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Would You Rent a Goldfish?

It sounds like a rather unlikely concept doesn't it? But a Belgian hotel has started to offer a goldfish rental service for lonely guests! Taking things a step further than video footage of an aquarium, the hotel is offering guests the chance to keep a goldfish in their rooms for the princely sum of for €3.50 a night!

Belgian Hotel

Hotel Charleroi Airport is an otherwise unremarkable hotel in Belgium which came up with an idea that has sparked a social media storm. The hotel manager, David Dillen, decided to buy the fish when in the midst of a drinking session. No surprise there then! He had been observing a long queue at check-in and thought that a few fish would give tired and impatient guests something to look at whilst they waiting in line. The goldfish proved to be a popular addition to the hotel's reception and inspired the idea for the rental service.

If guests liked the fish so much, why not give them the opportunity to take one up to their room? Apparently, some of the businessmen who stay at the hotel enjoy renting the fish so that they can amuse their colleagues by featuring a bill for a goldfish in their expenses!

Criticism of the Service

The hotel has been criticised for using small goldfish bowls and the ethics of renting the fish have been called into question. But then David Dillen has emphasized that the fish spend much of their time in a large aquarium where they enjoy shelter and plants.

Enhancing Hotel Rooms

As many goldfish meet an unfortunate end when people realise that this seemingly straightforward pet does require care and attention, perhaps rentals are the way forward! Only kidding! But it isn't difficult to see why this service would prove popular. Goldfish are rather endearing and they have a certain hypnotic quality which probably brings a calming and homely feel to an otherwise characterless hotel room.


For whatever reason, the goldfish rentals have proved to be a success and they have certainly garnered valuable publicity for the hotel. When the establishment first offered the service an Australian wheelchair tennis player, who was having trouble sleeping, decided to film the fish. He posted the resulting video on social media and this proved to the first example of many posts which have gone viral.

My friend is staying in a hotel in Belgium. They've offered her the option of renting a fish for the night, in case she's lonely.

— Michelle Cooke (@Mich_Cooke)

An image posted by a Dutch tourist gained 30,000 likes on Twitter in a matter of days! It is now common for guests to rent the fish just so they can post the pictures online.

When Rentals Go Wrong

But things don't always go swimmingly with goldfish rentals. A Dutch girl once kidnapped one of the fish! Her father later found it in the family car and contacted the hotel!

Sometimes the strangest ideas actually work. Perhaps this new pet rental service will catch on. The next time you check into a hotel you might be able to rent one of your favourite fish to ensure that your room feels just like home.


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