When friends from the East coast recently told me that they’d be staying at Santa Barbara’s Four Seasons Biltmore, I turned to my Labrador, Duncan, and said, “Road trip.” Here are some reasons you, too, should consider taking your dog to this world-famous hotel.

1. Duncan would tell you that the first and best reason to stay at the Biltmore is its proximity to the beach. Smelling the sea air, she bounded across the street and down the flight of stairs to one of the friendliest dog beaches in Southern California. An hour later she was still game to retrieve tennis balls from the ocean.

2. Staff – When I drove into valet parking at the Biltmore, I expected that Duncan would stay in the car while I checked in. Instead, the valet encouraged me to bring her into the historic lobby. Staff greeted us both warmly, and the concierge even brought her a cookie.

3. Grounds – As long as she was leashed, Duncan had the run of the Biltmore’s extensive walkways and gardens except for the dining facilities (some dumb California law!). The Biltmore thoughtfully provided its own special waste disposal bags (aka “poop” bags).

4. Room – Spacious, quiet, and tastefully appointed as befits a Four Seasons. Our cottage had a dining area for Duncan as well as her very own bottled water. I flipped for the beautiful tile bathroom with the rainforest shower and a tub as big as Kansas.

5. Bed – Oprah and Julia Roberts rave about the Four Seasons bed. Who am I to disagree, especially with the zillion thread count sheets they use. Duncan was likewise pleased with her bed; with its tastefully embroidered hotel logo and cushion on which to lay her weary head. She slept as well as I did.

6. Room Service – Long ago my grandmother introduced me to the wonder that is breakfast in one’s hotel room, a tradition I was able to share with Duncan at the Santa Barbara Biltmore. The hotel has a room service menu just for its four-legged guests, so Duncan dined on “The Rin Tin Tin” (chopped sirloin cheeseburger) while I enjoyed a yogurt parfait and excellent coffee. Both of us could order room service 24 hours a day.

7. In-Room Services – In-room spa treatments have become standard fare for luxury hotels, but the Biltmore offers two massage options just for dogs. Next time, Duncan, I promise.

8. Price – Yes, taking your dog to the Biltmore is expensive ($500+/night) but, ever the bargain hunter, I asked about deals. Turns out, by using my American Express Platinum, I got a room upgrade, free room service breakfasts and other extras that greatly reduced my overall tab. Duncan would rate the experience priceless.

9. Location – With as athletic a dog as Duncan, I appreciated how far we could walk up and down the beach. We also walked into Santa Barbara and Montecito with no problem.

10. The Four Seasons Experience – In keeping with its reputation for excellence, the Biltmore has designed a dog-friendly experience that mirrors that of its two-footed guests. The hotel has gotten every detail, no matter how small, just right.

I have only one complaint about the Santa Barbara Biltmore’s dog program, and it is a big one. Maximum weight limit for dogs is 70 pounds, to be exact, the weight of my other labrador, Rupert. Also, the one dog per room limit meant Rupert had to stay behind while Duncan and I frolicked on the beach. I see another weekend at the Biltmore in my future.

For more information about the Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore, check out their website.



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