Westminster show dogs enjoy royal treatment at trio of NYC hotels

Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:06pm EST
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By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - At New York's swanky Manhattan NYC hotel, an elite clientele mingled in the frosty air on a turf-lined terrace before retreating into a warm suite filled with fine food and doting handlers who saw to their every need.

This was the weekend before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and some of the world's most valuable purebred canines were enjoying the royal treatment at one of three hotels that specialize in accommodating them before the big event.

"He loves coming to New York. I think he gets excited about being admired," said Lois Claus from Yamhill, Oregon, talking about her enormous Tibetan Mastiff, Stevie, who sprawled out on the carpeted floor. A tiny hairless dog dressed in a cheetah-print jumpsuit cowered behind her owner at the sight of him.

The canines, ranging from 100-pound Borzoi hounds to pint-sized Papillon spaniels, are competing in the prestigious two-day event that starts on Monday and draws nearly 3,000 competitors from around the globe.

Manhattan NYC, an Affinia hotel, and two other properties partner with Westminster to provide both canine and human participants with a place to stay and a lot more.

The hotels, including Hotel Pennsylvania and the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, create lavish accommodation for the dogs that include canine room service, exercise areas and hot tub equipped spas for the show dogs. All three are near Madison Square Garden, where the show is staged.

"We try to give our guests - the four-legged ones and their owners - the ultimate pied-à-terre in New York City," said Claudia Del Greco, spokeswoman for Manhattan NYC, which will host 297 dogs this year.

In addition to the terrace "bathroom break" area and communal socializing suite, the hotel has a dog room-service menu that includes grilled steak.   Continued...

A portrait of a dog is seen next to the elevators at the Hotel Pennsylvania before the upcoming 139th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York February 13, 2015.   REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton