few four-legged guests enjoy their room June 3,
2014 at Stay Pet Resort in Hanover, Md. Luxury pet
boarding is becoming a popular option for people
who don't want to leave their dogs at a more
means warm beaches, breezy campgrounds, posh spas ó a
break from daily stress and a great way to unwind and
leave our cares behind.
you have a pet.
or Fluffy, beloved as they are, can throw a wrench into
the best-laid vacation plans. Few of us want to leave
our pets in a traditional kennelís cages for days or
weeks at a time, and traveling with them can be
difficult, if not impossible.
thatís changing as more people are taking pets with
them or finding whatís been deemed "luxury
boarding," which turns the traditional kennel on
its ear with accommodations that mimic home or even a
fancy hotel for humans.
Miller, owner of Stay Pet Resort in Hanover, Md., says
she opened her boarding business when she couldnít
find a kennel she liked for her dog.
has changed with the way the world has changed how it
accepts dogs," she says. "Dogs and pets are
part of the family, and they do everything with us. The
days when dogs were out in the backyard in a doghouse
are long gone."
modeled her boarding facility after a hotel, offering
amenities that rival those of first-class resorts: Dogs
get king-sized beds, flat-screen televisions, a garden
area and webcams in their rooms; owners are given codes
to tune in and watch their pets anytime online.
dog has a suite where it sleeps and eats, but most
choose to play outside. "The owners donít see
much," Miller acknowledges, "because the dogs
are out playing the whole day. Thatís what we
start at $55 per night for a luxury suite and $95 per
night for a private villa. The pet resort can
accommodate 100 animals at a time, and it offers
sanitation and cleaning that Miller modeled after
hospital procedures. Stay is also a 24/7 facility, which
Miller says has been key: People donít want to leave
their pets for a minute longer than necessary, and they
want to pick them up the second they return from their
tapped into an underserved market," she says.
"People were really looking for this, but they didnít
really know what they were looking for."
says the proof that luxury boarding works is evident
when a dog ownerís vacation is over and itís time to
pick up the pet.
dog will never lie," she says. "We have many
clients whose dogs will greet them in the lobby, and
then turn around and run back down the hall to play some
more. Weíve had dogs who had to be practically dragged
to their cars. That to me is a benchmark that this
boarders have stepped up their game, many vacationers
prefer to take their pets with them, a trends that
experts say is growing quickly.
recent survey by Petplan pet insurance found that 80
percent of respondents planned to travel with their pets
this year ó up from 10 percent from 2012. (Another
finding: 53 percent of people surveyed would rather
vacation with their pets than their human partners.)
Thirty percent said they planned to take their pets with
them while visiting relatives.
hotel industry, keen to the trend, is making efforts to
go beyond simple "pet friendly," knowing that
for pet owners, the friendlier, the better.
Baltimore, the Hotel Monaco welcomes dogs and cats with
you call, our reservationist gathers information about
your pet," says Joe Pagone, the hotelís general
manager. "Pets checking in are welcomed by name,
just like their people."
the Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton hotel, reserves several
floors for guests traveling without pets and those with
allergies, dogs and cats are welcome throughout the rest
of the property. They sleep in hotel-provided plush pet
beds, eat from complimentary bowls, and enjoy free
treats at check-in and during the propertyís daily
complimentary wine reception, to which pets are invited.
traveling with pets are also given door hangers for
their rooms to let staff know thereís an animal
inside, complimentary bags for walking, lists of
pet-friendly restaurants and attractions nearby, and the
Pet Times newspaper, which includes tips for area parks
for walking or playing.
try to make it fun for everyone," says Pagone, who
says hotel employees are encouraged to bring pets to
work if they want to keep an eye on them instead of
leaving them at home all day. The hotel has also
partnered with several local dog-sitting services to
offer daycare for travelers whose daily adventures might
not be pet-friendly ó on a hot day, for example.
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a few of our visitors bring pets," he says.
"They bring them for weekends and when theyíre
traveling during the week. Itís hard to go away for
pet owners. Boarding dogs is expensive, and nobody wants
to board a member of their family."
are welcomed at no extra charge at the Hotel Monaco,
says Pagone. "Itís fun and exciting," he
says. "Pets are an extension of our guestsí
isnít the only hotel chain offering pet-friendly
vacations. In Atlantic City, N.J., Harrahís Resort
Regional President Rick Mazer says the chainís PetStay
program has become one of its most popular amenities.
available at many of the companyís Las Vegas resorts
and now in Atlantic City, offers a check-in area for
dogs and an in-room package that includes bowls, treats,
a room door hanger, a mat for napping and a crate.
been amazingly well-received," he says. "Itís
amazing that in Las Vegas, where many people come by
plane, itís been very popular." The Flamingo,
which was the programís debut property, doubled its
pet-friendly rooms twice because of high demand.
no doubt that our society loves its pets," Mazer
says. "We love our dogs and we love our cats.
Accommodating them is something weíre doing more and