Monday, December 19, 2011

The Barkley, LA's most exclusive hotel... for dogs

It's not surprising that the guests of an exclusive hotel in Los Angeles feel like they are treated like top dogs.

They are not worried that the residents at the Four Seasons across the road can order breakfast in bed, have a massage or take a swim in the pool. 

For those staying at the Barkley can do the same, plus much much more -  because it has the reputation of being the most luxurious pet hotel in the world.

To its burgeoning list of guest services, the hotel In Westlake Village, has recently added swimming lessons as an alternative daily exercise routine.

Personal swim instructors take the guests for a splash with pool toys, and life jackets for the less confident swimmers. After the fun, they can relax in a poolside cabana with a cool drink and a gourmet dog treat.

On the spa treatment menu, fur dyeing is now offered. With natural dyes dogs can have their ears, paws, or tail coloured pink, blue or green or be stencilled with fetching leopard spots or zebra stripes, or even an all-American flag design. 

The design stays put for up to four weeks, and causes no harm or discomfort to the dog.

It is also a very quick process involving a paintbrush, some foils and then a trip to the high tech no-heat drying stations that gently ruffle the pooches fur to perfection. 

Since the hotel opened last spring dog parents have the option of having their pets stay on 'Rodeo Drive' or 'Hollywoof Boulevard' in suites that provide individual climate and lighting control, piped soothing music and frequently freshened air. 

Cats have smaller suites but are entertained by television screens featuring birds in flight and the tropical fish swimming in the central tank. 

The streets of 'Rodeo Drive' are lined with 'stores' with names inspired by famous brands around the world, with a pet-friendly twist of course.

Among the stores are Chewnel, Sniffany & Co, and Chewy Vuitton.

Every area of the hotel is under 24-hour surveillance and pet parents can check in on their fur baby via webcam or even on their phone as they sit poolside on their own vacation.

If they feel their pet looks like he's missing home too much, the hotel offers a special list of add-on services to ensure their total comfort.

A dog can get an ice-cream social with his friends, a bedtime biscuit and tummy rub or a limousine ride to McDonalds where the chauffeur will pick them up a cheeseburger, hamburger or McNuggets. 

For those who take their pet's diet as seriously as they take their own, Barkley staff will order in steak from the Four Season's room service menu. 

There's tuna sushi for the cats that don't like their dinner from a tin. 

The Barkley is also home to the Barkley Academy - a pet training facility run by dog trainers that is the first choice for many celebrities, including Sandra Bullock, who submitted her large family of rescued dogs to the programme. 

Barkley trainers Nichola Bond and Vendy Fris offer 'Pawsitive Power' training, utilising only positive methods and rewards. Owners can opt for a full doggie camp, as many celebrities do, and board their dog with the hotel for six weeks. 

An at-home training facility is within the hotel grounds with a dining room, bedroom and kitchen for intensive daily training within a natural environment. 

When the dog graduates - complete with cap and gown ceremony - their behaviour has a life-time guarantee for goodness. 

After a hard day's work, there's the spa. Pet parents can choose from a massage, facial or 'pawdicure' with optional nail jewels and glitter. 

A trained pet masseuse relaxes your dog before his summer trim with a back rub. If your dog prefers to relieve stress with a good game of fetch, there's always the day camp where they can play with fifty pals in a park equipped with all manner of distractions. 

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