Pet resort gives pooches the rock star treatment
Published Thursday, September 23, 2010 11:24AM PDT
If opulent hotel suites with plasma TVs, combined with a regimen of full body massages, spa treatments and gourmet catered meals sound like your idea of a great vacation you're not alone.
But what if this high-end luxury wasn't meant for you, but rather for your family pet?
At Vancouver's soon to open Jet Pet Resort, that's exactly the case. The 15,000-square-foot facility near the city's airport, which repeatedly asserts it is "NOT a dog kennel," will treat your pampered pooch to all of life's luxuries while you're far from home. As its sign outside professes, people should bring their animals here "because your pet deserves a vacation too."
In Pictures: Vancouver's luxury pet hotel
With 70 private rooms for dogs, and doubles and triples for housemates who don't like to be apart, most suites have a raised four-poster bed furnished with a hypo-allergenic sheepskin mattress and bedding lest your dog suffer from any allergies or sensitivities. The former warehouse is completed by a "New York style" indoor courtyard with full-sized trees, exercise facilities including plunge pools, treadmills and even a Kitty Wing.
But these amenities don't come cheap.
While $49 gets you a basic suite, $69 will ensure your beloved Fido won't be lonely in his Grand Suite -- because he'll have a private plasma TV as a distraction. Still worried about his needs? For $129 a night, he'll also have a lounge area with a window seat, a luxury bath and an in-room web cam that lets you check up on your pet from wherever you are.
Oh yes, and 30 minutes of extra loves and hugs.
Still not enough?
For $1,000 a night, you can give your pooch the full rock star treatment. The resort's Rock Star Package ensures your dog has a 24-hour "pet care specialist" by its side to attend to its every need. This means someone stands by while your precious pooch eats, exercises and, yes, even when he sleeps. Of course, this is on top of private walks, catered meals, a Stanley Park day trip and picnic and a private limousine pick-up and drop-off.
And, unlike most vacations, the treats don't end when your animal comes home. The resort will compile a photo album of your pet's whimsical week as well as a "memory casting" of the animal's paw framed with a commemorative picture.
So who exactly is paying the equivalent of a semester of private school to keep their pet at the dog hotel for a week?
"A celebrity for sure," owner Camila Dahl tells me.
"We can pick them up in a limo, keep them anonymous -- no drama."
The mother of four boys, who worked as a pharmacy technician for more than a decade before following her dream of opening a pet paradise, says while no one has actually committed to laying down a grand to give their pet the Hollywood treatment, "there's been a lot of interest."
Dahl, showing me a framed sketch in the lobby of her original conception of the building, shows off the things she wanted the most in the design: tall leafy trees, ornate wrought iron fencing, parquet floors. The vision is only overshadowed by the mock Brownstone brick houses that serve as doggy dorms around the perimeter.
She insists the opulence isn't overblown.
"Everyone who comes in here says ‘wow,' and that's exactly what I wanted," she says.
And it's not only dogs who get the royal treatment.
Off the main courtyard is the cat lounge, a bright, spacious rumpus room with a micro-suede sectional sofa, multi-level cat climbers that stretch up to the ceiling and a giant plasma screen TV.
I ask animal keeper Annie Filkow what the felines will be watching.
"We'll probably put some DVDs with birds on there," she says.
Of course they will.
As a self-professed dog lover (and occasional park gawker), visiting the Jet Pet Resort was a delightful opportunity to observe all kinds of adorable animals frolicking in their enviable environment, even if that means feeling slightly jealous that their temporary housing is possibly much nicer than mine.
But while at once reaffirming my deep desire to own a dog of my own, it also made me consider whether I would take it there when I'm out of town.
My last dog, a hyperactive Husky cross named Penny, relished in luxuries like eating leftover steak and sleeping on my duck-down duvet when I wasn't home, so in some ways I can see why people would spend this kind of money to give their pets the treatment of fine linens, macrobiotic meatloaves and deep tissue massages.
On the other hand she sometimes ate her own poop, so I doubt she'd even notice.
In all its extravagance, the Jet Pet Resort is still comparable to prices at regular kennels, so it's certainly worth your doggy dollar. And with 90 per cent of staff being former veterinary technicians and animal care workers you know your animal will be in good hands.
The Jet Pet Resort officially opens on Sept. 25 and is already accepting bookings. Click here for more information.