f your idea of a family vacation includes your pet, he or she will feel like a V.I.P. – Very Important Pet – in Miami.
Greater Miami and the Beaches welcomes pets and their human parents with an extraordinary array of offerings ranging from the basic necessities of comfortable beds, treats and water bowls to spa treatments, doggie yoga, yappy hours, jewel-studded collars, Shi Tzu sushi and other luxuries. One hotel employs a special concierge who can assist with pet sitting services, pet grooming and more. And when you leave your room, there are many fashion-forward pet boutiques that rival the human variety, so you can both strut in your favorite fashions.
The welcome mat for pets is rolled out upon arrival. Miami International Airport now has a dual -surface service animal relief areas located at Concourse D, E and J, whimsically themed as “doggy parks.” Canine companions are equally at home in Miami’s many parks, and leashed dogs and cats are a common sight strolling down streets from South Beach to Sunny Isles Beach.
Here is just a sampling of what pet owners can expect to find when they visit Miami and the Beaches:
Acqualina Resort & Spa: The resort is making vacations worry-free for pet owners by welcoming pets 25 pounds and under for a luxurious stay. Pet amenities and services include pet amenity upon arrival and a distinctive pet in room sign. Pet walking service is available with advance notice, while “forgotten” pet items are always made available, such as leashes, collars, baskets, food and cage. Acqualina’s impeccable concierge can provide information on vets, animal hospitals, pet sitting services, pet grooming and boarding kennels. For more information, visit www.AcqualinaResort.com.
Turnberry Isle Miami: When it comes to guests’ four-legged friends, The Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club barks up a tall order for pets up to 25 pounds. Among customized amenities that can be ordered in advance are a fluffy bed, elevated food and water bowls and favorite treats. A Pooch Pouch in-room dining menu, created specially by the resort’s culinary team, offers a long leash of dining options and includes a doggy bagel, teeth-cleaning dog bone and much more. For more information, visit www.TurnberryIsleMiami.com.
Grove Isle Hotel & Spa: This 49-room boutique hotel believes in pampering pets, so much so, sometimes human guests are envious. Best known for its poolside “yappy hour,” the hotel has added new pet amenities. Grove Isle Hotel & Spa now offers a pet goodie bag, pet bed and bowl, two Woof water bottles and a special Bark Bar Room Service Menu. For more information, visit www.GroveIsle.com.
The Hotel Indigo in Dadeland is a pet-friendly hotel with a terrace at its PHI restaurant that allows pet owners to dine with their fury friends. You also get a cute dog or cat treat basket in your room. For more information, visit www.MiamiDadelandHotel.com.
Loews Miami Beach Hotel bills itself as a “pet paradise” where pooches can stay in four-star accommodations, stroll trendy pedestrian malls like Lincoln Road and see some of the “Super Pets” of the modeling industry – including Spike, Muffin, Lassie and the hotel’s own pet hostesses, Maddie and Minx. There is a special “Loews Loves Pets” menu or take-out from the nearby Dog Bar, as well as three doggie parks and lawns reserved just for pets. A special “Puppy Pager” is available from the front desk so the hotel can contact the owner if the pet is in distress. For more information, visit www.LoewsHotels.com.
Mandarin Oriental, Miami: Pets can enjoy a vacation of their own with Mandarin Oriental, Miami’s special “MO Pets” program. When pets check into the hotel, a keepsake golden Mandarin Oriental collar tag is provided to easily identify the special guests. Pets will find a plush pet bed, a bone-shaped place mat with food and water bowls, special edible treats and bottled water in their room upon arrival.
Turndown service and a special pet menu through in-room diving are also part of the service. Guests also have the option of sending their vivacious companions to the Mandarin Oriental, Miami’s Doggie Boot Camp or for a “day of beauty” with an exclusive pet groomer in South Beach. Doggie bathrobes and stylish doggie shirts are also available for purchase. To accommodate busy schedules, complimentary pet walking services are offered by the hotel once daily, as well as reliable pet sitting services. For more information, visit www.MandarinOriental.com.
Mayfair Hotel & Spa welcomes pets up to 50 pounds with an in-room doggie bed, water bowl, treats and a special pet menu offered at the “Bark Bar & Grill.” Offerings include Mutt Loaf, Shi Tzu Sushi and Bow-Wow Burger, with the number of calories and the health factor, rated by paw prints, indicated for each menu selection. For more information, visit www.MayfairHotelandSpa.com.
W South Beach: This trendy, stylish South Beach hotel welcomes small pets under 20 pounds with a welcome amenity and a special little bed, toys and treats. The hotel also offers a special homemade pet menu as well as on-site pet sitting. www.WSouthBeach.com.
RETAIL AND ATTRACTIONS:
Art Deco Architectural Audio Tour (Self Guided): Walk through Miami Beach’s whimsical and colorful Art Deco District at your own pace with your pet, and learn about its architectural history using an iPod-based self-guided tour and accompanying map. Commentary is provided in one of four languages: English, Spanish, German, and French. All audio tours cost $15. www.mdpl.org.
