Pet travel is going upscale. No longer do we have to stay at that funky one-story motel by the train tracks, where the manager eyes us with suspicion before granting access. New luxury hotels and some old favorites are rolling out the red carpet for travelers who just won’t leave home without their pampered pooches.
Beachin’ It: In dog-friendly Naples, Florida, the Naples Bay Resort is all-paws-in for pet fun. Shop at their Fergie’s Closet boutique for fashion finds to help your dog stand out at Yappy Hour events around town, or on the patio at Fred’s Food, Fun and Spirits restaurant, named after the owner’s dog. A short boat ride to dog-friendly Keewaydin Island promises plenty of beach time in warm Gulf waters for dog and owner. The town of Naples has several dog parks and you don’t need to be a resident to use them. Just bring your dog’s vaccination record and license to receive a tag, then enter at will and play all day.
I’ll Take Manhattan: The ultra-cool Benjamin hotel in NYC steps up its game to welcome dogs of all sizes – and their people. No weight limit here, so lab lovers and mastiff mommies take note. Rooms welcoming dogs feature their very own BarkBox full of toys and treats and a comfy bed and matching bowls. The Benjamin, home to Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s award-winning restaurant, The National, is known to keep guests well fed. Not wanting to leave Fido or Fluffy out of a proper New York City culinary experience, the hotel is now offering an in-room pet mini bar. This veterinarian-approved assortment of Biscuit Tins by Bocce’s Bakery serves up Beef Bourguignon (slow roasted Pat La Frieda beef with sweet carrots and parsley, just one of the flavors in the assortment) and Bowser Beer for in-room cocktail hour (a beefy non-alcoholic brown ale with glucosamine to promote healthy joints). They even have a 24-hour veterinarian available to answer burning questions, such as “Rover just ate a washcloth. What do I do?”
California Dreamin’: Wine country has gone to the dogs, and in the very best way. The Bardessono in Napa Valley welcomes pet lovers with eco-friendly amenities such as all-natural, lush PLAY beds fit to your pup’s size; house-made dog biscuits made by their Pasty Chef, Tedd Romero; and a bottle of Frenchie Wine from Raymond Vineyards. Earning a big lick on the face is the Bardessono’s policy that invites dogs of all sizes and breeds. While you’re there, visit Crocker and Starr Winery and pick up a copy of their Wine Dogs of California book. Now that’s a vacation read your dog can sink his teeth into.
by Amy Robinson