Have Pooch, Will Travel: Treat your canine companion to luxury
As more and more jet-setters take their furry friends wherever they go, high-end hotels have created amenities that welcome four-legged guests with open arms.
Cushy beds, treat room-service and walking services are now de rigueur at just about any luxury pet-friendly hotel. But some go that extra mile to welcome Fido and Fluffy. At Rome’s Waldorf Astoria Cavalieri, VIPs (very important pets) chow down on a special dog menu, and those who may have put on a few extra pounds can run off some calories during a pooch personal trainer session in the surrounding 15 acres of parkland.
After a full workout, a staff member escorts your canine to nearby Domus Aventina for a shampoo, massage, skin treatment and stylish comb out. The ornate, baroque-styled Hotel Bristol in Vienna welcomes dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles and other animal companions. Pet menus are available both in-room and in the hotel’s restaurants. In the Bristol Lounge, the chef offers a choice of porcelain-bowl-served beef tartare, seasonal fish or poached capon breast. “Fred & Otto in Wien,” a dog-centric Viennese city guide, is available for guests.
Guests staying at the Milestone Hotel in London’s swish Kensington district are sent a “pet preference form” prior to their arrival to make sure everything is ready for four-legged friends. The dog beds include a cozy duvet and the hotel provides a number of services from grooming to birthday parties.
The Very Important Pet Program at the Napa River Inn in Northern California includes a custom-designed blanket, place mat and bowls from which your pet can feast on the hotel-supplied gourmet bones and biscuits made with Napa Valley wines.
Should you want time away from the “kids” to fully enjoy the area’s wineries, pet sitters are available to make sure they don’t get up to any mischief or get lonely. And while you’re relishing a spa treatment at the Napa River Inn, you can pamper your pooch with a doggie massage.
Closer to home, pet friendliness is nothing new at the stylish La Valencia hotel in La Jolla, which has been offering pet services for more than 90 years, including in-room pet bed nightly turndown service. The hotel hosts monthly “Yappy Hours” and can arrange a multiple critter services including canine yoga and massages, as well as kayaking and surfing lessons you can enjoy together.
To ensure your pet fits right in to the La Jolla lifestyle, the hotel can also arrange a personal shopper to browse the eclectic selection at a neighborhood pet store called Muttropolis. La Valencia shows it cares about all pets (not just pampered ones) by collecting canine care packages for the nearly 3,000 soldier dogs serving with the U.S. military around the world.
The first hotel to teach dogs how to hang ten, Loews Coronado Bay Resort offers dog surf lessons in conjunction with the Coronado Surf Academy. “The first step in teaching a dog to surf is to make sure that he/she enjoys the water,” academy owner Teevan McManus said. “It’s really our only requirement. Second, we invite the owners to participate with us in the water during the lesson. It’s their experience, too, and the dogs respond much better to their owners’ commands.”
All pets staying at Loews Coronado receive gifts, including a pet tag, bowl and a special treat to start their vacation. The hotel stocks a full range of pet accessories and offers dog or cat room service menus.
Joe Yogerst, LA Times Custom Publishing Writer