Friday, December 8, 2017

My Review of the Pet-Friendly Mountain Shadows Resort

Mountain Shadows is the one of the newest resorts in the Valley that has brought a refreshing dose of modernity to an area in need of it. Located on Lincoln Drive, Mountain Shadows is a modern, light-filled place. The centerpiece of the Paradise Valley resort is the gorgeous view of Camelback Mountain. You'll want to get a sunset photo for your Instagram feed here. 

Nice views, huh?

And Mountain Shadows is my new favorite pet-friendly resort in the Valley. The grounds are gorgeous, and your dogs will love walking around the golf course. Just be sure to bring your own bags so you can clean up after your dog.

My two dogs taking a stroll on the golf course. 

You can book a room on the ground floor so you have access to the landscaped areas outside. I was on the second floor and was by the stairs, which made it easier for me to take them out. There's a neighborhood directly behind the hotel (to get there, follow the paved path beside the golf course heading away from the hotel) where you can take your dogs on a longer walk. It's a loop so you won't get lost. 

The rooms are modern, industrial and warm. Mountain Shadows also has a fascinating history in Valley history. First opened in 1959, Mountain Shadows hosted celebrities like Lucille Ball and The Rat Pack. You can see homages to the resort's history in black and white photos in the elevators and resort rooms.

See if you can spot the dog photo in the elevator. Mountain Shadows closed in 2004 and reopened in 2017. My favorite feature? The all-glass showers straight out of Dwell magazine. 

You should go to Mountain Shadows to take in this view of Camelback Mountain. 

There's no pet fee. Mountain Shadows’ is even home to resident dog, Hershey, a Pit Bull Labrador. Please note that dogs are not allowed in the pool area.

I'm also currently crushing on the on-site restaurant Hearth 61. Helmed by noted Valley Chef Charles Wiley, Hearth 61 serves modern, American fare. Pro tip: order the short rib. 

Mountain Shadows has many of the attributes of any top Valley resort: a great pool, killer views and a stellar on-site restaurant. There's no spa here, but guests can book spa treatments here and take a Tesla over to the nearby Sanctuary, another one of my favorite resorts. I've been to Mountain Shadows three times now, and I fall in love with it a little bit more every time I visit. It's also a refreshingly modern resort in an area that's known for historical properties--making it stand out from the crowd. 

If you're searching for a dog-friendly place to stay in the Valley at one of the area's hottest hotels, I'd recommend Mountain Shadows without a doubt. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hotel Review: Residence Inn/Courtyard Marriott Downtown

The hotel's sleek exterior. 

Downtown Phoenix is undergoing a renaissance. I've only lived in Phoenix for a little more than two years, and in that time, I've seen it grow and change in mostly positive ways with more and more restaurants, bars, shops and venues popping up in what was once a relatively sleepy part of town.

One of the signs of growth? New hotels popping up. One of the latest to hit the scene is the Residence Inn/Courtyard Marriott Downtown. This a very affordable spot, with rates hovering at about $100 in November of 2017. This is a dual hotel, with the Residence Inn providing long-term lodging options and the Courtyard portion supplying a daily place to stay. 

Residence Inn room. Note the pretty geode on the wall. 

The biggest advantage of this hotel is that you're literally staying as close as you can get to the Talking Stick Resort Arena and Chase Field. If you're in town to see a baseball or basketball game or a show, that makes this hotel an ideal option. Plus, the views of downtown Phoenix are practically unmatched. I admire the modern details in the rooms here. The most striking one was a geode panel that separated the bathroom from the bedroom. 

Like many hotel chains, many Marriotts now allow dogs. And this hotel is no exception. There's a limit of two pets per room. The max weight for the dog is 75 pounds. There's a nonrefundable fee of $150. You'll want to contact the hotel directly for details. 

"Here at the Residence Inn/Courtyard Phoenix Downtown, pets are considered a part of the family, and are treated to the same outstanding service as our human guests. There’s nothing better than curling up with your cat or doggie in a luxurious bed to make you feel at home. And if you’re planning an outing with your pet, you can use our complimentary Internet access to find the nearest dog-friendly spots and local pet stores," says Yvette Koebke, director of sales and marketing at the hotel. 

The hotel is in a relatively quiet area of downtown, making it an ideal place where you can walk your dogs. The bathrooms in the Residence Inn are spacious enough where you could leave your dog there if you were afraid that he or she might make a mess when you're gone. I'd recommend this affordable hotel if you're looking to have an adventure downtown with your dogs and want to be near many of downtown's top venues. 

**Please note that my hotel stay was comped. Thoughts are my own. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Review of The Dog-Friendly Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona

Gotta love that natural desert color of the exterior of Chandler's Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass.

The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass hotel in Chandler is one of the south Phoenix metro area's hidden gems. The property is stunning with sweeping desert views and manages to feel secluded despite being just minutes from the I-10 highway. (One very important aside before I get into the meat of my main dog-friendly hotel review: if you have the money, check out the on-site restaurant Kai. It's perhaps the best restaurant in Arizona, and you will be blown away. I promise.) Another aside? The hotel also hosted BlogPaws back in 2016.

Expect desert views all around at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. 

For starters, the Sheraton Grand is gorgeous. After you've entered the large lobby with sweeping desert views, you'll probably fall in love with the Indian art work. Living in Phoenix, it can easy to forget the area's rich history and the hotel makes a point of emphasizing that. I also love a hotel that makes it impossible to forget just how beautiful the desert really is.

All the pet-friendly rooms are on the first floor, making it convenient to let your dogs out.

Autumn is on a walk at the hotel.

I was in a room on the ground floor (all the pet-friendly rooms are on the first floor), and I loved the convenience of being able to take my dogs outside easily. The hotel is surrounded by a gorgeous walking path that my dogs loved. The rooms were spacious enough to accommodate the three of us. If you're worried your dog might make a mess in the hotel room, you can always leave them in the big bathroom. Although I didn't get a chance to take on the trail with my two Chihuahuas, the hotel also has a 2.5-mile on-site Interpretative Trail where you can walk with them.

Autumn is ready for bed!

The other upside for dog owners? The hotel is quiet. Your dogs won't be scared since the hotel is relatively secluded. Be careful of walking them at night due to wildlife, though. Only two dogs weighing 40 pounds or less are allowed per room. Overall, I'd recommend this hotel for dog owners looking for a true desert experience in a quiet, secluded area. The only downside is that you are only a solid 30 minute drive from downtown Phoenix and other areas. But the Valley of the Sun is a big place with plenty of places to see and explore.

Bathroom perk? Tiled floor that makes it easy to clean up food and water spills.

The downside? The hotel isn't specifically designed for dog owners. You won't find treats or waste bag dispensers throughout the grounds. But it's still a great property I'd recommend for owners. The rates are low, and the walking path around the hotel is perfect for dogs who love to explore.

I would recommend this hotel for dog owners. Just don't expect a ton of amenities for your puppies.

As an added bonus, here's some horses you might see on property.

Please note: My stay and meal were comped. Thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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!