Top 10 Cities To Visit with your DOG in the United States and Canada

Dog Friendly has recently released its 2007 list of the Top Dog Friendly Vacation Destinations in the U.S. and Canada.

Boston – Take a boat or whale watching cruise. Walk the Freedom Trail, visit Salem and explore history at Minute Man Park. Your leashed dog is also welcome on the subway.

Vancouver – Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge and park. Take a walking tour of Historic Gastown. Take the ferry and visit nearby Victoria and beautiful Butchart Gardens.

New York – Stay in luxury at many fine hotels. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Take a walking tour of lower Manhattan. Ride the carriages. Watch a morning show. Shop in many famous stores.

San Francisco – Luxurious hotels, outdoor dining, the Golden Gate Bridge, Baker Beach and many off-leash areas. Ride the cable car to the Fisherman’s Wharf area and stroll with your dog.

Austin – Visit Zilker Botanical Gardens, catch a horse and carriage ride, dine in outdoor cafes. See the bats leave the Congress St Bridge at dusk. Use the city’s many parks.

Portland – Enjoy over 20 off-leash areas, an amusement park and the famous Rose Gardens. Dine at the Lucky Lab. Visit the Saturday Outdoor Market and hike in the Colombia River Gorge.

Northern Virginia – Dine or enjoy happy hour in dog-friendly Alexandria. Take the Canine Cruise on the Potomac. Visit outdoor monuments in Washington and Virginia.

Orlando – Stay at resorts such as the Portofino Bay and Sheraton World. Take a boat cruise, shop Winter Park, and dine at Sam Snead’s where Jeb Bush signed the doggy dining law.

San Diego – Off-leash dog beaches. Stay at Loews Coronado Resort. Shop at dog-friendly Otay Ranch Shopping Center complete with a dog park. Dine outdoors. Visit nearby Julian.

Dallas/Fort Worth – Ride a carriage, visit Pioneer Plaza, take a walking tour. Visit Fort Woof dog park and the Stockyard in Fort Worth. Dine on Texas BBQ at outdoor restaurants.

St.Regis Resort, Fort Lauderdale Opens

The 166-room St. Regis Resort Fort Lauderdale has opened on Florida’s Gold Coast. Located on the beachfront promenade, the resort features a 5,000-bottle wine room with a separate cellar that can be reserved for private events. Each room and suite offers a view of either the Atlantic Ocean or the Intracoastal Waterway and features leather furnishings, 1940s-era black and white photographs on the walls, wi-fi, DVD players, second TVs in the bathrooms, silk robes, Pratesi linens and Remede bath amenities.

The property is offering several specials to celebrate its grand opening. With the Luxury Has a New Address package, guests will receive a complimentary upgrade to a higher room category, a Remede Complete Treatment Spa Gift and a $50 food and beverage credit. The Magic of Four package offers guests who stay three nights a fourth night for free.

Do you plan to visit the St. Regis Resort, Fort Lauderdale? When you get back, review it for us!

Know how you can Cancel your Hotel Reservations

The Chicago Tribune’s Cost of Canceling is in the Fine Print highlights cancellation policies at Expedia and other sites. The story reminded me of some basics hotel travelers should keep in mind when making and canceling hotel reservations.

Know the cancellation policy before you book. When you make your reservation, whether by phone or online, make sure to hunt down the hotel or web site’s cancellation policy. And remember that cancellation policies may vary depending on the rate you choose. For example, super-cheap Internet rates can have no-cancellation rules written right into the fine print. Paying slightly more for the same room might give you more flexibility.

Call the vendor first. If you have to cancel your reservation, your first point of contact should be the company through which you made your reservation. If you made a reservation through Travelocity and you discover you have to cancel it at the last minute (say, because your flight got delayed or canceled), call Travelocity’s customer service before contacting the hotel directly.

Keep important customer service numbers on hand. When traveling, it can be a big help to have customer service phone numbers for airlines, hotels and online travel agents. If you get stranded at the airport, you can get help with your contingent travel plans and reservations as efficiently as possible.

