An ever-increasing number of hotels are extending a welcome to animal-lovers and their pets, writes Katrina Lobley.
When arguably Australia's most famous mutt - Koko of Red Dog fame - was doing the promotional rounds in Sydney, the movie-star kelpie's unlikely home away from home was the five-star Sebel Pier One hotel.
"He came back several times - he loved it," says the hotel's director of sales and marketing, David Lowe. "He was recognised but all the staff respected the fact that, just like any celebrity, he didn't want them coming up and bothering him with, 'Oh, I think you're fantastic' and 'I loved your last bark'."
Sadly, Koko did have his last bark in December when he passed away at seven years old, but non-celebrity canines are still welcome at the Walsh Bay hotel, with its views towards the Harbour Bridge.
Twelve of the hotel's 189 rooms are dog-friendly - and owners and dogs have direct room access without walking through the lobby.
Doggy guests also enjoy five-star dining, with the kitchen whipping up $20 gourmet dinners that include poached salmon and green beans, scotch fillet with chunky vegetables, and wagyu mince with steamed potatoes. "We've never had a dog send a meal back," jokes Lowe. A $60 cleaning fee is charged on top of the room rate.
"We have a lot of people from the Gold Coast who fly down with their pets for a weekend - they love the water," says Lowe.
"We also have people from Melbourne who love travelling with their favourite friend; they also come in from the Southern Highlands. We get the companion dogs that are medically certified to travel on buses and so forth, and seeing-eye dogs as well."
Sebel Pier One's sister hotel, Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains at Leura, has a pet-friendly room with a private fenced courtyard.
As more owners take their pets on holiday, or need a pet-friendly stopover, it seem properties are increasingly open to welcoming furred or feathered guests.
Certainly it would be hard to find a more open-minded pet-friendly hotel than Darlinghurst's