Pooches on parade: The Westminster dog show comes to New York
Over 2,000 VIP guests will flood New York City hotels next month, and camera crews will await their arrival. We're speaking, of course, of the American Kennel Club champions coming to town for the Westminster dog show, taking place at Madison Square Garden February 15 and 16. If you and your precious pooch are planning to watch (or participate) in the event, and still need a place to stay, not to fear -- Oyster has hounded out the city's very best pet-friendly hotels. We visited all 99 properties that allow pets, and investigated their pet services first-hand, from the great (gourmet food, doggie pedicures, and dog walking) to the not-so-great (steep fees and ungenerous weight limits).
The properties right next to Madison Square Garden will be the most popular for champions and their owners, but in honor of the competition, they've have jacked up their pet fees. Below, we'll give you the lowdown on each. For fans that have the option to stay anywhere, or participants who don't mind taking their little winner on a cab ride, we've listed some of our picks for New York City's best pet-friendly hotels.
Hotels near Madison Square Garden:
(Use our map to see more hotels in the area.)
Affinia is one of the city's pet-friendliest hotel chains, but during the dog show, the Affinia Manhattan -- located just around the corner from the Garden -- has raised the usual per-stay pet fee of $25 to $75. Still, there's no pet weight limit, and the hotel has added some new amenities for the event: the Westminster dog run (free) and the Doggie Day Salon with a walk-in shower, hand-held shower head, and towels ($50 per hour). In addition, food, water bowls, doggie sidewalk bags, and a list of pet-friendly restaurants and resources are all offered through the "Jet-Set Pets" program. Pet owners will appreciate the comfortable beds and pillow menu, Aveda bath products, top-notch fitness center and in-room kitchens. Read full review
Located right across the street from Madison Square Garden, the Hotel Pennsylvania hosts a number of Westminster dog show events and is one of the most popular choices for champions and their owners. A pre-show broadcast from the lobby, an on-site Doggie Concierge, pre-Westminster red carpet events, and an enormous doggie spa, with bathing and grooming stations, an exercise area, a potty area, and a dog masseuse and communicator, put this hotel at the heart of the action. The hotel charges $100 per stay plus $25/night for four-legged guests not participating in the show, however, so we recommend canine-toting fans book elsewhere. They'll be better off -- the Penn's the tired, generic rooms can have some cleanliness issues. Read full review
The New Yorker Hotel has a great location near Madison Square Garden, but it has a pet weight limit of 45 pounds and is charging a $100 flat pet fee during the event (instead of the usual $25/day cleaning fee). It's a good value, though, with clean, recently renovated rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a rich history. Read full review
Some of our Favorite Pet-Friendly Hotels in New York:
(Click here to see the full list of our favorite pet-friendly hotels.)
The Muse is an impressively pet-friendly hotel, having hosted everything from snakes (!) to penguins (!) to a pig (!) (many of them in town to appear on television shows that tape nearby). Ginger, a teacup Pomeranian, serves as the "Director of Pet Relations," a companion to one of the hotel staff members. On most days, Ginger can be found hanging out on her leopard-print bed near the concierge. She has even done the morning-show circuit, most recently on the Today show for a segment about pet-friendly hotels. The hotel has a Pampered Pooch and a Hers and Furs package, starting at $229, which provides in-room pedicures for a guest and her dog. Pets also receive a special welcome package upon arrival, with food and treats for both the dogs and their human companions. There is no surcharge to bring a pet to the Muse, though the hotel limits guests to two pets per room. Dog walking, sitting, grooming, and food delivery can all be arranged for an extra charge. Bryant Park is four blocks away. Read full review
If snuggling up and taking a snooze with your pooch is your idea of a vacation, the sleep-themed Benjamin Hotel (part of the pet-friendly Affinia chain) is your best bet. The hotel's "Dream Dogs" program provides a plush doggie bathrobe, a doggie DVD (to keep dogs from getting bored when alone in the room), and a dog room service menu. The doggie bed menu offers different sizes of specially-designed beds to help your pet slumber soundly. Read full review
Pets get special treatment at the Soho Grand--and they get it for free. There is no fee to bring a pet; the hotel asks only that visitors inform the staff ahead of time so that the reservations department can book a room on one of three pet-friendly floors and ensure that food, bowls, and a crate are available -- all at no extra charge. The hotel doesn't even put a restriction on animal size or weight -- so it's as willing to welcome a Saint Bernard as a Chihuahua hitching a ride in a handbag. The hotel is owned by Hartz Mountain Industries, and room service delivers Hartz-brand animal chow and some special treats. Dog walking, a more extensive menu, and grooming can all be arranged through the concierge for an extra fee. If guests can't bring their own pets, the hotel offers "surrogate animal companionship" in the form of a pet goldfish in your room, which you can even take home with you. Read full review