Finding a nice hotel can be challenging, especially if you have a dog. But, more luxury hotels and resorts are starting to open their doors to companion animals. Find out which ones will welcome your dog, and what they can offer him.
Picture it…a surfing lesson on the beach, followed by a relaxing bath and a beef tenderloin/salmon surf and turf dinner. It’s just one example of what your dog might enjoy at the growing number of luxury hotels, resorts and inns opening their doors to animal as well as human guests. Here’s a look at what you and your best friend can expect when going on vacation together, no matter what part of the country you’ve visiting.
West coast getaways
Loews is just one hotel chain that has adopted an animal pampering policy. Depending on which one you visit, each offers your animal something unique. For example, Loews Coronado Bay near San Diego offers surfing lessons for dogs. Big dogs receive a bandana, while smaller ones get snazzy board shorts. The chain’s Pumped-Up Pets package, meanwhile, gives you and your dog an opportunity to get in shape together with a deluxe room, workout tips, a dog Frisbee and specially created meals.
The historic Napa River Inn in Napa offers a VIP (Very Important Pet) program that includes a custom designed blanket, placemat and stainless steel bowls, as well as special “Char-Dog-Nay” or “Car-Bone-Nay” biscuits, and support services such as dog walkers and an on-call veterinarian. The surrounding area offers numerous dogfriendly destinations and points of interest, including a pet psychic and dog training. Treat your dog to some liverflavored ice cream, or tour the nearby Bergin University of Canine Studies, where the four-legged students are trained to be assistance dogs.
Kimpton Hotels view animal companions as just another guest but with slightly different needs. Their policy is “no size, shape or species limit and no extra charge.” While most traveling animals are dogs, cats (and once some penguins!) have also been guests. Dogs are welcome to help work the front desk if they get lonely while their people are out. The bellmen will also take them for walks. Dog beds, bowls and treats are provided en suite along with a survival kit of bottled water, treats, leash and bags for walking. Canine guests receive a personalized greeting on a dog shaped chalkboard. At the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Park in Seattle, Washington, a cleverly folded towel (dog shaped ala soft sculpture) awaits your companion when you arrive in your room.
Located in Arizona, the W Scottsdale hotel’s slogan is P.A.W. – “pets are welcome”. They offer doga classes for both guests and locals. Classes attract as many as 30 doga teams on a regular basis. If you want more active exercise, try the boot camp classes. The hotel also offers chef-prepared menus for your dog, a personal concierge, bedding and treats on arrival.
Another animal-friendly accommodation in the midwest is the Moonrise Hotel, located near Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. With over 1,200 acres, Forest Park is almost twice the size of Central Park in New York. You and your dog can enjoy the jogging paths, visit the World’s Fair Pavilion, or have lunch at the Boat House. The Walk of Fame in the Delmar Loop honors St. Louisians past and present. Stroll with your dog through the outdoor seating of Fitz’s American Grill and Bottling Works (root beer) or Brandt’s Café. You can always find your way back to the hotel by looking for the rotating moon on its roof.
While you and your dog are exercising and sight-seeing, the hotel’s pastry chef will be baking homemade treats for your companion to enjoy on your return. If your dog needs pampering after his walk, a massage from Sandy’s Spa Extravaganza will do the trick. Holiday in the northeast Dogs are welcome in selected rooms at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania. The canine menu include boneless chicken, sautéed filet tips, burgers, peanut butter cookie treats or banana snap treats.
Dogs can visit the Wooflands Kennel next door and enjoy blueberry facials or “pawdicures”. “The berry facial is an all-natural scrub with a botanical formula,” says Zelma Kassimer, guest relations. “It gently removes stains without irritating eyes or sensitive skin. It leaves the hair bright and shiny with a long lasting light berry fragrance.”
For those who live with their dogs overseas (remember that traveling abroad with your dog usually involves a quarantine period), the Rome Cavalieri Hotel in Italy pulls out all the stops. Visitors can splurge on a cashmere coat for their pups, choosing from 140 colors and adding the animal’s name in rhinestones. The room service menu for dogs offers tuna, game or a healthy rice/meat/veggie soup, all enjoyed from a red Gucci dog bowl served on a golden tray. “The Rome Cavalieri sees no reason to banish beloved dogs to kennels just because guests want to spend a few nights in luxury,” states the website. The grounds cover 15 acres, and for busy guests, the hotel offers dog walking and sitting services. Should you decide to indulge yourself at the Grand Spa, staff will escort your dog to La Domus Aventina for shampooing, massage and a stylish comb-out.
In Spain, meanwhile, the MEMelia hotel in Madrid welcomes dogs with a basket of treats and toys. Each dog receives a ME necklace to wear for ID purposes during his stay. Pet sitting, dog walking and unlimited playtime are available, and both canines and people are welcome at the breakfast buffet. The room service menu includes vegetable risotto, filet mignon and cous cous, and a “puppy fours” dessert.
Hotels no longer just tolerate companion animals. From gift baskets and personalized blankets to room service and activities galore, many high-end accommodations not only allow animals but cater to, pamper and anticipate their every desire. And while your dog may not need a facial or a massage, indulge her once in a while. Everybody needs a little pampering.
If you have to leave your companion behind, check out one of the growing number of boarding facilities that go the extra mile for animals by giving them a special hotel-like experience.
At the Dog Mahall and Cats 2 in Orlando, Florida, each dog room contains color cable TV, a movie du jour, comfy bed, toys and treats twice a day. They also get four daily walks, an outdoor run and a salon bath. Cats can enjoy four-story town homes that provide a good view of what’s going on, or cozy corners to nap in.
As they say, everything is bigger in Texas and the Unleashed Indoor Dog Park in Dallas is no exception. The 50,000-square-foot building not only has private rooms for boarding, but also a lounge, café, gift shop, grooming area, agility courses, ramps, tunnels and jumps — and about 25,000 square feet of artificial turf for your dog to run and play on. Each private room features a king-sized bed, television — and a staff member who spends the night there so your dog has a human to crowd as usual!
What about you? Feeling lonely on the road without your companion? On any given night, the Hotel Monaco in Denver, Colorado receives 80 to 100 requests for a complimentary goldfish companion, “a testament to the positive effect animals have on the lives of even the busiest people.” The staff is trained to feed and care for the fish – all you need to do is enjoy. At the FireSky Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, meanwhile, Bosco the cocker spaniel (official greeter in charge of pet services) will be there to welcome you as you arrive.