Hotels

Traveling with your pet?

Where to stay and play with your pup on National Dog Day

No bones about it. People love their pets and want to take them along when it comes time to travel.

That’s why so many hotels now offer pet-friendly guestrooms and are joining breweries, restaurants and other attractions to offer special packages and pup-themed parties open to all to celebrate National Dog Day on August 26.

Some events include freebies, discounts, activities and treats for pups and their people. Others will pass along donations to local animal shelters as well.

Here’s a round-up of some of the events I put together recently for CNBC:

Puppies and Prosecco in Colorado

The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver is offering an in-room puppy-palooza as part of its Puppies + Prosecco Package August 23 – 26.

Guests who book the package will have 6-10 adoptable puppies delivered to their room, along with Prosecco and Italian nibbles from the Panzano restaurant. A Lifeline Puppy Rescue expert comes along to answer questions and take care of the puppies and 50% of each booking will be donated to the shelter. (Package price: Best Flexible Rate for Luxury Suite + $50; call 800-990-1303 to book).

All Mile High City dogs & their owners are also invited to celebrate National Dog Day at Denver Union Station, which is holding a free National Dog Day Yappy Hour in the Great Hall on Monday, Aug; 26th from 4 to 7 p.m. with dog-friendly vendors and treats.

On National Dog Day, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek will be waiving its usual $150 pet fee and kicking off a pet-friendly package that include dog beds, food and water dishes, house-baked treats and a list of local hikes and dog-friendly dining options.

New York pup parties

In Brooklyn, New York, the William Vale will be offering 10% off room rates for all stays between August 23rd – 26th, 2019 and donating 10% of all proceeds to Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue. Canine customers will receive dog biscuits from District Dog, a bowtie from Hiro + Wolf and a toy from Wild One.

On August 25, the William Vale is also hosting a Tea Party and Dog Day Show, with categories such as best rescue, waggiest tail and best in show. Tickets: $25 per person (and dog) with $5 per ticket donated to the animal rescue as well.

On National Dog Day, August 26, pet portraitist Ben Lenovitz will be on site at the Moxy Times Square to create custom pet portraits. Portrait fees start at $80 and 50% of the proceeds will benefit pups at Muddy Paws Rescues.

Raise a pint with your pup

In Columbus, Ohio, the BrewDog Brewery has a full day of pet-friendly fun planned for National Dog Day on August 26.

A puppy pool party will feature craft beer for dogs, free doggie cupcakes for the first 100 pups to arrive, a make-your-own dog bow-tie class, and a dog agility competition. A groomer will be on site for free training and quick nail treatments as well.

The brewery is also offering “Supper with your Pupper,” a $25, 2-course meal that includes a a choice of menu items for humans and a dog beer and a pupcake for canine companions.

Virginia is for dog lovers

The Alexandrian, in the Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia will host a special National Dog Day event in the hotel’s courtyard on August 26 with a “Smooch a Pooch” kissing booth encouraging pup adoptions from Project Second Chance animal rescue.

The event will also feature pop-up dog training demonstration, games and treats for pups and their people, a prize wheel and watercolor pet portraits for purchase with 25% of the proceeds going to the animal rescue.

Cocktails with your canine

Guests who dine with their pups on the terrace of ADDiKT, the restaurant on the 15th floor of the W Miami, will receive one complimentary signature cocktail as well as complimentary dog treats on Monday, August 26th. The hotel is also offering a special Doggie City Guide at check-in that lists Miami’s top dog parks and pet-friendly restaurant hotspots.

Yappy Hours 

In Idaho, Hotel Ketchum will be offering complimentary upgrades for dogs (and their owners) on National Dog Day and donating 100% of all pet fees collected to its animal rescue partner, Mountain Humane. The hotel will also be hosting a Yappy Hour from 4-6pm with beer/wine for humans and treats for dogs.

The Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, CA will host its National Dog Day Yappy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m. on August 26 in the resort’s waterfront A&O Kitchen+Bar. Fido-themed cocktails for humans will be featured, along with tasty treats for pups, with a percentage of all sales to be donated to the local Newport Beach Animal Shelter.

And the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia is having its annual National Dog Day pup-fest on August 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event features free dog washes, caricatures, a photo booth and treats from Big Gay Ice Cream. The hotel’s Red Owl Taven will have a dog-themed happy hour on the patio with drink and snack specials, such as Hush Puppies and Greyhounds. The hotel’s shelter partner, Lulu’s Rescue, will be on site with adoptable pups.

Bonus tips for traveling with your pet year-round

Of course, National Dog Day isn’t the only time of year many hotels welcome guests to come by with their pets. Pet-friendly hotels welcome well-behaved dogs (and other animals) year-round, if pet owners observe some basic pet etiquette.

