Five stars from Fido: Jet-setting dogs get ‘VIP’ treatment when travelling

One Vancouver hotel offers welcome mat, bowls of bottled water, menu with prime rib bones and gravy

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s canine ambassadors Ella (left) and Ellie. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Fairmont Vancouver)

When heading out on vacation, Bianca Kapteyn often had difficulty finding a hotel that would accommodate one special family member — her wheaten terrier, Otis.

Kapteyn couldn’t stand the thought of leaving Otis behind in Toronto, so she brought the dog along on her travels. But she said some hotels didn’t allow dogs, while others charged a fee for Otis to even be allowed in the room.

While Otis has since died, Kapteyn, who writes about dogs and society online, said she’s noticed a shift in the hospitality industry to offer four-legged guests the same five-star treatment as their owners.

“I think it’s more acceptable that dogs or companion animals are part of the family dynamic,” she said. “It is now a standard practice with most hotels that they will provide treats with the bed-turn service, designer water, bones, beds and also (assistance from) the concierge.”

Hotels across Canada are courting furry travellers by offering luxe amenities ranging from customized bedding, canine room service, pet-sitting and souvenirs from their stay.

READ MORE: Puppy, deemed ‘too friendly’ to be guide dog, becomes B.C. hotel greeter

Many Fairmont Hotels welcome pets for a fee of $50 per night, while owners may face extra charges for cleaning costs or violating policies about leaving pets unattended in the room.

At the chain’s Vancouver location, perks include a welcome mat in the room, bowls with bottled water, specialty treats, a brochure of pet-friendly activities and a special in-room menu featuring such delicacies as prime rib bones with gravy lacquer for $12.

The hotel even has a pair of Labradors, Ella and Ellie, who welcome humans and pets alike.

“We probably have, at one time, a dozen dogs in the hotel,” said Fairmont Gold Manager Darren Klingbeil, who attributed this wave of jet-setting pets to changes airlines have made to expedite pet travel, as well as the rise of emotional-support animals.

Emma Hutchinson, a sales ambassador at The Loden in Vancouver, said the city itself has become more pet-friendly with its walking paths, parks and increasing number of establishments that allow dogs.

“It’s like having a child,” said Hutchinson. “They just want their dog to be treated like a VIP.”

Hutchinson said the hotel’s staff aims to go above and beyond in greeting canine guests by name, which is also written on a door hanger as part of a welcome package with a dog lifestyle magazine and a Loden leash.

It faces stiff competition from the Opus Vancouver in Yaletown, which boasts a “Bow-Wow Butler” who can arrange grooming, nail trimming and even a cake from a local canine-centric bakery.

In Montreal, the Loews Hotel Vogue accepts both cats and dogs for a $25 fee, providing pet-sitting and walking services so guests can explore the city freely.

RELATED: Dog people sing more, cat people more talkative, new study finds

For more adventurous animals, there’s also Storeytown Cottages, about a one-hour drive southeast of Miramichi, N.B., where pooches can float down the river in a customized tube with an insert to protect against claw-induced punctures.

After a hike in Whistler, canine guests at the Four Seasons can lounge in customized beds, including one that offers orthopedic support, and others that are shaped like a pineapple or a tent. They can also mingle at the “patio kennel,” while their owners sip drinks nearby.

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New, compressed natural gas buses hit Greater Victoria streets

12 new buses hitting the road, with a total of 71 to join the fleet by the end of the summer

Scholarship launched to honour three men who died in Sooke River

Sooke School District award will be given annually to a student graduating from EMCS

Camosun College team working to turn Indigenous art into virtual reality

Expert team will scan Victoria Indigenous artist Carey Newman’s work The Witness Blanket

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5 million for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

Cherry Bomb Toys, which houses the National Toy Museum of Canada, has had a rough year

The property that’s home to Cherry Bomb Toys is listed at $2.6 million

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they’ll meet with ministers if RCMP get out

Federal minister in charge of Indigenous relations has proposed a meeting to diffuse blockades

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Maggie and Tim: A residential school survivor and her son who died on B.C. streets

Part one of a two-part series on a young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Most Read