The Hotel Pennsylvania has long been the place to see and be seen, and thus the place to stay, for many purebred dog enthusiasts who are in New York City for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February.
Since 1919 the hotel has been in operation at its location just across 7th Avenue from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, and those in town for Westminster each year have been staying there since the dog show moved to the “new” Madison Square Garden in 1969.
These days, the Hotel Pennsylvania goes the extra mile to make their canine visitors feel welcome. For the week surrounding Westminster, 4,000 square feet on the hotel’s lower level is converted into a one-stop area chock full of amenities just for the show dogs. Amenities include a dog bathing area with raised tubs and plenty of clean, fluffy towels and a “salon” area with grooming tables and other equipment for drying, fluffing, brushing and trimming.
A quick stroll down the hall takes you to a nice big area covered in sawdust – which is changed at regular intervals to keep things as clean as possible and smelling nice – where doggy guests can relieve themselves if they’re unaccustomed to taking care of business on the frigid street, as most city dogs do.
Many years the services of a masseuse (for both dog and owner or handler) and a dog “whisperer” are also available in the “dog spa” area, and one manufacturer provides jog-a-dogs where the pooches can get their daily workouts and their owners can learn about purchasing the exercise equipment for their own homes.
The official entry at Westminster each year is limited to 2,500 dogs, and usually about 2,000 dogs actually compete. In 2006 about half that number, 1,100 dogs, were guests during Westminster, the hotel says.
With all the special attention the Hotel Pennsylvania showers on its canine guests and their humans, it is sure to remain the “pawsitive” choice for where to stay for Westminster.
Christi McDonald is the editor of Dogs in Review magazine.