Bal Harbour Shops: One of Miami’s premiere tourist attractions, according to the U.S. industry bible Womens Wear Daily, Bal Harbour Shops is perennially ranked one of the most productive shopping centers in the U.S. With a collection of exclusive and luxurious retail stores that would be hard to find side by side almost anywhere else in the world outside of Paris, Milan or New York, this stylish shopping center welcomes dogs in some of the stores and outdoor restaurants. www.BalHarbourShops.com.
Barnacle State Historic State Park: Deep in the heart of bustling Coconut Grove, this park houses the oldest home in its original location in Miami, designed and built by Commodore Ralph Middleton Munroe, one of Miami’s early pioneers. Here in this peaceful spot overlooking Biscayne Bay, one can imagine life in South Florida’s nascent days, before any roads had been built. Leashed dogs are allowed in the outdoor areas of the park. www.FloridaStateParks.org/TheBarnacle.
Bill Bags Cape Florida State Park: This spectacular beach park in Key Biscayne offers an historic lighthouse, trails you can walk on with your leashed dog, and rentals such as bikes and kayaks. www.FloridaStateParks.org/CapeFlorida.
Coopertown Airboat Rides and Restaurant: Offering thrilling airboat rides and alligator exhibitions since 1945, professional guides lead tours through Hardwood Hammock to see wildlife in its native Everglades environment. The restaurant menu includes exotic items such as frog legs and gator tail. Some of the boat drivers will allow dogs if there’s space and the animal is experienced with noisy boats and rides. www.CoopertownAirboats.com
Coral Castle: The mystery of its impressive construction is only surpassed by its beauty and the mystery of why it was built at all. Carved from more than 1,100 tons of rock and home-made tools – by a man 5 feet tall and only about 100 pounds – this amazing sculptured estate was featured on the ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’ television show. Dogs are allowed on site if leashed and under their owner’s control. www.CoralCastle.com.
Dog Bar: Considered the nation’s most unique full-service luxury specialty pet supply store, the Dog Bar has been bringing the latest and greatest dog and cat merchandise to the privileged pet since 1996. With locations on Miami’s Lincoln Road, Midtown and Miracle Mile, the store is the city’s favorite destination for those who seek the ultimate lifestyle for their beloved pets. Open 7 days a week until the late night hours, the store offers everything from fun and outrageous products to a complete line of nutritional products for the health and well-being of dogs and cats. For more information, visit www.DogBar.com.
Dog Parks: There are many dog parks for socialized pets throughout Greater Miami and the Beaches, such as Dog Chow Dog Park in Coconut Grove’s Kennedy Park. This off leash area offers human and canine visitors lots of shade trees, benches, and water; plus there is a separate section for small dogs, and restrooms are on site. Flamingo Bark Park in South Beach is a popular pooch play yard with landscaped grounds, skill and training equipment, water fountains for hounds and humans, and waste stations. Dogs must be leashed when not in designated off-lead areas.
Fruit and Spice Park: Nearly 40 acres (16 hectares) in size, this one-of-a-kind tropical botanical garden has more than 500 varieties of fruit, nut and spice trees on property. Although dogs are not allowed during normal visiting hours, they are allowed during festivals at the park, as long as they are leashed. www.FruitandSpicePark.org.
Lincoln Road: This trendy, pedestrian-only street mall in South Beach offers several dog-friendly establishments for eating and shopping. Enjoy great people and pet watching from an alfresco café. www.LincolnRoad.org.
Lummus Park: This popular beach park in the Art Deco District runs along Ocean Drive from 6th to 14th streets, with great opportunities to walk, jog or in-line skate with your leashed dog. It’s also one of the best places to people watch, from supermodels to European and South American tourists. www.MiamiBeachFl.gov/ParksandRecreation.
Oleta River State Park: This beautiful park in Miami offers great hiking and jogging trails for you and your leashed dog. www.FloridaStateParks.org/OletaRiver.
Rickenbacker Causeway Beach: This beautiful beach extends the length of the Rickenbacker Causeway from Downtown Miami to Key Biscayne, offering spectacular skyline and ocean views. Leashed dogs are allowed on the entire stretch. www.MiamiDade.gov.
Village of Merrick Park: Brimming with fountains, lush tropical foliage and a serene garden, this high-end shopping village in Coral Gables allows pets throughout the entire property and many four-legged friends can be seen taking advantage of the water fountain. Several retailers, including Adolfo Dominguez, Coach, Gucci, Juicy Couture and Neiman Marcus, even offer designer pet clothing and accessories. Pets can also join their human companions in dining al fresco at several restaurants which offer pet-friendly outdoor seating, including CRAVE, Yard House, Villagio, SAWA Restaurant & Lounge, C’est Bon Café, and Nordstrom eBar.
For more details, visit www.VillageofMerrickPark.com.
Most hotels charge a special fee for pets and many require the pets to be in crates when they are unattended. Check individual hotels for policies.
SOURCE: The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is a non-profit sales and marketing organization whose mission is to attract visitors to Greater Miami and the Beaches for leisure, business and conventions. For a vacation guide visit our website at www.MiamiAndBeaches.com or call 1-888-76-Miami (US/Canada only) or 305-447-7777. To reach the GMCVB offices dial 305-539-3000. Meeting Planners may call 1-800-933-8448 (US/Canada only) or 305-539-3071 or visit www.MiamiMeetings.com
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