Cancel the whole reservation. When you cancel a hotel reservation for multiple days or with multiple rooms, make sure to confirm with the company that you’ve actually canceled everything associated with the reservation and not just part of the trip.

Ask for a cancellation confirmation. When you do cancel a hotel reservation, print out the cancellation confirmation you receive online or ask the customer service representative to send you a copy via email or regular mail. This will be helpful if charges still end up on your credit card.

Lastly, my advice when canceling a reservation is to do it over the phone. I find that making reservations is easiest online, but I have less confidence in canceling them that way. I’d rather speak to a person who can tell me what, if any, cancellation penalty charges I am responsible for and when they will appear on my credit card.

Luxury Camping in Sequoia National Park

I’ve blogged before about luxury camping at California destinations like Costanoa Coastal Lodge and Camp, where guests can camp in a gorgeous outdoor setting with luxuries like steam rooms, fireplaces, wi-fi and gourmet meals just steps away.

Now there’s a newcomer to the California luxury camping scene: The Sequoia High Sierra Camp in California’s Sequoia National Park. Guests can either drive most of the way into the camp and hike one mile to the actual site or approach it like a backcountry adventure with a 11-mile hike in. Once there, the camp’s 36 canvas bungalows offer perks like pillow-top mattresses, reading lanterns, coffeemakers and daily maid service. Of course, there’s still a rustic element: campers have to walk to the shared bathroom facilities. But it doesn’t get rougher than that.

The bathrooms offer towels, toiletries and dressing rooms. The $250/person per night rate does sound a bit steep, but at least it includes three gourmet meals each day – one being a “pack your own” picnic lunch. That means way more room in your pack for fun stuff. Like wine! Or extra camera equipment to photograph the 2 million acres of wilderness that surrounds the camp. Reservations are now being accepted for the summer season, which runs June 15-October 7, 2007.

Naladhu Maldives Resort Opens Again

Naladhu Resort

The Madives just got a little more luxurious (and you thought that wasn’t possible). The 19-bungalow Naladhu Resort sits on its own atoll surrounded by a coral reef in the Indian Ocean. The bungalows, which the resort refers to as houses, have private plunge pools set under pavilion-like roofs. And of course, inside you’ll find amenities like private steam rooms, wi-fi, Bose stereo systems and feather mattresses.

Through August 31, 2007 the resort is offering a 5-day Culinary Journey package which includes five nights in an ocean front “house,” transfers to and from Male airport, daily breakfast, a cooking class with the resort’s chef and nightly dinner – each in a different setting (e.g. one is during a sunset sail, another is in the resort’s coconut grove). Cost for two: $11,000.

Mandalay Bay’s Beach Makeover

The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV has spent a pretty penny upgrading its Gold Class rooms (they now have plasma Tvs, wi-fi, bathroom tvs and MP3 docks) and revamping its outdoor pool area and beach. If you’ve stayed at the Mandalay Bay before, now’s a good time to give it another try. Along with fresh decor and amenities in the rooms, guests will find swanky poolside daybeds for up to six, 10 new beach bungalows, climate-controlled poolside gaming tables, over 1,000 new beach chairs and loungers and a new sit-down beach side grill.

Most of the construction will be done on the beach area by April 15, but the restaurant won’t open until June. If you’re planning a trip, you can check out the Mandalay Bay beach construction schedule for more information.

Marmara Manhattan $269 Suite Deal

Yes, it’s pushing $300, but the Marmara Manhattan Hotel’s special Spring rates are a good deal for travelers who want upscale, boutique surroundings and amenities like free high-speed Internet access. Suites are outfitted with kitchens, separate dining areas and desks. One-bedroom suites have sleeper sofas in the living area. The hotel slaps on an extra $25 for each person beyond two guests, but you could pay the extra $50 and easily fit four in the room. And the rooms aren’t bad to look at, either. Very crisp and modern.