Fine Living for Fido: The Big Apple Gets First Dog Resort
NEW YORK - An expansive bed with soft pillows, a flat-screen TV, a gym and chef-crafted meals -- at New York's first luxury hotel for dogs, opening in a few weeks, nothing's too good for man's best friend.
The 9,700-square-foot (900-square-meter) hotel in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood aims to ensure "the dog is getting the same quality as a human being does," explained one of its three co-owners, Shawn Hassanzadeh.
"As a New Yorker, when you go on vacation, and you stay in a fabulous hotel, with fabulous services, your dog is staying in a fabulous hotel with fabulous services," he explained to AFP.
Only the two fanciest suites will offer double beds -- but even the smaller "standard" rooms will have televisions and, in some, DVD players, in case the pet parents want to bring a special show or a compilation of family photos.
"A lot of parents find that when a dog stays at home alone, TV keeps them company," a second co-owner, Kerry Brown, explained.
Also available, for any vacationing canine looking to stay in shape: a gym, equipped with personal trainers and two treadmills.
"Some will take to (the treadmills), other don't, but it's nice to be able to have them," said another co-owner Kerry Brown.
Three playgrounds -- where pooches will be separated according to size and strength -- will also help keep Fido in fine form. And for any who prefer a more traditional energy outlet, the hotel offers walks in the city -- just $15 extra a day for a 15 minute stroll.
As in any luxury establishment, the hotel has a day spa, offering the ministrations of Ali McLennan, a groomer of Animal Planet television fame.
"A lot of the girls dogs love to get their nails painted in different colors," Brown explained without a trace of irony.
Chez Ali, the lady pups can choose between a "pawdicure" nail treatment, a bath, or a full treatment package.
And if the "parents" don't have time for the drop off, the hotel will take care of it. They'll swing by to pick up the beloved furball in an SUV or, if it appeals, a Lamborghini.
The pet resort concept, born in Hollywood with the first D Pet Hotel four years ago, aims to offer "a home away from home for dogs," Brown explains.
"We thought, what a perfect thing for New York," she added, "where we've got tons of people who are working, tons of people who are traveling."
Standard rooms will cost $79 a day, while the luxury suites will go for $200. Extras range from the $15 walk, to a $9 room service meal, and an $80 "full treatment" at the spa.
While that might seem steep in a country where with a troubled economy and persistently high unemployment, Brown insists "it is very reasonable."
"When it comes to taking care of your pet, which most people see as their kids, you want to make sure every detail is taken care of well," she noted.
"And we make sure every detail is taken care of. It is a lot of effort."