The global pandemic's newest luxury traveler? Your pet
Hotels are rolling out the red carpet for a new breed of traveler: your new puppy.
Lockdowns, social distancing and new work-from-home arrangements have caused animal adoptions to soar across the United States. A new TD Ameritrade survey found that 33% of Americans — and half of millennials — have considered fostering or adopting a pet since the global outbreak.
Rescue centers and shelters have been cleared out, with many reporting more applications than there are animals to adopt.
Globally, online searches for "dog-friendly hotels" began trending upward in February, and they've more than doubled from 2019. Hotels are responding to the interest by openly courting owners with packages designed for pets.
Spa packages and special menus
Four-legged guests at The Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida can get blueberry facials, dead sea salt scrubs and milk thistle paw soaks at a local pet boutique.
That's in addition to a welcome box, daily dog-walking services, a 1-hour photo session (with up to 40 images), a 5-hour cruise on a yacht, and a $500 shopping spree, starting at $9,300 for a two-night stay.
Owners looking to spend less can opt for the hotel's basic pet package for a one-time $100 fee.
Guests at Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas, Texas can book "s-paw" pet services (from a local groomer) and receive "pupcakes" treats from Sprinkles bakery, a collapsible water bowl and a dog toy as part of the Crescent Canine package.
"Our biggest question wasn't 'why' we wanted to cater to pets, it was 'how,'" said Denise Mope, the hotel's director of sales and marketing. "We're incredibly proud of the Crescent Canines program as it offers the same level of detail and service to our guests' pets as we have provided to them for decades."
Outdoor adventures: hiking, camping and island hopping
Active pet owners and their dogs can look into the "Pines Pup Bucket List" at The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Guests receive maps with dog-friendly hiking routes and can record adventures from their dog's point-of-view through a rentable GoPro camera that attaches via a pet harness.
Both can cool down over "yappy hours" at pet-friendly restaurants and spa treatments back at the hotel, the latter which includes dog massages, baths and blow-outs.
Dogs receive their own rawhide bone during the "Pupdown Pillow Service" at bedtime as well as toys and curated menus during their stay. Before departing, they can memorialize their trip by leaving a paw print and photo in the hotel guest book.
Campers may want a little pet luxe too. Travelers who book one of over 70,000 pet-friendly RV resorts, cabins and other campsites available on Campspot, a booking platform with locations in 47 states and Ontario, Canada, receive discounts on luxury pet products from Paw.com.
The pet supply company can ship faux fur beds, waterproof throw blankets, car seat covers, cargo liners and other pet travel gear to campers' homes before the trip begins.
Not only do dogs receive freshly-caught fish for dinner at Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa, but they get their own reserved lounge chairs on the beach and the opportunity to paddleboard and kayak with their owners in the ocean.
Located on the Caribbean island of St. Barts, the hotel is scheduled to reopen on October 28. In 2019, it was named the 25th best resort in the world in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards.
Animal swag and souvenirs
At the Mountain Shadows Resort Scottsdale in Paradise Valley, Arizona, dogs are greeted by a welcome card and framed photo — of themselves — in the room. They leave with a cactus bandana and bag of locally-made apple and oats biscuits as part of the hotel's Pampered Pup Package.
Dogs are welcome at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, as are cats, hedgehogs, penguins and ostriches. The San Francisco-based group has hosted those animals, and more, under to its ultra-flexible pet policy.
Owned by Intercontinental Hotels Group, the boutique hotel brand operates 69 hotels around the world and provides pet bedding, food and water bowls, and homemade pet treats at no additional cost.
The latest perk? A Spotify pet playlist with 52 minutes of music to ease travel-weary animals. In January, the music service launched an entire website for users to make playlists based on their pets' personalities.
"Hotels have been first-to-market in providing pet amenities to attract guests, none more so than Kimpton," Mark Kushing, CEO of the Animal Policy Group and author of Pet Nation, told CNBC's Global Traveler. "Millennials and Gen Z have shown in survey after survey that they want to provide for their pets at the same level as themselves, particularly with health care."
Kimpton's concierge services can advise on pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers and stores, and the hotels provide dog walking and pet-sitting services. Some hotels have non-alcoholic doggie beer and employ a director of pet relations to greet animals when they arrive.
Utah's Waldorf Astoria Park City provides in-room bowls, beds and homemade treats for pet guests and partners with Nuzzles & Co., a local no-kill pet rescue organization, to allow guests to take local dogs to hike or swim during their stays.
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