Pet-friendly holiday options are nothing new – think camping sites and caravan parks – but now the luxury hotel market is stepping up to the plate (or doggie bowl, in this case).
Much more than simply ‘allowing’ or ‘tolerating’ pets, luxury digs are going above and beyond to make their guests’ furry friends feel welcome.
And it makes sense. We know that many doting pet owners, especially dog owners, spend an absolute fortune on their pampered pooches – shelling out for spa treatments, gourmet foods, speciality non-alcoholic wine, and even acupuncture treatments and pet psychologist therapy sessions – so it was only a matter of time before the hotel industry tapped into this market.
Veterinarian Dr Claude Stanislaus from Elanco Animal Health says he knows many dog owners who frequent pet-friendly luxury hotels.
“We know it is a growing trend that more and more households and families are treating their pets like kids. They’re part of the family and, just like any other member of the family, it is a given that they go on holidays with them, especially domestically.
“So hotels are trying to differentiate themselves to cater to people who really see their dogs as their ‘fur babies’,” Claude says.
Annika La Rad is one of these people. Her ‘fur baby’ is a Cavoodle named ‘Pebbles’.
“I’ve stayed with Pebbles at The Langham (Sydney) which was really nice and I’ve been to The Hughenden too,” she says.
“They’re very accommodating, they have a special welcome for the pet and there’s special food there and bowls and a dog bed … it’s really nice.”
Through her dog day care and boarding business Hound Health Annika also knows a lot of people who spend big bucks on pets.
“I know from personal experience that the amount people are willing to spend on their pets is huge – they really do treat them as children.”
So, for those with a pampered pooch (and a decent pay packet) these are some of Australia’s best inner city luxury hotels rolling out the red carpet for their guest’s canine companions.
PIER ONE SYDNEY HARBOUR
This stunning heritage hotel has 10 dog-friendly rooms, each with water views and direct access to Walsh Bay Pier so guests can easily take their fur babies for a stroll in the shadow of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Thanks to a partnership with Dogue the rooms are also stocked with luxury Dogue amenities and a Dogue minibar full of gourmet doggie treats. But if room service is more the dog’s style, in-room doggie dining dishes include fillet of grilled sea trout with broccolini, tender chicken thighs with carrots and ground short rib sauteed with fresh farm vegetables. But what if a guest’s special doggo wants to go to the restaurant for dinner? Not a problem. Dogs are also welcome in the outside area of The Gantry restaurant.
Brisbane’s very new and very bold hotel W Brisbane has welcomed pets through its doors since its opening in 2018. Their P.A.W. (Pets are Welcome) packages include a custom pet bed, toys, treats, food and water bowls, and a very cool ‘Pet In Room’ sign for the door. And while many pet-friendly hotels are limited to dogs only, cats can stay here too, with litter trays provided.
The only Hilton property that allows pets, Hilton Adelaide welcomes pooches to stay and lap up the hotel’s luxury in an allocated set of pet-friendly rooms. However, when it comes to public areas like the marble-lined lobby, outdoor pool, tennis court, and restaurant, it’s humans only. Luckily pet sitting services can be arranged through the concierge.
This boutique hotel in the heart of Surry Hills welcomes pets to stay in its ground floor rooms, with direct outside access for them to stretch their little legs and get some fresh air. The hotel also ensures pets “dine in style”, providing special fancy food and water bowls, as well as offering all natural dog treats made by Mimi & Munch. “Super soft” pet beds also guarantee a “ purrrfect night’s sleep”.
Dogs and cats are welcomed with open arms, and if you have a different little animal companion, a stay isn’t off the cards. Just call the hotel to see what can be arranged.
Dog-friendly rooms are available in every Australian Ovolo boutique-hotel, as part of a ‘V.I.Pooch’ package that welcomes multiple dogs per room and includes doggie beds, eating/drinking mats, food bowls, and a ‘Doggy Bag’ filled with snacks and specially-designed dog toys and treats. Canberra’s Ovolo Nishi, in the city’s arts and cultural district of NewActon, also doubles an art gallery, with exhibits overlooking Lake Burley Griffin, which coincidentally is a great place for walking dogs.
Sydney’s ultra ritzy The Langham lavishes pets with their ‘Pampered Pets Program’ that features a pet room service menu boasting ‘Lassie’s Favourite’ for the canines (beef steak with chunky vegetables) and ‘Meow Meow’ for the felines (grilled salmon with green beans, quail egg, tuna, potatoes, and olives). There’s also ‘Rawesome’, an Angus beef tartare dish. Pet-sitting and dog walking services are also available on request.
Part of Marriott’s Element brand of eco-conscious properties, Element Melbourne Richmond offers five pet-friendly rooms kitted out with sustainably crafted dog beds and a minibar stocked with doggie snacks. There’s even a ‘pet degustation’ menu including dishes like ‘The Good Dog’ (market fish with steamed carrot) and ‘The Quarter Hounder’ (pan-fried steak with green vegetables).
VIBE RUSHCUTTERS BAY
This Vibe hotel greets guests travelling with furry family members with an extra personal touch, penning welcome letters to not only the humans, but addressing a special one to the VIP (Very Important Pet), staying as well. And if the doggie biscuits and bones that come with the rooms aren’t fancy enough, the hotel’s restaurant, Storehouse on the Park, serves ‘Puppy’cinos, ‘Pawtein’ balls, sesame seed ‘pup’ wafers, and watermelon ‘chews’ as part of its ‘Dogustation’ menu, created by a dog nutritionist. Spoiled pooches can then work off their gourmet meals (eaten in the pet-friendly terrace) with a run in the adjacent Rushcutters Bay Park.
SPICERS BALFOUR HOTEL
This renovated iconic Queenslander in Brisbane’s trendy inner-city suburb of New Farm has allocated Suites 10 and 11 for guests wishing to bring their canine companions. ‘Pooch Packages’ start from $459 per night and include (as well the accommodation and breakfast) a plush dog bed with mattress, a dog lead with doggie bags attached, water and food bowl, a plush blanket and even a bone.
MERCURE DARWIN AIRPORT RESORT
Dogs love hanging out in the gardens and lapping up the tropical vibes by the pool and waterfall of this 4-star resort. A ‘ Pampered Pets Package’ includes accommodation in a pet-friendly room, a breakfast basket for not only two people, but for the pet, too, bedding, food and water bowls, and even a special surprise gift for the lucky pooch to take home.
ADINA ST KILDA
In Melbourne’s lively bohemian neighbourhood of St Kilda, and just a short walk from famous St Kilda beach is Adina St Kilda Melbourne. Pet-friendly apartment suites come with food and drink bowls, treats, chewable toys, and a map highlighting local dog-friendly parks and destinations. Right next door is Fitzrovia restaurant, where a doggie menu includes liver treats, pork ribs, and a $20 diced 200g scotch fillet steak.
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