Colorado Denver Hotels & Lodging Pet-Friendly Travel The Rockies The Southwest Travel Utah: Colorado Denver Hotels & Lodging Pet-Friendly Travel The Rockies The Southwest Travel Utah
Warning: This story includes tons of adorable photos of pups.
Woof, woof. Bark, bark. I’ve never seen so many happy dogs in my life as those that have padded, trotted and trounced through our little mountain town of Telluride, Colorado these past weeks. Little, big, short-haired, long-haired, well-groomed or scruffy, they all have an air de vacances, a certain joie de vivre that makes it clear they’re happy to be a part of their mom and dad’s vacation as well.
As a confirmed cat person, I hadn’t had much experience traveling with dogs up until over a year ago when I went on a road trip with my friend Mary Dawn (MD) and Valentino, her beautiful Bernese Mountain dog. Our travels, which I recount in my story, Travels with Valentino, culminated with the choosing of DaVinci, a new brother for Tino. As of last fall, we thought DaVinci was big enough to accompany us on a couple more trips: one to Moab and Salt Lake City, Utah; the other to Denver, Beaver Creek and the Vail Valley. I tell you, these dogs get around. And wherever they go, they are greeted with a fanfare of enthusiasm that makes me happy to just be tagging along. Here are some of the highlights from the best pet-friendly properties we visited on our jaunts:
Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa, Moab, Utah
Pets—just like people—love the fresh air. Here Valentino and DaVinci reveled in it, western style, and took to ranch life like two alpine dudes basking in the high desert warmth. They loved the “open door” setup of their digs, with one door accessing the entrance porch, the other leading out to the Colorado River, providing movie-lot backdrops of red rock panoramas along this wild way. Watching the guys frolic and jump for joy on the grassy lawn at the river’s edge made me feel more on vacation, too, even though I had to spend a lot of time on my laptop. They rolled in the cool, green grass and nipped at each other’s heels, just a couple of innumerable antics that brought a smile to my face as I pounded away on deadlines.
Red Cliffs Lodge, Moab, Utah
By the time we moseyed up to Red Cliffs Lodge, just a slingshot throw from Sorrel, the guys were really digging the back door/front door configuration and the possibility to enjoy more romps along the verdant swatch bordering the Colorado River. Here, too, MD and I delighted in hanging out on the patio outside of our Western-styled room while keeping one eye on the pups. Just like at Sorrel, we appreciated the convenience of having a kitchen, replete with a sizable fridge where we could store all the necessary ingredients for the kids’ raw diet, including a barnyard supply of chicken necks. After we left here, we all headed out for a hike at Negro Bill Canyon, one of the best hikes in the West, fairly cool and shady, too.
After so much fun in the great outdoors, I think we were all ready to hit the big city where we knew we’d enjoy more sophisticated surroundings and the possibility of interacting with more people. As soon as Tino and DaVinci arrived at the Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake City, they were fawned over by hotel staff and visitors alike. Here, they had to “do their business” on a small albeit grassy patch just across from the hotel, but that didn’t matter since the attention they received here more than made up for any slight bathroom inconveniences they had to endure. Plus, with so many parks in SLC, it’s not like they were wanting for a good run. That didn’t interest them, since they preferred to hang around the hotel lobby where they were treated like rockstars. (We later found out that most rockstars and visiting celebs do stay at the Hotel Monaco, so it’s no wonder these two handsome fellas were so well received.)
Warwick Denver Hotel, Denver, Colorado
I met MD and the dogs here upon my return from an East Coast trip last November. What a thrill it was to walk into the room and be greeted by Valentino and DaVinci. Their affection for Auntie Maribeth bowled me over. The three of them were already well settled into the elegant accommodations at the Warwick and were enjoying a dog party of sorts since Stacy Temples, the dogs’ breeder from Wagontale in Fort Collins, made the trip in with another pup to pay MD and her babies a visit. I breathed a sigh of relief that the room was large enough and that the Warwick was such a pet friendly establishment to accommodate this rambunctious entourage and all the trappings that come with a pack of dogs. As if reading my mind, MD said, “You always have to schlepp a lot of stuff when you have dogs. Here it’s great to have a balcony where I can leave their cooler.” (All of the rooms at the Denver Warwick have balconies, a big bonus for people traveling with dogs.)
The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain, Avon, Colorado
Here the dogs soaked up attention from virtually every staff member of this beautiful property. Even housekeeping would stop and greet the dogs when passing them in the hallway. They relished their own special doggie place, too, a grassy field just outside of the hotel away from the road. And when MD and I were delayed by partying at the World Cup, the doormen practically jumped at the opportunity to walk the dogs. At this riverside establishment, the dogs enjoyed all the benefits of being in a large, swanky hotel in a handsome natural setting. They also loved the fact that we had a spacious, two-bedroom condo, an arrangement that prompted DaVinci to come up on my big, king-sized bed one of the nights.
The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, Edwards, Colorado
We all loved this quiet retreat perched high on a hill above the Vail Valley. The country setting provided many hours of relaxing by the fire and strolling around the grounds (well, romping for the dogs). Our richly decorated room opened out onto a patio that gave way to a sprawling grassy area beyond. This made it especially convenient to take the dogs out for early morning and late evening walks. Everyone here extended warm welcomes to Valentino and DaVinci by giving them extra pets and tender greetings as they walked by. I think—just like at the other properties—people were sad to see them go, since their smiling faces and sweet demeanor brightened everyone’s day where ever they went.
“They like the hotel experience. It’s a new adventure for them, filled with new smells and sniffs,” says Mary Dawn DeBriae.
Mary Dawn is also the owner of Alpen Schatz, a European-styled boutique in Telluride, Colorado. Visit her online site and sign up for her newsletter to receive updates on the Berner world and more. Many people have adopted Berners all over the U.S. thanks to her being such a top Bernese Mountain dog Mama.
A Plethora of Perks
DaVinci and Valentino enjoyed many added benefits at the above establishments including treats at the front desk, treats in the room, dog bowls and beds provided as well as many offers for dog walking. Be sure to provide a gratuity for the latter and any other special perks that may be showered upon your pup. Note also that many establishments have outdoor restaurants and decks where your pooch may “hang with you” or at least within view.
DaVinci and Valentino, especially well-mannered dogs, were a welcome addition to everywhere we stayed. Make sure this is the case with your dog when traveling and never leave a barking dog in a hotel room and make sure they never destroy anything in the room. Always act like a responsible pet owner and be considerate of others in your own actions and especially those of your pets.
Thank you to DaVinci and Tino for being such lovely travel companions. You were fun, too, MD.
For more on Red Cliffs Lodge, read The Lone Ranger Showcases Monument Valley, Southwest Colorado and More and On the Trail of Western Movie-Making in Utah and Colorado.
For more on Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa, click here.
For more on Warwick Denver Hotel, read Summertime and the Livin’ Is Easy at the Denver Warwick Hotel and Celebrate Bastille Day at Randolph’s in Denver.
For more on The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain, click here.
And for All You Cat Lovers
Call me crazy but I really want to go on vacation with my cats. PLEASE read my story, Cat Vacations, if you have any ideas. There must be some suitable establishment out there that would welcome a travel writer with her two cats. I’m thinking, too, that if I sell enough copies of my new book, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France,” I’ll open up my own feline retreat.