Outrageous airfares, rising gas prices and the high cost of living in paradise are stifling my desire to visit exotic worldwide destinations. On top of that, I have two small dogs I insist on bringing everywhere that present even more logistical challenges. They have done several trips on the Molokai Ferry, made inter-island flights, stayed in cabins in Hana—they’re part of the family and love to go. But traveling with them can be expensive and cumbersome. With that in mind, this year I decided to stay close to home and to find a local hotel that would accommodate my four-legged companions.
With more people wanting to travel with their animals, more resorts are allowing small dogs on property. At the same time, an increasing number of resorts are offering Kama’aina rates to attract residents. The cost of boarding your dog can run around $30 a day, so tossing that back into the budget boosts the bottom line. I found three big resorts on Maui that allow small dogs: the Fairmont Kea Lani and the Four Seasons in Wailea and the Westin Maui Resort in Kaanapali. On Lana’i, just a short ferry ride away, you can also shack up with your dogs at the Lodge at Koele and the Manele Bay Hotel. All these resorts require that your pooch weigh less than 15 pounds. And they all offer discounts for Hawaii residents.
With reservations in hand I packed up the family and headed to the Westin. Upon check-in we signed a waiver that promised we would clean up after our pets, keep them leashed and quiet, etc. The dogs were not invited to dine at any of the restaurants but we could leave them in the room provided they didn’t bark their heads off, or pick up food and eat with them outdoors. These were all terms I could live with. We got changed and headed for the pool.
The Westin’s pool area is a gorgeous expanse of chlorination, with slides, waterfalls and caves. The poolside staff led by director Jack Stone really made our trip; they’re always close at hand to meet your refreshment needs. We took advantage of their great selection of food and beverages, keeping the kids happy with favorites like fries and hot dogs while I spent the afternoon working through a veggie platter, cheeseburger, Ceaser salad and Bikini Blondes, all without leaving my chair.
Everybody loved the dogs and wanted to pet them. The Westin dog welcoming committee brought thick soft beds to our rooms with their insignia “Heavenly Dog Beds.” (And heavenly they were!) They also brought water and food dishes that fit neatly into a mat to minimize mess, plus a “goodie bag” with plastic bags, gloves and treats. It was red carpet treatment for the dogs. They jumped right on their beds and wondered what I was going to order them from room service.
Little did they know I packed their usual crunchies. Pampering has its limits. MTW