Trendy Getaways: Must Love Dogs

A bag of Iams and a chain-link run will no longer do. Welcome to the new world of doggie-and-me boarding — hotels that let you make your pet part of the getaway

ON OUR FIRST morning together in Manhattan, Jake and I wake up early. Although our chic suite on the 14th floor of the W New York at 49th and Lex is cushy, dark and miraculously quiet, we’re still wound up from a big night.

Yesterday, we unabashedly did all things touristy. We strolled through Central Park. We shopped the windows of Bloomie’s. We nearly lost each other in the crush of pedestrians on Fifth Avenue. Back at the hotel, we perched at the edge of the luxe lobby lounge to ogle couples sharing loveseats and lavender margaritas. Then, to our room: We depleted the amenities — Bliss Body Butter for me, Voss water for him. We called in an outrageous room-service order (filet mignon for him; an $18 cheese-and-tomato omelet for me). We snuggled on the fluffy silk duvet.

Now, as the first rays peek through the bedroom’s thick drapes, Jake is already at the window. Looking down 49th Street toward an orange sun rising over the winter-white Hudson, he stands silent and eager: He wants to take another walk.

And it doesn’t matter to him — an easygoing 12-year-old golden retriever with a graying muzzle and a constant craving for found food — that he’ll stand out like imitation Vuitton among the expertly coiffed toy yippers and high-strung pedigreed pooches out there. In fact, the old guy draws an actual glare from the owner of one preening teacup ("Why don’t you leave your dog in the room and let him go on the paper?"), even as he finds fans among fanny-pack-wearing out-of-towners. "We have one like him at home," they tell me. One, presumably, on whom the W’s custom-made feather dog beds are lost. One who attacks the hotel’s basket of dog treats like he’s never seen a Milk-Bone. And one who — gaffe of gaffes — enthusiastically greets strangers.

Still, thanks to the W’s PAW ("Pets Are Welcome") program, sweet, shedding Jake has as much right as most any dog to stay overnight. "Having a dog as a travel partner has become exceedingly popular for our guests," says Rebecca Rand, who represents W’s five New York locations. And despite the possible wear and tear on velvet couches, silk duvets and sea-grass carpets (addressed at least partially with an extra $100 cleaning fee), Rand reports that putting out the welcome mat for dog owners (and the very rare feline traveling companion) is one more service her high-end customers have come to expect.