“Call in advance,” says Jorge Gonzalez, general manager of the Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, “Request a guest room on the lowest floor or near an elevator for quick bathroom break access. And only travel with your furry companion if he or she is housebroken.”

Gonzalez also reminds guests checking into a hotel with pets to be mindful of other guest by keeping pets leashed and not leaving a pet locked in a guest room alone.

Out of respect to other guests that may have to listen to a lonely dog bark, cry or howl, “Take them with you to explore the city,” said Gonzalez.

Do you sleep well at hotels on the road?

Can you get a good night’s sleep in a hotel?

If you travel for business or pleasure, you likely spend a few – or many – nights at hotels. And, like many travelers, no doubt you are more loyal to one brand over others.

Free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and a generous points program towards free night stays may be important to you. But, according to the just-released J.D. Power 2019 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index, what hotels really need to focus on are the quality of the beds.

The study found that while sleep quality is one of the most important components of a hotel guest experience, most hotels don’t deliver better-than-expected sleeping conditions.

“Delivering a superior sleep experience—from the quality of the bed, linens and pillows to the ambient sound and temperature of the room—is a huge opportunity for hotels to differentiate themselves from the pack and earn significant goodwill with guests,” said Jennifer Corwin, Senior Manager of Consumer Insights for Travel & Hospitality Intelligence at J.D. Power.

Here are some key findings of the 2019 study:

  • More zzzs, please: Overall satisfaction scores increase 114 points (on a 1,000-point scale) when hotel guests experience a better-than-expected quality of sleep.
  • The anatomy of a good night’s sleep: The top contributors to quality of sleep and, therefore, higher satisfaction scores, are comfort of bed; quietness of room; comfort/quality of pillows; room temperature; and comfort/quality of linens.
  • Satisfaction is higher when hotels offer extras such as such as white noise/sound machines, earplugs and robe/slippers.
  • Quality of sleep vs. the price of room: No surprise, really: the highest rate of better-than-expected sleep quality is in the luxury hotel segment.

The hotels guests love

These hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:

Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (for a fifth consecutive year)
Upper Upscale: Hard Rock Hotel
Upscale: Best Western Premier
Upper Midscale: Drury Hotels (for a 14th consecutive year)
Midscale: Wingate by Wyndham (for a fifth consecutive year)
Economy: Microtel by Wyndham (for a second consecutive year)

Is there a hotel or hotel brand where you sleep like a baby?

Let us know by leaving a comment below. And let us know if you travel with a sleep aid such as ear plugs, a favorite pillow or, perhaps, a stuffed animal.

Apollo 11 adventures

Hotels lure Moon-landing anniversary fans with Tang-tinged cocktails, Moon Melt massages, moonlight yoga and more

July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing and the first time human beings walked on the moon.

Celebrations and special events are taking place around the country – and in a story for Travel & Leisure – I rounded up some hotels joining in with special packages and Moon-themed experiences.

Here are some of the lunar-lodging packages from that list.

In Washington D.C., where the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with special exhibits and events from July 16-20, the legendary Watergate Hotel is offering a $4,000 a night Glamping in the Moonlight package from July 16- 24.

The Watergate package includes a one-night stay on the Top of the Gate rooftop bar in a Glamping Globe outfitted by Terra Glamping, a nightcap with Tang cocktails, s’mores and a house-made moon pie; a moonlit yoga class; the opportunity to name a star; sunrise breakfast, souvenir map of the constellations on July 20, 1969; and access to a top-floor suite. (To book, call: (855) 290-6832)

Dark side of the Moon cocktail

In Seattle, the NASA Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, and other artifacts from the Smithsonian’s Institution’s Destination Moon exhibit are on view through September 2 at the Museum of Flight. To celebrate, guests at the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Seattle will receive space-themed amenities, key cards and Moon-themed space toys, while guests at the Hyatt Regency Seattle will be greeted by a 20-foot-tall inflatable astronaut in the lobby. Both hotels have Apollo-11 themed cocktails as well.

Space Coast check-in

Along Florida’s Space Coast there are a long list of special exhibits and events at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at Merritt Island; an Astronaut Walking Pub Crawl on July 12 in Cocoa Village and, on July 13, an Astronaut Parade in Cocoa Beach and a free concert at Riverside Park at Cocoa Village. To celebrate, guests booking the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing package at the Quality Inn & Suites Cocoa Beach July 11-14 will receive commemorative t-shirts.

No problems in Houston

This Lunar Roving Vehicle trainer prepared astronauts for traversing the lunar landscape. Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston.

In Houston, home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, a host of hotels are offering moon-themed packages as well.

