WakeandWander, Contributing Editor:
"There’s a big difference between bringing your dog on vacation and taking your dog on vacation. All along I thought vacations were for humans – you know, us people who have jobs and responsibilities to escape. I can see a family wanting to bring its dog on vacation to the mountains. That makes sense, and for that reason dog-friendly hotels should exist. BUT, doggie welcome notes? Truffle Mac & Cheese flavored dog treats? Dog robes? Doggie soap on a rope? Are you kidding? Will someone please tell me what about a dog’s life is so stressful that this makes sense? Do people really give their dog a bath in the hotel room? Don’t even get me started on doggie treadmills, perhaps the most asinine concept of them all.
Why don’t we all just admit it: These perks are more for the owners than they are the dogs. Does the dog really appreciate the difference between Chicken Cordon Bleu flavored treats and regular old chicken? NO. And that’s what really bothers me. Not the fact that owners want to bring their dogs, not the fact that often times they don’t clean the rooms properly afterwards, not the fact that dogs often disturb other guests. It’s the charade of it all that drives me wild. We pretend like all that pampering makes a difference to the dog. For me, it boils down to the purpose of travel. You’re supposed to be OUT THERE experiencing a destination or pampering YOURSELF, not applying “pawducts” to your dog. Just saying."
Meanwhile, HC Contributor Suzanne Steinert feels just the opposite.
She thinks her model yellow Lab would lap up all of this luxury. Here’s her feelings on why Wake should take a canine chill-pill.
"Oookay, okay. Let me throw you a bone to chew on here, Wakey boy. (And lemme guess, you're more of a cat guy, am I right?).
Meet my family dog, Willie (pictured above). He's a year and a half old purebred yellow Lab, and my parents spoil him so much (note the pile of toys) that my sister actually refers to him as "our brother". I can personally attest that he loves riding shotgun in the new Lexus just as much as a good ol' fashioned mudbath or gnawing on a frozen turd. As you can see, he's also a ham for the cameras.
Most importantly, he's a regular at the local animals-only "pet resort & day spa" -- where he has a blast splashing around the doggie pond fountain and curling up in the small kiddie bed in his "penthouse suite." (How do I know? The staff emails us videos). As for the "natural skylight," "fresh linens," and "full-service housekeeping" provided…yeah. I'm not as sure he notices those.
Anyway, sure, this whole (very unapologetically first-world) "charade" seems ridiculous: "Pawducts"?! Gawd, am I with ya there. Truffle flavored biscuits? Definitely OTT.
On a basic level, though, I do think it's great hotels are going the extra pet-friendly mile, especially when the pampering serves a purpose. Like how my stepdad spritzes Willie with a dash of his Ralph Lauren cologne after a bath (to mask the wet dog smell). Or the Affinia Manhattan's puppy stairs, which I think could also come in handy for older dogs with bad hips.
And I disagree with you that it's more about we humans than our dogs. It's about both. Yes, many pet-lovers live vicariously through their pups, occasionally to the point of delusion (seriously, I think my parents are prouder of Willie's straight A's in obedience school than of my college degree). As for the chicken cordon bleu and doggie treadmills? Hey, dogs love people food--period. Just like I love White Castles, straight from the box or on a silver platter (get the comparison?). And whenever I run on the treadmill at home, Willie tries to jump on, too. It's really just about man and man's best friend. Traveling and hotel-staying, together, and in style.
I say, for all the luxury hotel-loving pet owners out there, as long as your animals are happy and feeling loved, you can have your biscuits and (dog show) circus!"
So who wins this "Fight Over Pampered Fidos?" Who do you side with? Let us know!
[Photos: Getty Images/Suzanne Steinert for HotelChatter]