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BEAR HUGS

From Rupert Bear to Paddington and Winnie-the-Pooh – we’ve loved them all – so it is good to know that teddies are there to welcome our kids in some of the world’s best hotels.


WORDS Hilary Doling

Nothing makes a child feel more at home than a teddy bear. Bears say ‘snuggles’ and ‘security’ and ‘I love you’ to travelling children. When my son was younger I was keen that he should feel at ease in all the foreign cities we visited. Luxury hotels are getting very good at welcoming children but what really put a smile on his face were the times he was greeted with a bear to hug – the fatter, the softer, the cuddlier, the better. I still remember his delight at finding a scarlet teddy (red being the hotel’s signature colour) propped up on his bed at the Plaza Athénée in Paris. At the Shangri-La Hotel in Chengdu, China, there was a black and white bear to celebrate the fact that Chengdu is home to a number of giant panda sanctuaries. My son won’t recall – but I do – the teddy bear sitting on the bed at The Peninsula, New York, complete with pill box hat and bell boy uniform. At the time my son was a tiny baby and the teddy was as large as he was. I have it as a memento still.

Toy bears were developed at almost the same time by toymakers Morris Michtom in the US and Richard Steiff in Germany in the early 1900s, and named after President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt, Jr. Since that time, they’ve become an iconic children’s toy. The cuddly toys also gave rise to many songs and stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was inspired by the real-life Christopher Robin’s tatty teddy. Then there’s Rupert Bear, immortalised in newspaper annuals, and of course Paddington, named after London’s famous railway station. Yes, bears are a major part of our childhood, so it is good to know that so many of the world’s five star hotels understand the importance of the humble teddy bear.

 


Info: Hôtel Plaza Athénée www.dorchestercollection.com 
 Shangri-La www.shangri-la.com,
  The Peninsula, New York and The Peninsula, Chicago
 www.peninsula.com 
 Brown’s Hotel www.roccofortehotels.com
 Langham Hotels www.langhamhotels.com



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