If you’re planning a wedding for the Baltimore area, consider suggesting Hotel Monaco as a memorable place for your guests and EVEN their pets to stay. Read on for my account of my family of five’s Hotel Monaco experience — four people and our 100-plus pound St. Bernard puppy!
At Hotel Monaco Baltimore (2 N. Charles St.) a grand double-sided marble staircase, dating back to when the building was built in 1906, leads you to a lobby with a contemporary, upscale feel, where it doesn’t raise any brows to see a guest wiggling around on the floor with legs splayed in all directions.
The pet pampering begins the moment your dog sets paw in the door and can stop to slurp up some water and devour dry munchies. “Our pet guests see it as soon as they come in,” notes John Tiffey, director of sales and marketing.
My St. Bernard pup, Smuggs, learned in no time to strut up to the lobby desk and give that “I’m ready for a treat,” tilted head look. Hotel Monaco hosts pets at no additional fee, regardless of size or weight — welcome news, considering the youngest member of our family weighs more than my 5 and 7-year-old kids combined and will soon pass me.
At check-in, you even receive a “doggie bag” with some dried bacon and The Pet Times, featuring area pet friendly restaurant suggestions where pets can dine with you alfresco, walking directions to a nearby dog park and more. And yes, the hotel provides the other kind of doggie bags too, if you need them. Each evening, all guests — furry ones too — are invited to gather in the lounge-like lobby for a complimentary happy hour with wine and appetizers.
Unlike the Jack Russell/Beagle mix, who sat quietly on his owner’s lap at our happy hour, Smuggs worked the room — and let’s just say seemed overjoyed and exuberant over all the networking prospects. Just when he seemed to calm down and almost began blending into the scene, he lunged toward a lit candle on a coffee table as if it were his next meal.
That’s when I knew his time to retreat to the room had come. Like an overtired child, he let out a bark, confirming my hunch. While I felt embarrassed, no one else seemed phased. Smuggs spent his night, rotating between the spacious room that my husband and I shared and an adjoining one for our kids—a rare treat considering at home, he doesn’t get to come upstairs.
The hotel had a pair of food and water dishes waiting in our room for Smuggs along with a plush pet bed. Even so, he gravitated to the tile bathroom floor. It must have reminded him of his favorite spot at home. Smuggs wasn’t the only one to get spoiled. Our rooms were stocked with leopard print robes, including petite ones for the kids.
The bathrooms have Aveda products. My daughter talked about the platter in each room of chocolate chip cookies for days. Luckily, this delicacy and what could have become one for Smuggs — the bowl of goldfish in each room —went undiscovered by him.
You can arrange with the “Petcierge” for your pooch to get picked up and taken to a dog spa for grooming services or even a swim. Pet sitting and walking arrangements can also be made, which is especially convenient if the two-legged family members are dancing the night away at a wedding reception.
Leslie Brodsky, the senior catering manager, recalls the couple that had their tuxedo-clad miniature dachshund, Frankie, join them for a portion of their wedding reception at the hotel. “Their dog was a part of the family; they didn’t want to have to separate,” adds John Tiffey. Of having pets and guests interact at the hotel, whether in the elevator or at happy hour, John says, “It just creates a great synergy… The pets help people interact.” He explains that the pets help spark conversations, especially when some guests may miss a pet left at home.
On any given weekend, there are usually anywhere from five to eight pet guests, mainly dogs along with an occasional cat. Smuggs enjoyed greeting a Weimaraner in the elevator. Those with pet family members typically stay on the 10th floor. The room furnishings, which combine a modern feel with historic railroad themed touches, are identical to the rest of the hotel. You’ll find the names of all of the dog guests for the night on a board by the front desk. The staff members come to know each pet guest by name during their stay.
While Smuggs chose to snooze on the tile floor, he certainly seized the moment and tried out one of the ottomans, by comically backing up against it, as if he were pulling into a parking spot in reverse. That’s one luxury he doesn’t enjoy at home. Let’s just say, what happens at Hotel Monaco will stay at Hotel Monaco. Lucky for Smuggs, I’m sure we’ll be back!
Hotel Monaco Baltimore (monaco-baltimore.com, 443.692.6170) opened in 2009. Rooms start at $179 a night. For the convenience of those hosting weddings in the area, rooms can be blocked for guests at a special rate. Ask for the onsite catering department for information about having your wedding ceremony and/or reception at the hotel.
Hotel Monaco has an in-house restaurant. The B&O American Brasserie (bandorestaurant.com) is known for its small plates and brick-oven-fired pizzas.
Wedding411 The Magazine thanks Hotel Monaco for its hospitality and hosting Rebecca and her family for the night. For more information on finding pet friendly hotels, visit bringfido.com. While there, you can also search for pet friendly attractions, restaurants and even vacation destinations.
Three local destinations that put a major emphasis on creature comforts!
When you jet away on your honeymoon or to your destination wedding, you can send your pet off for some R&R at a local pet resort. All three locations listed here — one in Baltimore County, Harford County and Anne Arundel County, recognize that individualized activities for your pets help make their stays away from you happy and relaxed! Plus, these resorts all have lots of space for your pets to play.
REISTERSTOWN BOARDING KENNELS PET RESORT & SPA
14454 Old Hanover Rd. Reisterstown, MD 21136
Designated multiple times as Baltimore’s Best “Pet Motel” by Baltimore Magazine, RBK Pet Resort & Spa offers its canine and feline guests a range of accommodations, plus à la carte amenities. You can add on individual or group playtime. Older pets and more relaxed ones may prefer getting signed up for downtime —quiet time with a staff member for a massage, petting or brushing. There is even swimming for dogs! Rates start at $26 a night for dogs and $18 for cats. Your pet can get groomed before coming home.
COUNTRY COMFORT KENNELS
2102 Mt. Horeb Rd. Street, MD 21154
At Country Comfort Kennels, the activity list reads like a summer camp. You can sign up for a nature walk, a pond swim, playground time and play group. You can also register for some one-on-one TLC. Each camp activity is $10, and dogs must partake in at least one a day during their stay. Four consecutive days earn dogs a free bath. During peak season, including June 8th – Sept. 5th, cat rates start at $16 nightly and dog ones are $30, including one activity. Additional grooming services are also available.
DOGWOOD ACRES PET RETREAT
439 West Central Ave., Davidsonville, MD 21035
Dogs have acres of enclosed play areas, can participate in Lodge & Learn good manners training, and can enjoy a line-up of add-on individualized and small group activities at Dogwood Acres Pet Retreat. Make your pooch feel at home with a belly-rub, tuck-in and story before bed. Cats can also sign up for a VIP play session and other amenities, including a homemade tuna bite treat. Rates start at $24.95 per day for dogs and $19.95 for cats and include daily wellness exams, relaxing music and more. Some activities are extra and can be discounted in packages. Puppies six months and younger stay free! There is also an onsite salon and spa.
Author Credit: Rebecca Klein
Photo Credit: David Phelps (Hotel Monaco)