida Power & Light workers are also staying in the hotel throughout the weekend.