Luxury Travel: The Pampered Pet

by Editorial

‘Pawdicures,’ ‘yappy’ hours and massages make traveling with furry friends easier for animal lovers.

By Alice Shapin

Photo courtesy Inn by the Sea

Photo courtesy The Inn by the Sea

We spoil them rotten — we buy them cute coats, toys and even arrange play dates. Yes, for many of us, our dog is a member of the family. And when it comes to traveling, we don’t want to leave them behind. Sure, there are kennels and pet sitters, which in the past were the only options. However, in recent years major chains, including ultra-luxury hotels, have not just been pet-friendly but have increasingly rolled out five-star amenities, including doggy treats, cushy beds, haute cuisine, “yappy” cocktail hours and even massages and facials.

The Inn by the Sea in Maine keeps upping the amenities offered to its canine guests. During the dog days of summer, pups enjoy complimentary ice cream, while their human companions are served cocktails. And during the last two weeks of October the pool goes to the dogs (and is off-limits to two-legged guests for the rest of the season). Canines get turn-down services, including locally handmade treats, and massage therapists trained in doggy massage are even available.

Sun, sand and surf lure guests to the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, Calif. If you’re on the beach, don’t be shocked to see a pooch surfing, an activity that goes for $80 a session.

When mommy and daddy golf, ski or enjoy spa treatments, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa in Pennsylvania, offers doggy daycare with its own fun activities. There’s intro to swimming, nature walks and of course “pawdicures” and blueberry facials. If you prefer, Fido can stay at the private-room, all-suite, Nemacolin Wooflands Pet Resort & Spa. They’ll love pet-themed movie night and cuddle time.

Photo courtesy Nemacolin

Photo courtesy Nemacolin Woodland Resort

Swooshing down the slopes of Colorado? The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch allows your four-legged family member onto the shuttle bus so you can shop together in Beaver Creek, and for exercise, the two of you can snowshoe or, in warmer weather, hike. When it comes to mealtime, there’s “Doggie Dining” — Bow Wow Tenderloin, a hearty meal of beef with eggs and brown rice, and Puppy Love, ground chicken breast and brown rice mixed with yogurt. All pet meals are served with Fiji Spring Water.

New York’s famous Magnolia Bakery may be where you head for a yummy cupcake, but don’t worry about your pooch if you’re staying at the Four Seasons Hotel. Pastry chef Jasmina Bojic creates peanut butter dog bone cookies that are certain to satisfy your pup. Need a dog walker or groomer? The concierge can help you with that.

Chrissy Cancelmo, from the Philadelphia area, who describes her family as dog crazy, says “there’s nothing like having them with us on vacation.” Cancelmo’s family brings Sunny, a 65-pound yellow Lab, and Casey, a 35-pound beagle, whenever they can. And Tim Mattos and his wife, Cheryl, traveled cross-country with Sherlock, their 8-year-old Jack Russel terrier. “Sherlock is a great traveler, much better than my wife,” he says with a laugh. Mattos, who is director of sales and marketing at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, adds “Pet owners are like parents. If they know that their dog barks or misbehaves, they don’t take it on vacation, most of them.”

Photo courtesy The Inn by the Sea.

Photo courtesy The Inn by the Sea.

Tips for Traveling with Your Four-Legged Family Member


  • Is the hotel/resort pet friendly (dogs and cats)?
  • How big can the pet be?
  • Is there a fee?
  • Must they be crated when in the room?
  • Will you be called if the pet is making noise?
  • What amenities do they provide for the pets and what is the cost?

Alice Shapin is an area freelance travel writer and a member of SATW (Society of American Travel Writers).

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