Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, Santa Monica

Hotel Reviews: Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is a pet-friendly hotel located at 101 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, California just steps from the Pacific Ocean. The hotel includes a 10-story tower and 6-story wing with guest rooms and suites, as well as 32 private garden bungalow accommodations. For this stay, we opted to stay in bungalow #166, a Signature King Bungalow unit which was 335 sq feet with a private entrance and small private dining patio. The hotel also has larger more expensive, two-story bungalows which we did not check out for this stay.

For onsite dining, Fairmont Miramar has Fig Restaurant, however dogs aren't allowed to dine on the patio. Fortunately, the hotel has outstanding 24-hour room service so we had our meals delivered to our bungalow patio. And the hotel is located in a perfect area of Santa Monica for walking to hundreds of other dining options. For simple casual dining, Tender Greens is right down the block and had a nice dog friendly patio area.
The bungalow units were very private and quiet which made for a relaxing stay for me and my people. The hotel was comfortable for me with plenty of nice grassy areas outside of my room for walking around and also in the neighborhood along Ocean Avenue. The neighborhood vibe is hip and filled with many people riding bicycles and dogs. The Fairmont Miramar is truly notable in that it allows dogs to stay with their people through their Pets Always Welcome (PAW) program with no fee. High-paw! At check-in you are asked to sign the pet policy and are supposed to be provided with complimentary pet amenities, including bowls, bed. etc. We signed the pet policy, but weren't offered any special amenities, so be sure to ask if you need something. I was also in Santa Monica back in September 2012 which you can check out Santa Monica.
Don't forget, there are always more pictures of me at Tokyo: My Shiba Inu Tumblr and be sure to follow me on twitter @tokyoshiba


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Casa Madrona Hotel, Sausalito, California

Hotel Reviews: Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa is located on 801 Bridgeway in the heart of historic downtown Sausalito, California. The hotel currently has 63 guest rooms which include either historic hillside cottage rooms or contemporary rooms (although I understand they are in the process of adding more hillside accommodations). We stayed in #304 which is a room with a balcony in the hillside cottage section. The hotel's dog policy allows dogs up to 50 lbs to stay with a one time $100 pet fee, per dog. At check-in my people signed the "usual" canine agreement. We weren't provided with any special pet amenities - dog beds, bowls, treats, toys, bags, etc. - but I understand that the hotel has some things, so ask at the front desk if you need something.  The valet stand has biscuits; swing by and snag a few. Nom!

The hillside cottage rooms are good for guests staying with dogs, as they have easy access to the street via a side staircase. We didn't have to go in or out through the main lobby to access our room for the duration of our stay, which was very convenient. The balcony on our 3rd floor room was enclosed (solid walls and a railing) and not connected to any neighboring balconies, so it provided a nice, safe place for me to relax and peek out. Overall our room was nice, but it was rather small for our 3-night stay. Next time, we will check out their new accommodations to see if they provide a better space.

Sausalito is a charming bayside town. It is very pet friendly and there were plenty of grassy areas for me. While you are out, you will surely run into people walking around with their dogs. I even got to meet a pawsome shiba named Margot when I was out for a walk one day!

For dog friendly dining options at Casa Madrona, you can order room service through Poggio or you can dine on their sidewalk patio. There are also many great restaurants within easy walking distance, right on Bridgeway that you should check out. For two "not to miss" restaurants, be sure to go to Copita Tequileria y Comida located at 739 Bridgeway which has amazing food and drinks for your people. They have a very nice, covered outdoor patio area for dogs to hang with their people. Copita even does "take out" so while we stayed, my people grabbed food and brought it back to our hotel.  I give this place a big paws up! Also, check out Napa Valley Burger Company just down the block at 670 Bridgeway. They have 3 outdoor sidewalk patio tables that provide dog friendly dining. While it's not an "enclosed" space, I was able to relax comfortably along the wall side and check out the people and dogs walking by. As soon as I sat down with my people, a server immediately brought over a little bowl of water for me without us having to ask. Nice! And their burgers....which I got to taste...are also not to be missed. Paws up to Sausalito, California!

Don't forget, there are always more pictures of me at Tokyo: My Shiba Inu Tumblr and be sure to follow me on twitter @tokyoshiba

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In Memory of Phineas 9/25/09 - 4/5/13

On April 5, 2013 my shiba friend Phineas was tragically hit by a car and passed away near his home in New Jersey. He was my cool shiba friend who had the most amazing gentle spirit. Despite the fact that Phin lived 3,000 miles away on the other coast, I made sure we got to meet and play. When I visited him, he shared his home, his toys, and even his cheese supply with me. He was the sweetest playful shiba, I've ever met. In honor of his life, dogs and meowies everywhere have been posting pictures of themselves with mustaches (in reference to a pawsome photo previously taken of Phineas with a mustache.)  Photo credit: Sal Petruzelli Marino.
Now that Phin is gone, he has left a huge hole in my heart. I can't believe I won't be able to play with him again on this earth and I will miss him forever. His life was too short but amazing with the most loving family you could ask for. You can read about some of our adventures at (Christmas 2011) and (Tokyo Turns Three).
Phin and his family touched the lives of many other dogs and people. It's often hard to know what to do in times like these, besides sending my love and support.  But helping other dogs in need is one way to honor the life of Phineas. Here are a few:  
NYC Shiba Rescue (New York)
Shiba Rescue of Orange County (New Jersey)
Saving Shibas (California/Nevada)
NW Shibas 4 Life (Oregon)

Amazon wish lists: Animal Guardian Network and NYC Shiba Rescue and NW Shibas 4 Life 
Phin (left) and Tokyo (right) patiently wait for cheese.
In memory of my pawsome friend Phineas *bows head*

Don't forget, there are always more pictures of me at Tokyo: My Shiba Inu Tumblr and be sure to follow me on twitter @tokyoshiba

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, Arizona

Hotel Review: The Hotel Valley Ho is a pet friendly hotel located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Originally opened in 1956, the Valley Ho was a popular Hollywood hideaway and still features a mid-century modern aesthetic. After updates, the hotel now features a seven-story tower in addition to garden and pool side accommodations. For this stay, we stayed in a one-bedroom Tower Suite which was located in the seven-story tower building.  Our Tower Suite unit was expansive and featured a fully equipped kitchen, living room, washer/dryer and private balcony. We checked out unit 601 which was on the pool side and ultimately decided to stay in unit 504 with the Camelback Mountain view. When we arrived our unit already had my pet amenities in place in the kitchen for me: a dog bowl, dog treats and a special pet sign to hang on the outside of our door. Nice!

One of the best things about the Valley Ho is that they do not charge a pet fee and they pride themselves on being very pet friendly through membership with the National Pet-Friendly Hotel Association. I felt welcomed at the hotel and was only restricted from the pool area and inside the restaurant. However, the patio area of  Cafe ZuZu is dog friendly and has breakfast, lunch and dinner dining options (in addition to room service). Around the hotel there were plenty of grassy areas for me to explore and with its prime location in Old Town Scottsdale there were lots of things for me check out within walking distance.  

If you're planning to stay at the Hotel Valley Ho with a dog, I would recommend checking out the Terrace Suite units which are located in the lower two-story building. Unlike our room in the seven-story tower, these units don't have kitchens but instead have huge, more usable balconies. The balconies in the tower building can pose some challenges for smaller dogs, as the balconies are all connected and there is a space between the divider walls, so very inquisitive small dogs could very easily squeeze through and be on your neighbor's balcony in a second.

Don't forget, there are always more pictures of me at Tokyo: My Shiba Inu Tumblr and be sure to follow me on twitter @tokyoshiba