New York City: Mabel Checks In

Living room at Ink48's Hudson River Suite; courtesy of hotel

Living room at Ink48’s Hudson River Suite; courtesy of hotel.

It can be daunting for a little dog to travel to the big city. Especially when said pooch –– all 10 pounds of her –– isn’t shy about giving bark to her concerns when strangers approach. Hardly the ideal way for man’s best friend to make a good impression when arriving at a New York City hotel, boarding the elevator or greeting the maid at turn down.

Fortunately, Mabel, my Chihuahua-terrier mix, has learned to quickly adapt to new surroundings and show courtesy as a guest (by adhering to a personal policy of no accidents). Since she never wants to be left behind, my husband and I try to bring her on our travels whenever possible.

A veteran of jaunts to the Jersey Shore, coastal New England and the Berkshires, Mabel recently joined us on two separate overnight trips to pet-friendly hotels in Gotham.

Here’s what we learned from taking her to the city that never sleeps –– fortunately, she did.

The Suite Life The humans in the pack enjoyed getting an upgrade from a standard queen room to the Hudson River Suite at Ink48, a Kimpton property in a far west corner of Hell’s Kitchen. We settled right in to a living/bedroom combination that seemed bigger than a typical one-bedroom apartment in NYC. Little Mabel, however, seemed overwhelmed by the space, which also featured a long wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. To ensure her comfort level (and no barking while she was alone), we set up her bed with food and water in the spacious bathroom –– with the glass door closed, it became her den.

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A typically compact guest room at The Marlton; courtesy of hotel.

New York-Size Is Right-Size On another visit to NYC, we stayed at The Marlton Hotel, a boutique property in the West Village that’s affiliated with Tablet. The room proved more typically New York-sized –– just big enough for a queen-size bed, with plenty of space underneath for a small dog to explore; night tables and a small ottoman. (In fact, The Marlton restricts the size of its doggie guests to 30 pounds.) Mabel immediately took to the compact quarters, and enjoyed curling up under (and on top of) the bed.

Sniff Test As any dog owner will attest, finding a spot for your dog to conduct its business is a crucial piece of business when visiting a new place. The Marlton is situated about two blocks from Washington Square Park, which Mabel immediately initiated as her turf. In contrast, the far West Side location of Ink48 is largely a concrete jungle of car dealerships and commercial buildings. The absence of nearby green space –– coupled with residual snow from a recent winter storm –– made the going difficult for Miss M.

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Mabel relaxes in her guest bed at Ink48.

What, No Room Service?! Unlike some properties that charge as much as $50 a night for a pet, neither hotel imposed a separate fee for bringing Mabel. Instead we just had to sign a form accepting responsibility for any damages (there were none). Ink48, as part of Kimpton’s pet program, went several steps further, by providing a Mabel-sized bed, water and food bowls and a mat. In both cases, Mabel dined in room on her favorite meal of kibble, topped with some roasted chicken.

Noises Off Although the humans found Ink48’s location to be convenient to Hell’s Kitchen and the Theater District, Mabel was not amused by the rumble of the constant traffic along 11th Avenue. With trucks ranking just behind mail carriers, Fedex and UPS delivery people, among her least-favorite things, Mabel never completely found her outdoor mojo. In contrast, the small scale (and lightly trafficked streets) around The Marlton made it seem as if she were back home in similarly scaled Philadelphia.