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Creature Comforts

Creature Comforts


Upscale gay-friendly properties that will spoil you and your precious pooch.

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

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