Pets—dogs, cats and, occasionally, other exotic animals—tend to get their playtime at home. But now, more than ever, animals are traveling like their human counterparts.
At several accommodations, and even luxury jets, animals have their own amenities, ranging from simple stuff like food bowls to app-instigated walking services, but one hotel is pushing this concept farther.
Travel Agent attended a kittens and cocktails party at SOHO Grand Hotel in New York City to learn about Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile, a hotel in Kanab, Utah, slated to open on August 15.
Brooks Bradbury, director of hospitality for Best Friends Animal Society, says the hotel will treat pets like their owners.
“In nicer hotels, they care about the guest preferences. You like your room a certain way or you arrive at a certain time. Here, we’re also caring for pet preferences,” Bradbury says.
In the all-pets-allowed hotel, travelers and their furry friends can stay in one of 30 regular rooms, eight suites and two two-level suites.
Amenities for humans include a common area space for guests, a complimentary vegan continental breakfast bar, and retail with Best Friends and Roadhouse branded merchandise, as well as vegan grab-and-go items, beer and wine.
Amenities for animals… well, that depends on their personalities. Bradbury says services vary based on the pet.
“That could be involved in what kind of a walk the pet goes on, how our staff engages with the pet, in the types of food we provide, whether or not they have time in the play park/splash park,” Bradbury says.
Services for pets include, but are not limited to:
- Pet-friendly fabrics and materials
- Pet nooks for sleeping with a special pet mattress
- Complimentary pet washing facility
- Fenced-in pet park with a water play facility
- Pet walking services and pet sitting available upon arrangement
- Outside drinking fountains at both pet and people height
A shuttle ride away is the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. This haven of hundreds of adoptable animals is home to 1,600 dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, horses, pigs and other barnyard animals from around the country, making it entirely possible to take home a kitten as a vacation souvenir.
Bradbury says newcomers looking to learn about the sanctuary are welcome, along with old friends. “We’ll welcome volunteers, adopters, donors, people who are already members and are supporting Best Friends,” Bradbury says.
Best Friends is an animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in shelters. Their goal is to bring the United States to no-kill by 2025. Travel Agent also toured the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in New York City, where animals are cared for to eventually be adopted.
Bradbury says the work of Best Friends really makes a difference for pets in need.
“There are heroic stories about Best Friends taking the Michael Vick dogs, for instance, and bringing them back to the sanctuary to be cared for and nurtured and, in most cases, adopted. We’ve also been to Hurricane Katrina and rescued pets who were lost there. My wife and I have our own Best Friends rescue that we adopted, a little three-pound chihuahua that was found on the road in Page, Arizona, just a few miles away, and we feel like we, among many people in Kanab and across the country, have helped welcome those pets into our homes,” Bradbury says.
To donate, visit https://bestfriends.org. For more information on the hotel, visit https://bestfriends.org/best-friends-roadhouse-and-mercantile