When a family birthday celebration was recently organized for Sin City, I was curious if bringing Tikka on the trip was viable, for us and for her. I had never brought a dog to Vegas and you don’t see too many around when you are in the hotels or out on the strip. Where would we stay…what about the heat…?
Biggest item for the trip was where to stay – had to be dog friendly of course and ideally close to a decent relief area. I honed in on Vdara Hotel next to the Bellagio. Partly because I had stayed here when it first opened and really enjoyed my stay, but also because I discovered the fantastic dog amenities they had planned out since my last visit. Booking online was easy peasy, a few clicks took us to the Vdog booking options and we were set. Within 24 hours, Vdara concierge sent us an email welcoming us to the hotel and acknowledged that I had a dog with me, asking if there was anything I needed. I requested a crate for the room so that I could save some space in my suitcase from bringing Tikka’s collapsible crate and they were happy to oblige (and it’s free). Hey, a girl always needs space for extra shoes that will never actually be worn during the trip…
After an uneventful Air Canada flight we arrived on time at McLaren airport, ready for our first dog adventure in Vegas. Tikka and I stepped out of the airport and were overcome by a thick wall of heat. It was hot. Very hot. Burning hot. Did I mention it was hot? If it was a shock to my system, I’m sure it was to her as well, so we promptly got in the taxi line and luckily was in air conditioning within 5 minutes. This is something to be really conscious of, travelling to the desert with a dog and dealing with the soaring heat. During our trip we stayed in the air con whenever we could while waiting on taxis etc. Throwing the ball around for some decent exercise was reserved for early am and I checked the pavement with my hand before walking her onto it so that we could avoid any burnt pads.
Check in was a breeze. The crate was on our file so the front desk called to have it delivered to the room right away. Reception popped into the back and came back with a bag of goodies, something they provide for their doggy guests. A quick trip up the elevator to the room and we checked out our swag: A Vdara blanket to keep, that folds up with a handle, a biscuit and info about their dog program. We laid out the blanket on the sofa, knowing full well Tikka would be up there any chance she got.
The crate arrived shortly after we settled in and with such a big room it was easy to have it out of the way. It was a proper heavy crate, and they provided another blanket to put in the bottom without asking. Vdara’s policy is dogs must be crated if no one is in the room, so either bring your own or let them know when you book that you need one. If crating is a no go for your dog, then they will organize a pet sitter to come and hang out in your room while you gamble or catch a show.
Rooms are gorgeous – modern, large and a complete kitchenette with small fridge and hot plate and small dining table, separated from the bed and sitting area. Good open space to brush up on some tricks and bounce the ball around or have a decent game of tug o’ war. The lobby has a small market, so you can fill up your fridge with people snacks or maybe a cheesey treat for tricks.
Tikka is on a raw diet so the fridge is super handy to keep ground turkey fresh from a trip to the grocery store, but we indulged on this trip and ordered from the in-suite dog menu. 3 different dishes are on offer and we settled on a rice and chicken dish.
Room service was quick and Tikka’s breakfast arrived with my pastry selection (* word of caution – Tikka’s breakfast arrived heated up and was incredibly hot, check the temperature before your dog dives in). Even though I ordered a small portion, it was huge (yep, Vegas), so I saved half for the next day and popped it that handy fridge.
A tip for the peoples… Skip the pastries from the room delivery menu and pop over to Aria (3 min connected walk) and indulge in the baked goods and premium teas from Jean Philippe Patisserie. Croissants are flaky and buttery and yum. Nutella brioche? Yes please!
Now here is where Vdara has an edge on other dog friendly hotels in Vegas. Only steps from the lobby is a fenced in dog park! When nature calls and it’s time to pee, no problem. Zip down in the elevator and relief is just a few minutes from your room. There is no long walk to get outside, as unlike most of the hotels on the strip, Vdara has no casino. Calm down gamblers, Aria is only a minute away and Bellagio is connected by a 5 min walkway.
The dog park is small, but it’s fully fenced and nicely maintained with two grassy areas that are actually green in the middle of summer. There is a water fountain for people and dogs, as well as poop bags and a garbage can. So this is why this next comment just fries my ham. It’s a small park with a bench. It has bags. It has a garbage can. But there was still a mess left behind! Who does that?!!??!! People, please pick up after your dog…Indeed the hotel is catering to our every need, so it’s only respectful to pick up the poop and not leave it for the staff. We all want more dog friendly hotels, so let’s work together on this and be the type of pet owner that establishments want to provide for. Rant over.
One comment for the hotel is it would be fabulous to provide some mid day shade. The fence is surrounded by beautiful landscaping and lots of trees, so morning and late afternoon provides a lot of shade with the longer shadows, but come 1pm it’s all gone. I planned around this, which was pretty easy to do, but would be a nice bonus to have a tree in the middle or shade over the bench.
Next to the dog park is a small pathway that loops around another small park that you can wander through on leash. Again, these are not huge play areas, but more than enough for bathroom relief and to stretch their legs. Leave your ‘chuck it’ behind, even I can make that length of a throw… 🙂
When we did venture out for a longer romp we headed over to Charles Frias Dog Park. No more than 5 min in a taxi and the driver let Tikka jump right in. Fabulous park that has three enclosed areas and lots of room for chasing and running. Tikka met some locals as did I, and we got tips on the best steak in town and where to go for some great dog hikes in the cooler months.
No doubt we’ll be bringing Tikka to Las Vegas on future trips, a paws up fron VanDoggo! Nothing better than a wagging tail in your hotel room when you come back with your winnings. And nothing better than a wagging tail when you lost your shirt!