Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Dog Owner's Perspective on Phoenix's Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort Hotel

Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort is a sprawling luxury resort (fun fact: former President Obama has stayed here) in North Phoenix. The stunning mountain Piestewa Peak, which is worth a hike to the top if you've got the time and energy, provides the hotel's primary backdrop. The entire property is palm-tree lined. It's also notable for its gorgeous on-site water park that's included in the rate. But what I loved most about this hotel is that it's dog friendly. 

I appreciated how the suite provided three separate living areas: the bathroom, bedroom and living area, each separated by closing doors. It was nice to be able to shut them out of the living room and just letting them stay in the bathroom and bedroom--easier to clean up any messes. I did have to keep the blackout curtains shut when I was gone to prevent my dogs from barking at other guests they saw in the window. I also loved how close my room was to the stairs, a huge pet owner perk since transporting them on the elevator can be a real pain. 

Although this resort is pet friendly, it's not specifically geared toward pet owners. You won't find any green boxes dispensing bags here. I didn't notice other dogs staying here, but that's not necessarily a bad thing if you have dogs like mine who almost always freak out at the sight of another dog. The green space will give you plenty of room to walk your pet, but these are not specifically designated walking areas. You'll be walking on the parking lot too. But you've got plenty of room to walk them. 

Cost wise, there is a non-refundable $75 pet fee for staying here. Seeing as most pet fees are about $25 per day, that could be high or low for you, depending on how long you're planning on staying. If you happen to be traveling with kids or are on a business trip and would like more space, consider staying here with your dog in tow. Just know that it's not specifically geared toward dog owners.

Please note: my hotel stay was comped. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review of Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock

I've traveled to the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock twice now, and both times with my two dogs in tow. The best perk? Pet-friendly rooms are on the ground floor and feature sliding doors leading to the outside, giving pet owners an easy way to walk their dogs. Aside from check in, you can easily walk your dog without ever having to step foot in the lobby. The hotel's grounds are gorgeous--surrounded by Sedona's famed red rocks. There aren't too many green areas in the hotel parking lot where can you walk your dog (this is a desert after all), but you can easily walk around the perimeter of the resort. At roughly 10 miles from downtown, the hotel's a little bit far from center of town, but it's quieter setting can be ideal for dogs that bark at every little noise. Like mine. :-)

The hotel also provides pets with a bed, bowls, a place mat, a gift, and snack--provided you make a reservation 24 hours in advance. My dogs were greeted with toys and treats. The rooms I've stayed in on the ground floor are particularly spacious. Expect a bedroom, bathroom and lounge area. If you'd prefer your pet stay confined in the bathroom (in case the hotel staff comes in), you can simply close the door and let them roam in the space. Dogs larger than 75 pounds are not permitted. A $50 non-refundable deposit is required.

You can dine on the patio of the on-site Grille at Shadow Rock with your pet, but I'd make sure they're on a leash. Room service is another great option, especially if your dog doesn't like being around other dogs.

I have walked my dogs on the outskirts of the across-the-street Sedona Golf Resort grounds, but I just called over there and they said dogs were not allowed. If you do take them there, be sure to pick up after your animal. And if anyone asks you to not walk your dogs there, you should leave immediately.

Overall, I'd recommend this hotel to dog owners looking for a secluded place with gorgeous grounds and spacious rooms. Happy tails!

Please note: my stay was comped. Thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tips on Traveling With Your Dog in a Car

If you've always been curious about the best way to travel with your dog when you're on the road together, check out this guide I put together for the February/March 2017 issue of Dogster. This is the article I wish I had read before I took my cross-country road trip with my dogs. I hope you enjoy reading it. Plus, isn't this cover too cute??

Read the story here:

Happy trails!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Road Trip Travel Tips

If you'll be traveling with your dogs this holiday weekend or in the near future, here are some tips you can use to have fun with your furry friend. Here's what to pack. Here are some general tips.

Happy trails everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review of Dog-Friendly Arabella Hotel Sedona

Arabella Hotel Sedona is a budget-friendly lodging option in a town chock full of expensive hotels. This spot is located within walking distance from shopping center Tlaquepaque (a must-visit place brimming with boutiques that feels very European) and just a short ways from the center of Sedona's downtown. As you might have guessed, the hotel is also pet-friendly.
A warm welcome for my two dogs. 
It was recently remodeled and the dog-friendly rooms are all right next to a dog park featuring Sedona's red rock soil. I loved the convenience. Plus, the hotel's grounds make for a gorgeous setting for a dog walk. I've walked my dogs in too many drab parking lots and know this is a true pet parent perk. The hotel also has access to Margs Draw Trail, which is also pet friendly. I didn't get a chance to hike this, but I've read it's a fairly moderate hike.

