Friday, December 19, 2008

Luxury Travel HAS Gone to the Dogs

Being a dog-lover/owner myself, I'm always thrilled to see a luxury hotel come up with a creative way to promote its pet-friendly status. And since one of my dogs, Madeline (the rescued Shih Tsu/Bichon mix pictured) was among the first canines to overnight at the Mandarin Oriental Miami when it first opened, I've always had a soft spot for the beautiful Bayside property. Not to mention, I love the hotel's sleek Asian-meets-modern decor, it's bayside pool and bi-level spa with the best Thai massage in the states.

To attract other dog-loving luxury travelers, and to tie-in with Marley & Me--the new movie starring Jennifer Aniston that was filmed nearby, Mandarin Oriental, Miami offers a pooch-themed package that includes a two-night stay for owner and pet (the latter gets a plush dog bed, a bone-shaped mat with food and water bowls, special edible treats and bottled water). It also includes a private session with a certified dog trainer; play time on the hotel's South Lawn with dog butlers available to deliver refreshments and toys like frisbees and tennis balls; and once-daily pet walking services around Brickell Key. Additional inclusions are daily breakfast and a two-course, in-room dinner for guests and their pet, plus two tickets to Marley & Me (opening XMAS day) and a copy of the original book penned by Josh Grogan. Through April, the two-night Miami Dog Days package is priced at $1,298. The same deal next summer (May 24 through September) is a steal at $858.