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It's a Dog's (and Cat's) Life at Luxury Hotels

March 05, 2000

Lightly sauteed herbed shrimp. Shredded lamb shank and sticky rice.

If those dishes sound good, be forewarned: You'll have to lap them up from a pet bowl. They're menu selections for cats and dogs staying at Miami's Grove Isle Club & Resort, which has joined a flurry of hotels that pamper the furry crowd. By now, dog biscuits and other treats upon check-in are routine at many luxury lodgings. But there are more exotic options out there. A sampling:

* Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Mexico, provides pet-sized cabanas for use poolside or atop your suite's sunroof, reports Wendy Ballard, publisher of the bimonthly newsletter "DogGone," who visited recently with her two dogs. If Fido is still too tense, he can order a massage ($50 for 25 minutes) or schedule a walk on the beach with a staff member.

* San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito will add your pet's name to the nameplate on your cottage and provide 2-liter bottles of vitamin-enriched, purified "Pawier Water" ($3), among other treats. Its "Authentic Reiki" massage ($65 per half-hour) promises to "balance and align your pet's energies" by targeting 12 body points.

* Alexis Hotel in Seattle has a "pet package" ($25; 24-hour notice required) that includes a water bowl you can take home, dog treats, a "designer" doggie bed in the room, twice-daily walks by the bellman and a copy of the "Seattle Dog-Lovers Companion" guide.

Many hotels, even those that cater to pets, may require a deposit for possible damage, refuse larger pets (for instance, more than 20 pounds) or have other rules. Be sure to check with the hotel when making a reservation.

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