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The Sunday Read: ‘My Goldendoodle Spent a Week at Some Luxury Dog ‘Hotels.’ I Tagged Along.’

The Daily

The New York Times

News, Daily News

4.597.8K Ratings

🗓️ 24 March 2024

⏱️ 22 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


By the time Sam Apple pulled up with his goldendoodle, Steve, to their resting place, he was tired from the long drive and already second-guessing his plan. He felt a little better when they stepped inside the Dogwood Acres Pet Retreat. The lobby, with its elegant tiled entrance, might have passed for the lobby of any small countryside hotel, at least one that strongly favored dog-themed decor. But this illusion was broken when the receptionist reviewed their reservation — which, in addition to their luxury suite, included cuddle time, group play, a nature walk and a “belly rub tuck-in.” Venues like this one, on Kent Island in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, didn’t exist when Apple was growing up in the 1980s. If you needed a place to board your dog back then, you went to a kennel, where your dog spent virtually the entire day in a small — and probably not very clean — cage. There were no tuck-ins, no bedtime stories, no dog-bone-shaped swimming pools. There was certainly nothing like today’s most upscale canine resorts, where the dogs sleep on queen-size beds and the spa offerings include mud baths and blueberry facials; one pet-hotel franchise on the West Coast will even pick up your dog in a Lamborghini. Apple knew Dogwood Acres wouldn’t be quite as luxurious as that, but the accommodations still sounded pretty nice. So he decided to check his dog in, and to tag along for the journey.

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Hey, I'm Sam Apple. I'm a contributor to the New York Times magazine and the owner of a very good


golden doodle named Steve who loves neck massages and hard-boiled eggs.


I've had this feeling for a while now that the dogs are taking over.


All these activities where you never see dogs in the past,


now you're seeing people bring them everywhere they go.


Restaurants have dog tasting menus.


They're ice cream parlors specifically for dogs.


We dressed them up in Halloween costumes, which a decade ago might have been a joke


Now it's like of course you buy your dog a Halloween costume who wouldn't do that?


Recently I became obsessed with this concept of luxury dog hotels.


Not pet-friendly accommodations for people, but upscale dog kennels essentially that are nicer than some human hotels.


There are these high-end resorts with names like Chateau, Poochy, and Barkingham Pet Hotel


where your dog can luxuriate while you're off on vacation.


Hotel staff will take your dog on nature walks,


read them bedtime stories, and perform belly-rubtuckins.


The amenities some of these places offer are pretty


astounding. Queen-sized beds, big flat screen TVs, swimming pools, and they're often


filled with chicik decor.


The most lavish dog hotels include spas where your dog can get a blueberry facial,


a mudbath, or a massage.


According to one franchise's website,


relaxing down-tempo slash chill music emanates throughout the entire hotel,


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