Wow, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 83.3 million dogs are owned in the U.S. and, of the 68 percent of the American households that own a pet, dogs are by far the most popular choice for a non-human family member. But hey, how could dogs not be the fave? After all, they are mankind’s BFFs. One look into my little Buddy’s eyes, and I’m mush.
So, now that you’re armed with those numbers, it should come as no surprise that the hotel industry has stepped up its efforts to cash in on this dog-crazy phenomenon. I don’t know how you feel, but when I’m away from my Buddy, I miss him terribly, and the days just aren’t as joyful. My husband gets mopey, too.
So, for all of you die-hard dog fans like us, here is a roundup of some top dog-friendly vacation spots right here in the U.S. Thank goodness — gone are those doggone days of leaving our doggies behind.
“Pets are People, Too” says Loews, and for a mere $25 extra per day, you can bring your dog (or cat) to any Loews hotel thanks to the “Loews Loves Pets Program,” where pet amenities and services include gourmet room service menus for dogs (and cats), as well as pet-walking and pet-sitting services. Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego offers dog surfing lessons, doggy board shorts, doggy bandannas and a surf ‘n’ turf meal. All pets receive gifts including a pet tag, bowl and treats to kickstart their vacation.
You’ll receive a detailed brochure with information on local pet hotel services including room service and a pets gourmet menu, dog-walking routes and local pet services, including veterinarians, pet shops and groomers, and Fido will have access to specialized bedding, leashes, collars, pet placemats and water bowls. You will also receive the gift of a pooper scooper and bags.
Loews Vanderbilt Hotel Nashville offers your pup a shuttle by limo to a recording studio. Yes, you heard correctly. Once there, Fido will be met by a voice coach and a musician to record doggy karaoke — you know, howls and barks style. At the Loews Annapolis Hotel, your pooch can enjoy a customized hike with a personal escort.
Every Loews hotel that participates in the “Loews Loves Pets Program” make available a number of specialty services for your VIP (very important pet). These include freshly baked and healthy dog treats, limo pick-up and drop-off, and photo ops so you can cherish the memories long after you return home. In addition to doggy daycare, play dates and swimming, your pampered pooch can relax during Reiki sessions. Be sure to call ahead and confirm which services each hotel has available and reserve for the time of your visit.
Kimpton lets you know that your furry, fluffy Fifi is always welcome at every one of its hotels nationwide. It even invites your “feathery or scaly family member,” too. No matter what size, weight or breed, Kimpton hotels don’t charge extra for your pet. The concierge will happily provide a long list of local pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers and pet boutiques, and they even have an honorary canine staff to welcome you and your pet. The only suggested tip to your welcoming K-9 committee is an optional belly rub and perhaps a dog bisquit.
Click here to read Kimpton’s amusing blog post, “It’s a Dog’s Life,” complete with adorable doggy photos and detailed descriptions of the K-9 hosts you’ll meet at a variety of Kimpton Hotels, including favorites like Monaco in Denver or Alexandria, Va., and the Palomar in Phoenix or San Diego.
This hotel chain boasts the P.A.W. (Paws Are Welcome) program. Pet-friendly W hotels are located in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington. At check-in you can expect dog-friendly items, including a pet toy, pet treat, pet tag and clean-up bags. In your room you’ll find a pet bed, pet food, water bowl, floor mat, and a “Pet in Room” door sign. You can order a whole host of items through its Whatever/Whenever® pet services including leashes, toys, food, treats, wee wee pads and a Bow-ow first-aid kit. Talk to the concierge about dog sitting, dog walking, nearby dog parks, dog runs, pet stores, birthday cakes, grooming services and a vet.
If you’ve got plenty of money to burn, there are quite a few pet friendly Ritz-Carlton hotels to choose from. In Sarasota, Fla., there’s a Privileged Pup spa program called the “Paw Package.” It includes paw-friendly room service for Evian water, organic gourmet stew, gourmet dog biscuits and more. Services-to-order include dog massages and manicures. The hotel promises to “help your loving companion escape from the hounding pressures of their ruff world.”
Certified pet massage therapists offer a multitude of doggy massage options including Therapeutic Swedish, Full Body Relaxation, Invigorating Sports and Senior Pet. These one-hour massages come with a brief client consultation and pet evaluation, a personalized Pet Massage Lesson and a souvenir picture. The Ritz-Carlton at Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek, Colo., offers a resident yellow Labrador Retriever named Bachelor who is the CEO of the Loan-a-Lab hiking program. Bachelor is available daily for hikes and snowshoeing with guests on the Loan-a-Lab trail. The Loan-a-Lab program is free to hotel guests, but you better reserve in advance. He’s a celeb in great demand.
On a tighter budget? If you’re looking for something a little more earthy and a lot less fancy, check out this handy houndy list, “Pet Friendly Campgrounds in the U.S.”
Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.