It’s summer and you’ve packed your bags for that luxurious getaway you so desperately need when you notice your four-legged family member sitting loyally at your side. Rather than leaving your precious pooch with a pet-sitter while you indulge in a Five-Star vacation, bring him along for the pampering. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors have found five luxury hotels that encourage guests to bring the whole family — including the ones with paws. From special “Furry Friends” room service menus to personalized door signs, these properties have a certain animal attraction that we simply can’t resist.
Dogs have served as muses for country singers since the days of Elvis Presley and Hank Williams, so it’s no surprise that they’re welcomed with open arms at Nashville’s Hutton Hotel. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel has given dogs (and cats) the royal treatment since it first opened in February 2009. Pets are given special amenities including comfortable bedding, food and water bowls, an organic in-room snack menu, treats and plenty of opportunities to socialize with hotel staff and guests through complimentary dog walking. In fact, the concierge team is so well-versed in the best local grooming, boarding and veterinary services that each member also carries the title of “Critter Concierge.”
To secure a room on the pet-friendly fifth and sixth floors, you’ll have to pay a one-time, $50 pet fee (per room, not per animal). Should Fido get a bit restless and express his disdain by barking while you’re out exploring Music City, the staff will contact you to let you know—and, if he just needs a belly rub or ear scratch, they’ll even offer to keep an eye on him in the front office so he doesn’t get lonely.
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Ojai, Calif.
There’s plenty for pet owners to like about at Four-Star Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, starting with its generous pet policy. Guests are welcome to bring their dogs and cats to the hotel, but more exotic pets are permitted, too—recent non-human guests have included a parrot and even a pot-bellied pig. Since dogs are the most common animals that guests bring along, they receive the most amenities. A personalized sign bearing the animal’s name is provided at check-in for guests to hang outside the door, and the friendly staff also take pride in providing all the necessary items to make your pet’s stay comfortable, including a food bowl, nightly turndown with a chew toy and tasty housemade dog biscuits from the pastry kitchen.
When it’s time for supper, pet owners can order a full doggy dinner from the “Furry Friends Menu.” Each meal includes one protein selection (hard-boiled eggs, salmon, chopped chicken or burger patty) and two sides (rice, peas, oatmeal, cottage cheese, chopped pineapple or sliced apple), with an option to add an extra dog biscuit for dessert. Guests are also welcome to bring their dogs along to a meal in the outdoor dining areas at Jimmy’s Pub or Oak Grill.
Once a month, the resort also offers special programming with the nearby Canine & Equine Ranch, a nonprofit organization that coordinates canine mixers for guests of Ojai. Dates for the free mixer (a $20 donation to the organization is suggested) vary from month to month, so inquire about this event when you book your reservation. Pet fees start at $150 for the first animal and $50 for the second, with a two-animal limit per room.
The Inn at Willow Grove, Orange, Va.
The new Overlook Cottage, which opened this May at the luxurious Inn at Willow Grove, features three deluxe suites where dogs will feel right at home. A welcome basket filled with treats, bags for curbing and a customized door sign bearing your pooch’s name are just the first extra-special amenities that guests with pets will notice. The reservation team will also provide your dog’s favorite food upon request at check-in (simply let the reservation specialist know what brand your pup usually eats), and inside the suites, stylish hypoallergenic dog beds await your furry friend for a much-deserved nap after a day of traveling. At turndown, Fido will be especially happy to hit the lights when he sniffs the organic dog treat left on his pillow.
The luxury hotel — which is located an hour away from Charlottesville — even welcomes dogs at its Vintage restaurant, where owners can order food for their pets to enjoy on the patio dining area. Or, if you’d rather curl up for a movie in the suite (we suggest films like Old Yeller or My Dog Skip), place an order for a custom room-service meal made with ingredients your dog is already accustomed to eating at home. The meal, which will be created by executive chef Jason Daniels, will be delivered with care by your butler. Be prepared for your arrival by packing a current copy of your dog’s rabies vaccination. The front desk will also collect any details about the dog’s medical history and allergies, as well as a $65 fee per pet, per day (up to two are allowed per suite).
The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin, Nantucket, Mass.
While many public access beaches in Nantucket welcome pets, the same can’t be said for all of the popular vacation town’s hotels. That’s where The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin and its 12 dedicated “Woof Cottages” come into play. Spread across Swain’s Wharf and Straight Wharf in Nantucket, these special pet-friendly cottages open their doors to dogs and cats throughout the property’s season (mid-April through October). Pets are given a special collar tag bearing both the animal’s name and the hotel’s address and phone number, a squeaky lobster (this is New England, after all), a bag of gourmet dog treats and bags to help owners keep the area surrounding their cottage nice and tidy (cat owners are given a litter box for their cottage). Dogs are also permitted to hop on the hotel’s complimentary beach shuttle.
The pet fee is $60 per animal for up to three nights, $75 for four nights or more; the hotel donates 10 percent of its pet fee proceeds to the Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals. You’ll definitely want to stay for more than one night, though, so your furry friend can experience the special “Doggy Turndown” service on your second night. The service comes with a host of fun treats, including a collapsible water bowl, a water bottle, a tennis ball, a rawhide chew toy and a voucher that can be exchanged for a complimentary photo, which will be framed and given to you on the spot.
The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, Berkeley, Calif.
Like their owners, dogs come in all shapes and sizes; that’s why Four-Star The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, located just 12 miles from San Francisco, had dogs’ appetites in mind when it developed the “Pawfect” menu. The in-room dining options, which are part of the “Furr-iendly Sensational Package” that the Berkeley hotel launched in May 2013, come in three sizes: Tinkerbell, Lassie and Scooby-Doo.
The package includes one complimentary meal for your dog (options range from fruit and yogurt or eggs with salmon for breakfast, to grilled chicken with green beans and carrots, grilled chicken liver burger or grilled beef with sweet potatoes and spinach for lunch or dinner); two feeding bowls; a list of local restaurants, parks, pet sitters and groomers; and two special housemade doggy treats, which are prepared in the hotel’s pastry kitchen with the same local ingredients that go into the mouthwatering entrées at Four-Star Meritage at the Claremont restaurant.
Throw in a network of outdoor walking grounds, public areas and a garden where dogs are welcome to bask in the California sunlight, and it’s safe to say that your dog will have his day at this luxury hotel. The fee for bringing a pet along to The Claremont is $99 per pet, per stay, and dogs of all sizes and breeds are welcome.
Photos Courtesy of Nantucket Islands Resort, Ojai Valley Inn and Spa and The Claremont Hotel Club and Spa