The most over the top is being offered by the Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston. The two-night, three-day package costs $10,000 and includes a round-trip private helicopter ride between the hotel and Ellington Field; a private lunch and guided tour of the Johnson Space Center with an astronaut; $300 food and beverage credit at the hotel and Grounding Ritual treatments at the hotel’s spa.

The “Love You to the Moon & Back” package at the Hotel Derek, includes a moon-inspired welcome cocktail, specially created moon chocolates, personalized horoscope, breakfast in bed and complimentary valet parking (Available July 1-31, Rates start at $189 on weekends, $259 midweek). 

During July, Houston’s Hotel Alessandra is offering a weekend package that includes an overnight stay, freeze dried ice cream, a NASA Archives coffee table book plus $50 food and beverage credit in the space-shuttle inspired Lucienne restaurant or chic Bardot lounge. (Rates start at $434).

At the space-themed Marriott Marquis Houston, July’s Mission to the Moon package includes a Moon Melt Massage and a $50 resort credit, which you might use towards one of the special “Over the Moon” cocktails. (Rates start at $454).

The Visit Houston website lists lots more Space City Month events and hotel packages as well tips finding cosmic cocktails like the Space City Sour at the Bayou & Bottle bar the Four Seasons Hotel – Houston that features a far out image of a man on the moon etched on the surface of the cocktail.

Harriet’s Hotel Stay: Woodlark in Portland, OR

I’m a fan of the growing portfolio of boutique hotels owned and managed by Provenance Hotels. They first won my heart when they enhanced and improved, rather than erased and replaced, a hotel I had a sentimental attachment to: Portland’s Mallory Hotel, which is now Hotel deLuxe

Now, each time I visit one of their new properties, I’m pay close attention to how creatively and responsibly they redo vintage spaces and create new places that feel as if they’ve been welcoming guests for years.

The still-new Woodlark in Portland (open since mid-December 2018) is no exception.

As with the larger Sentinel a few blocks away, the Woodlark blends two historic downtown buildings. This time it is the former Cornelius Hotel and the Woodlark Building, which have become a 150-room retro-modern hotel that feels as if it’s always been right here.

As a nice touch, they’ve even reclaimed the Cornelius Hotel’s original slogan: “House of Welcome.’

The hotel has 11 different room variations – from standard rooms that measure 230-260 square feet to a 415-square-foot loft suite with a spiral staircase. Each room has custom-designed furnishings, natural wood and specially-created wallpaper featuring flora found in Portland’s Forrest Park. 

As a bonus, each room also has a framed botanical print by noted photographer Imogen Cunningham, who was born in Portland.

Besides the plush bath robes and the MiN bath amenities, some of the in-room touches I appreciate at this hotel include bedside tables with multiple integrated charging options, a nice bluetooth speaker, and coupons to swap for strong drip coffee at the comfortable Good Coffee café in the lobby.

Down in the fitness center, I tested out the new gadget that streams fitness programs – from a mirror.

The lobby features a display case with custom flower arrangements from floral design studio, Colibri; the charming 40-seat Abigail Hall bar that’s tucked into a space that once housed the library and Ladies Reception Hall of the Cornelius Hotel; and the Bullard restaurant, which is billed as a place where “Texas hospitality and Oregon’s bountiful food landscape meet.”

If you go: room rates range from $155/ night in low season to $255/night in high season, not including city taxes and the hotel’s nightly facility fee of $27.67.

Travel Tidbits: deals on museums, NY hotels and trains

Happy Friday – Here are some travel tidbits about free museum admissions, deals on hotels in NYC, changes for Eurail ticketing and the closing of an iconic Boston restaurant.

This week, any Bank of America, U.S. Trust and Merrill Lynch credit or debit cardholders can gain free admission to more than 200 museums around the country as part of the Museums on US! program. List of participating museums is here.

Deals on hotels in New York City

Looking for a hotel in New York City? Hotel Week NYC 2019 runs from January 4 -14. Prices are at a fixed rate of $100 or $200 per night – a great discount off the standard room rates that can run $500 a nigt at this time of year.

Eurail is starting off the New Year with news about a “new and improved” Eurail program that includes access to Great Britian, Macedonia and Lithuania, expandiing the overal country count from 28 to 31. Travel on the Eurostar is now also included in some ticket packages.

And Durgin Park, a landmark restaurant that’s been at Boston’s Faneuil Hall since 1827, is closing on January 12, WBZ reports.

HMSHost has a co-branded branch of Durgin Park in Terminal E at Boston Logan International Airport .

While the airport Durgin Park remains open for now, a representative from HMSHost says they will be converting that location in the second half of 2020 to a quick-serve Mediterranean-style restaurant called Saloniki Greek.