The Atlantic City area offers a number of pet-friendly attractions and hotels
When Scott Winston opened up the Atlantic City Pet Hotel in July 2006, he turned a few heads. Hotels in Atlantic City, after all, are gleaming towers with finely appointed rooms and luxurious décor. They're not kennels.
Burt then kennel is a dirty word as far as Winston is concerned. His hotel pampers pets with everything from bottled water to personalized walks (no dog walkers with 15 leashed dogs at a time). The hotel also accepts pets outside of normal business hours provided you call ahead. If it sounds a bit much, it turns out it's just what Atlantic City needed.
"This is a 24-hour town," he says. "People show up here at all hours of the day and night. And the casino hotels, they don't take pets. I can't really blame them. They've spent an awful lot of money on their rooms and they don't want them to be soiled. They spend a lot of time trying to bring in players and they can't afford to have them disturbed by a barking dog. But people travel with their pets. They love their pets. We saw that there was a need for a place like this and we've been busy ever since," he says.
If you're wondering who would bring their dog or cat with them on a trip to Atlantic City, then it's a pretty safe bet you don't own either one. For pet owners, traveling with you're best friend is a no-brainer. According to a survey by the website TripAdvisor, more than 60 percent of pet owners have traveled with their pets.
"Why wouldn't you?" asks Winston, as if the idea of leaving a pet behind is unthinkable. "They're the best thing in your life; the love of your life. They're always there for you."
And long before Paris Hilton turned a dog into a fashion accessory, many of the city's high rollers, and low rollers for that matter, have been bringing their pups to town,
"We advise people to bring their own food for the pet so as not to upset their diet," Winston says. "So it's not unusual to see a limo pull up from the Borgata or the Plaza and somebody gets out with food for their dog. Sometimes people even send food prepared by chefs. Our pets don't eat here, they dine here."
Winston's hotel also allows frequent visits by pet owner, even steering them to pet friendly spots in the area.
"There's a dog beach near the Ocean City bridge," he says. "We tell them it's just 15 minutes from here. People love the idea of spending time with their pets on the beach. And there are a lot of other places they can take them. People come and visit for a half hour to taking them for the whole afternoon."
Atlantic City in particular attracts a lot of pet owners. Most people who travel with pets do so by car. Amtrak and major bus lines don't allow pets and airline regulations on pets are somewhat burdensome. With Atlantic City within driving distance of a third of the country's population, a lot of pets make the trip. Winston says 98 percent of his guests are dogs and about two percent cats.
Still, pet owners often need to do some careful checking before heading out and should follow a number of safety tips to keep things pleasant for their furry friends. Hotels, motels, summer rentals or even grandma's retirement home should be checked to make sure they allow pets. Those that do often require a pet deposit or have an extra pet charge.
While traveling, pets should be kept in secure harnesses or portable kennels. Letting a dog ride with its head out the window, for example can cause ear and lung infections, not to mention exposing them to flying objects. And finally, owners should make sure there are plenty of exercise options for pets when you arrive. With a little extra planning, your pet can be as much a part of your vacation as it is in your everyday life.
Pet Friendly Accommodations
Other details in the $50 million room redesign project include oversized, glass-enclosed showers; larger counter space in the guestroom bathrooms; a "spa-like atmosphere," and more high-tech gadgetry.
Atlantic City has tried on different looks to entice visitors to town, from playing up its place as an adult playground to a strategy to be more family-friendly. However the Showboat went in yet another direction when the casino championed its hotel as a place where you can let the dogs in.
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