Loved this on-site dog park. Sorry about the smudge.

Nice view, huh?

The hotel created a sunset vista view point, as you might have guessed from the sign. 
Here's the view you can get from your hike that starts at the hotel. It was cloudy on the day I went up there. 
As far as rates go, this is one of Sedona's more budget-friendly options with rooms costing a little more than $100 a night. But don't think that budget means you have to sacrifice.

The hotel has incredible views from the pool. I also liked the location. You're close to downtown without having to deal with the traffic.

Happy dogs on the bed!

From the roadside, the hotel looks a little run down. But inside, the rooms are clean and modern. Although the bed felt a little old and a tad lumpy--I'm a hotel bed connoisseur--but every other detail felt right. For the price and location, it would be hard to top this hotel.

Bonus: Arabella's most famous attraction is Elote Cafe. The Mexican food here is phenomenal. I've never had anything I didn't like. Try the elote--a sweet and spicy corn dish that you can scoop up with chips. The margaritas are also pretty damn tasty. You'll usually have to wait for a table, but it's well worth it.

The famed and must-try elote appetizer. 

Elote Cafe also has great drinks. 
**Please note: my stay was comped. Opinions are my own.  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hotel Chimayo: A Charming, Dog-friendly Santa Fe Hotel

Every once in a while, I'll stay a hotel that really does feel its own tiny little world. As soon I've stepped in the lobby, I'm somewhere else, and I'm glad to be there. The Hotel Chimayo in Santa Fe is one of those places. Located just off of the Plaza--the heart of Santa Fe's downtown district--the hotel only contributes to the charm. The exterior resembles a cute white house complete with an adorable balcony. Inside, it's very Southwestern with dark wood decor and prints. After checking in, the front desk clerk printed out a map of a nearby park where I could walk my dogs--another great pet owner perk. 

 My cute dog Rocket snug in his chair.

After walking out of the lobby, you'll enter the courtyard of this hotel--and my favorite spot of the whole place. All the rooms here face inward and this secluded spot honestly made me like I was in Southern Spain--minus the red chilies hanging from the wooden balconies. It's secluded, quiet and although just steps from the plaza, feels like it's own little slice of paradise. I loved walking through here to get back to my room.

And my suite was more than enough space for me and my dogs. It featured a separate sitting area complete with a fireplace, bedroom and bathroom. My dogs loved hanging out on the chairs while I was away. We all loved snuggling in the bed at night. I appreciated that my dogs had space to roam around while I was away during the day. The tiled bathroom was great for putting their water and food bowels in case they spilled any of it. The only downsides here are that you have to pay for parking and occasionally, other owners would leave their dogs off leash with their hotel room doors open. This never (thankfully) was an issue for me, but it's something to keep in mind. The pet policy here is fairly standard. The hotel also charges a $25 per day pet fee unless you book its pet-friendly package. Dogs weighing more than 50 pounds are not permitted at the hotel. Only two dogs are allowed per room.


When I first checked in, the front desk employee gave me a map and showed me where a dog park was. And I love how close the hotel was to many different parks. Cross of the Martyrs--probably the best place in the city to watch the sunset--is less than half a mile from the hotel. Hillside Park Cathedral Park, albeit very small, was just a few blocks from the hotel too.  

I watched the sunset at this park with my dogs my last night in Santa Fe, and I can't think of a better way to cap off a trip to this enchanting city than that. Pet owner searching for a charming hotel in this great city should consider Hotel Chimayo.

Please note: I was given a discounted media rate during my stay here. All thoughts are my own.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mountains You Should Climb: Tempe's "A" Mountain

When I first visited Phoenix back in January, I wanted a good hike and a great place to watch the Southwest's magnificent sunsets. And I found just what I was looking for at Tempe's "A" Mountain. This is a short, but steep, hike that will provide you with stunning views of the entire city. I mean, just look at that photo.
 Stunning, huh?

The path is all paved. You'll want to be careful at the top since you're fairly high up and many of the rocks you'll be standing on aren't exactly the sturdiest surfaces. A part of the summit is fenced off, but you can climb over that. Wherever you decide to end your hike, be sure to enjoy sweeping views of the Phoenix skyline. I always imagined a desert landscaped like Phoenix being drab and flat and dry, and it is all of that, but so much more. Take in the river. Appreciate the trees. Dig the view.

Either way, if you're a temporary visitor or a long-time resident, watching the Arizona sunset is a must-do. And so is hiking. If you're looking for a place where you can combine the best of both worlds, make it A Mountain. Plus, then you can tell your friends that you hiked "a" mountain when you were in Phoenix. Get it? I know, I know. How very punny.

Either way, enjoy the view from the top.