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Charleroi hotel's 'rent-a-fish' service goes viral
A Belgian hotel has attracted widespread social media attention for offering lonely travellers the opportunity to "rent a fish" for company.
The four-star Hotel Charleroi Airport - which describes itself on its website as "surprisingly unique" - offers the fish rental service for €3.50 a night. Three fish are available, called Nemo, Charles and Heineken.
Michelle Cook, a radio producer from New Zealand, posted a photo of the fishbowl on Twitter, saying: "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."
Her photo has been liked more than 35,000 times and had more than 13,000 retweets.
Some commenters voiced concern about the fish's welfare and the size of the bowl. Belgian animal rights group Gaia said it was investigating.
Hotel manager David Dillen told De Standaard that the fish rental service had been available for four years.
"We take good care of them," he told the paper. "It's not our intention to make money from this.
"We just want to put a smile on people's faces. Businessmen especially find it funny to be able to charge this to their boss on expenses."
— Michelle Cooke (@Mich_Cooke) 2 September 2017