Sue, a Border Collie, enjoys the Presidential
Suite on May 21, 2015 at the Posh Pet Hotel in
West Palm Beach, Fla.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Soft music plays in the lobby as
guests check in at the front desk. Chandeliers dangle
from the ceilings of suites, where visitors lounge on
memory-foam beds and watch cable on flat-screen TVs.
Blueberry facials, Brazilian waxes and aromatherapy
baths are among the treatments available in the gleaming
new, 130-room Palm Beach County resort was designed to
feel like the Breakers or the Four Seasons, with one key
difference: It’s for cats and dogs. Called the Posh
Pet Hotel, it provides pampered pets amenities and
services similar to those enjoyed by their two-legged
best friends, bringing a new meaning to being "in
the dog house."
are like, ‘Wow, I would stay here,’" said owner
Lincoln Baker. "People literally want to stay
hotel, opened in April in West Palm Beach, joins a
handful of others in South Florida that offer super-luxe
accommodations for cats and dogs. Forget chain-link
fences or long stays inside a kennel — dogs that shack
up in these digs get treated to oversized suites and
hours of entertainment, whether they’re there for
doggie day care or overnight stays.
pools with water fountains are among the offerings at
the Lauderdale Pet Lodge, in Fort Lauderdale. A fitness
center with personal trainers who "offer expertise
and assist guests with achieving their goals" is
one of the features at Pompano Beach’s Chateau Poochie.
And rooms with private patios are available at Lake
Worth-based Barkers Hotel & Parrington Inn.
the country, people are spending more and more on their
pets. Last year, more than $58 billion went toward food,
veterinary care, boarding and other expenses in the
U.S., according to research by the American Pet Products
Association. This year, it’s expected to surpass $60
people are so willing to splurge is a reflection of
changing attitudes toward pets, said Carmen Rustenbeck,
CEO of the International Boarding and Pet Services
have gone "from the backyard into the doghouse,
from the doghouse into the house and into the
family," she said.
now have birthday parties, costume parties and even
really sort of incorporated these pets into our lives,
and the more human characteristics we give them, the
more we want them to be treated the way we want to be
treated ourselves," said Rustenbeck, of Colorado
Springs, Colo. "When we look for a room for
ourselves, we look for the best we can afford. So now we
do the same with our pets."
Petris, who takes her 2-year-old Maltese, Maximus, to
the Posh Pet Hotel for doggie day care a few times a
week, explained the phenomenon like this: With her two
kids grown, the little white pooch is now her
"baby." He rules her West Palm Beach house,
and when she isn’t at home, she wants someone to look
are the new kids," Petris said with a laugh.
"What can I say?"
designing the 13,000-square-foot Posh Pet Hotel, Baker
tried to think of everything a pet parent might want.
Need a driver to pick up Fido or Fluffy? No problem —
the hotel will send a Maserati, Bentley or Cadillac
to treat him to something besides kibbles and bits? You’ll
find filet mignon, chicken and salmon on the menu.
despite the glamorous add-ons, Baker said the rates are
set at a range meant to be friendly to all budgets.
care, which includes constant supervision by the Posh
staff, costs $35 a day. Room rates range from $49
nightly for the classic suite, an orthopedic bed in a
cubby-like space, to the $120-per-night presidential
suite, the "wow room" that features a
queen-sized bed, chandelier and complimentary belly rubs
and bedtime stories.
like how you can get a cheeseburger or a filet
mignon," Baker said.
rooms come with daily sheet changes, and all dogs spend
their days outside their rooms. They romp around with
other guests and hotel staff in the indoor play areas,
with frequent trips to the absorbent, AstroTurf-lined
a Direct TV channel, plays on the 65 flat-screens
throughout the place, showing movies including Disney’s
"Lady and the Tramp" and "101
cats, there’s Catlantis, a room full of multi-level
"cat condos" overlooking a fish tank. It has
an attached play area, Cat Cay, with towers for cats to
climb on. Rates are $36 for a classic suite and $40 for
a luxury one.
facility is staffed around-the-clock, often by Baker
himself, a dog lover who moved from California to Palm
Beach County to open Posh Pet Hotel with his wife. At
night, he reads to the dogs and takes them out for
really love their animals — they’re like
family," Baker said. "We treat them like
do all the extra perks, from spa treatments to oversized
rooms, actually matter to the pets?
know, that’s an excellent question," said KC
Theisen, director of pet care issues for the Humane
Society of the United States. "And it’s certainly
something that pet families should think about before
they make an investment. … The best path is to put
your pets’ well-being at the front of your mind."
Laaman, president of Outstanding Pet Care, an
organization that consults with pet care providers, said
her clients have found major benefits in two areas:
"The more interaction and activity that a pet
receives, the happier and the healthier they are,"
true for Benson, an 11-month-old Bouvier des Flandres,
according to his owner, Amy Sinnott. He spent a few days
at the Posh Pet Hotel while she was in Washington, D.C.,
and she found that the extra attention made a
was better behaved when I picked him up than when I
dropped him off," said Sinnott, a police officer in
West Palm Beach. "And I didn’t have any of those
add-ons like additional training."
long after, Benson checked into the hotel for the
weekend while Sinnott was in Miami, and "he didn’t
mind one bit going back," she said, adding, "I
wouldn’t mind staying there myself."
the day and night, owners can check in on their pets
from afar using webcams accessible on their computers or
keeps the video feed going on her laptop at the West
Palm Beach body shop she and her husband run, Nickee’s
Automotive Center. Customers who are used to seeing her
2-year-old Maximus there watch him running around on
tease Petris. But she said she wants Maximus to have the
opportunity to socialize with other dogs. She said she’s
noticed he has even made friends. And he and her son’s
dog, Zeus, who go together, enjoy it — as far as she
soon as we open the door," she said, "they’re
barking and excited."