Creature Comforts

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 30 2007 12:00 AM ET

The Royal Treatment: Rubens At The Palace, London
Located across from Buckingham Palace in a regal
1911 building that once housed debutantes attending
royal parties, Rubens at the Palace
(011-44-20-7834-6600; doubles from approximately $300 plus
refundable pet deposit) makes a grand stop for canines
of distinction (and their gay owners) who prefer
traditional flair to over-the-top boutique flourishes.
The Pets at the Palace program provides treats, toys, and a
Rubens tag upon check-in; a custom pet bed, food and
water bowls (mineral water, of course), and a do not
disturb/pet sleeping card await en suite. The cozy
accommodations, with their fabric walls and rich mahogany
furnishings, are as perfectly tailored as a Savile Row
suit, while the Royal Wing takes ruling-class style up
a notch with eight British monarch-themed rooms. Human
guests can dine on Yorkshire pudding and Angus beef in the
Old Masters Carvery and Grill Room or take high tea with a
stable-side view of the Royal Mews as their furry best
friend enjoys the in-room pet menu, featuring Woof
Waffles (potato waffles with sausage) and the Meaty
Muncher (steak in gravy). Ceremonial St. James's Park and
serene Green Park flank Buckingham Palace, offering
more than 100 dog-friendly acres for exploration. The
Soho gayborhood and its gay bars on Old Compton Street
are a couple miles away, and tube transport via Victoria
Station is less than a five-minute walk from the
hotel. No need to watch the clock during a night on
the town -- the hotel's pet concierge will arrange for
a dog-sitter. Quintessentially English but never stuffy, the
service at Rubens should satisfy the fussiest of queens on
two or four legs.
Link Rubens Hotels

Hip Urban Escape: Hotel Helix, Washington, D.C.
Let's face it, some dogs are divas. The ultramod Hotel
Helix (800-KIMPTON; from $109) brings WeHo panache to
uptight D.C. with 208 funky, color-splashed rooms and
suites, creating a haven for style-conscious pets and
their human companions just a short walk from Logan
Circle. After prancing through the pink-and-blue lobby,
pooches are greeted with their own water bowl, dog
mat, and Helix bone. Book the "doggie style" pet
package (from $199, available weekends and daily
during the summer and holidays), which also includes a
canine mani-pedi and a pet-size robe with the hotel
logo. Socialize with Fido on the outside patio, site
of the festive "Dog Days of Summer Happy Hour"
(June-September), or let poochie relax in the room while you
unleash your inhibitions with champagne at the daily Bubbly
Hour. Then show off that prized pedigree on a stroll
through the nearby pet-friendly gayborhoods of Logan
Circle and Dupont Circle.
Link Hotel Helix

Coastal Retreat: Gazebo Inn Ogunquit, Maine
The picturesque Gazebo Inn (866-275-0648; $99-$229), a
restored 1847 farmhouse situated one mile north of the
gay-popular resort town of Ogunquit, will delight dogs
and owners who dislike urban cacophony. Five of the 10
rooms (5, 7-9, and the suite) are open to well-behaved dogs
of all sizes and have outside doors for instant
fresh-air access. Owners Scott Osgood and Bruce
Senecal, a couple for 21 years and proud parents of
two cocker spaniels, welcome an average of three dogs a week
and a mix of gay and straight clientele. Furry guests
receive a heaping order of lobster biscuits served in
a ceramic dish created for the hotel by a local
artist. Meanwhile, dog owners enjoy romance-enhancing room
options like fireplaces, two-person Jacuzzi bathes,
and walk-in steam rooms. Winter is an ideal time for
windswept strolls along Footbridge Beach, a lovely
10-minute walk from the inn and a respite from Ogunquit
Beach's main drag. Cross a plank bridge over the
Ogunquit River to reach this sugary stretch of sand,
where dogs are allowed from October 1 to March 31. For
canine-loving gay couples, it's a paws-down perfect getaway.
Link The Gazebo Inn