AARP Eye Center
Pet travel is booming in the U.S. About 70 percent of Americans now own a pet, and 38 percent of 59-to 77-year-old pet owners have stayed at a pet-friendly hotel with their dog, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
It’s not surprising that the hotel industry is embracing pet-friendly travel with tail-wagging enthusiasm. About 75 percent of hotels in the U.S. now welcome these four-legged companions, up from 50 percent in 2006, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. And they are pushing the envelope with over-the-top perks, such as welcome baskets, room service, “yappy” hours and dedicated play areas.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
But only a rare breed stands out from the crowd. We sniffed out some of the most luxurious woof-worthy amenities and services offered by hotels that take poochie pampering to a new level.
Conrad Washington, D.C.
Leading the pack for extravagance is the Lab of Luxury package at the Conrad Washington, D.C., a 360-room modern property in the heart of downtown. For a cool $5,999 for a two-night stay ($500 goes to the Humane Society), Fido gets an Hermès pet collar and leash, a Tiffany & Co. water bowl, house-made gourmet treats, a pet photo session and an afternoon picnic with car service on a tour of three dog-friendly wineries in Northern Virginia.
What’s nearby: Walk your dog in leafy bench-dotted Franklin Park, downtown’s largest green space.
Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile, Kanab, Utah
There’s pet friendly, and then there’s pet-centric. This rustic rural hotel welcomes up to four — count ’em — pets per room for free with no weight or breed restrictions. The 40-room property, festooned with animal artwork, is top dog for creature comforts: two plush doggie beds, a built-in cubby and a pull-out trundle. Pups can romp in two fenced-in pet parks, one with a splash zone, and clean up in washing stations with free grooming products. A clever two-door entry system ensures door dashers don’t dart out of the rooms. Felines feel welcome too thanks to the in-room cat trees. Not traveling with a pet? You can arrange animal sleepovers with a dog, cat or rabbit from the nearby Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (snuggle bunny, anyone?).
What’s nearby: Pets are welcome in the public areas and walking trails of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest of its kind in the country, 6 miles from the hotel.