As a pet parent to two rambunctious six-year-old dogs, I am well-acquainted with the ensuing stress and exasperation when planning a short getaway with them from our home in Mumbai. From point blank refusals to allow my twin girls to stay with me, to half-hearted, multi-conditional okays, I’ve seen and heard it all when dealing with hotels, homestays, B&Bs and house rentals for our prospective staycations.
Thankfully, there are a handful of places in and around the city that are more than happy...excited even, to have you come over for short stay with your pets in tow. Something I’ve been taking full advantage of over the last few weekends, especially during the recent pet stress-inducing festive season. Escaping with my pets, away from all that, to places where they can chill and relax while enjoying all the creature comforts (pun intended!) of home has been a great idea.
So, here is my curated list of places that make it their mission to ensure, not just a relaxing staycation for you, but a 'pawsome' time for your pets too!
As part of the worldwide smart economy hospitality brand of ibis, the recently launched Vikhroli outpost features 249 rooms, stacked over 15 floors with each paying homage to the 'Maximum City' with their contemporary décor, including murals featuring Mumbai’s iconic dabbawalas.
Most importantly, at ibis Mumbai, Vikhroli, you and your pets can enjoy a number of facilities and services on your staycation. So, while you tuck into Mumbai cuisine-inspired dishes like a trendy crabmeat vada pav at the hotel’s Spice It restaurant, your pet too has its own in-room dining menu. The pet menu features snacks and ready-to-eat dishes such as boiled eggs, boneless chicken, herb chicken with pasta, lamb, chicken liver, and cottage cheese. The hotel even goes so far as to provide you with fish food, in case you choose to bring your very own Nemo along with you! To make these stays hassle-free and enjoyable, a number of welcome amenities such as food bowls, puppy pads, and plenty of treats are available on request.
Part of the SaffronStays collection of properties, the ‘punnily' and aptly-named Summer Salt is a gorgeous villa neatly tucked away on the secluded and widespread Akshi Beach, with attractions like the Kanakeshwar Temple and Angre Fort located a stone’s throw away. This six-bedroom, pet-friendly pool villa embraces nature to the fullest and allows the gentle ocean breeze to waft into the interiors through its 17 doors. Thoughtful old-world architecture with high ceilings makes this vacation home seamless and breezy.
What we like most about this villa is that there are absolutely no restrictions when it comes to your pets and you can have them roam freely, sans leash or harness anywhere in and around the villa. Including, having them enjoy a dip in the swimming pool or a few laps of the doggie paddle, perhaps. The villa also comes with a caretaker and a cook to take care of all you and your pet’s comfort and hospitality needs. saffronstays.com
Taking two very fun concepts of an overnight live music concert and that of a movie night under the stars, Bandcamp Talkies by White Collar Hippie hosts its weekly, pet-friendly camps at two venues in and around Mumbai. One is in the suburb of Bhayandar at their very own campsite and the other at Alibaug that’s a short ferry ride from Mumbai’s Gateway of India pier. At both venues which are pet-friendly, one can listen to an interesting lineup of local indie bands like Bryy and Tracks play at the amphitheatres. Those with a predilection for cinema can settle down on comfortable rugs and catch movies such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Away We Go among others while enjoying a spot of BBQ (for pets it’s BYO pet food). With a capacity of hosting 10 to 80 people at one time, the campsites are equipped with tents for you to snuggle up with your fur babies in. There are also restrooms (with designated pet relief areas, too) along with staff hired from the local communities to assist you.
Reflecting its French roots—that highlights the country’s love for all things chien (dog)—is the Sofitel brand’s ethos. One wherein pets of a certain size are welcome to stay with guests at almost all Sofitel properties across the world. At Sofitel Mumbai BKC, your staycation with your furry family member is made possible, irrespective of whether you’re put up in a regular guest room or in the hotel’s posh Club Millesime room category. You and your pet, both, are promised just as much importance and pampering, like all the other guests, to make you feel welcome. For any of your small to mid-sized four-legged friends, the hotel offers food bowls, towels, special snacks, treats, and pet-friendly meals, on request. What’s more, you can feel free to get in touch with the hotel’s Concierge for any information on pet accessory shops, salons or a veterinarian. After all, home isn’t home without a man’s pawsome best friend!
Overlooking the expansive Mahalaxmi Racecourse, this vertiginous midtown Mumbai hotel is THE staycation destination for all you city lovers. And yes, at an additional cost, pets under 15 kgs are as welcome here as you are! Not only does the hotel provide your pet with their own comfortable in-room cot, but they will also throw in a few toys and treats to make sure that they are well settled in. Speaking of treats, the hotel chefs will be more than happy to rustle up a ‘gourmet meal' for your cuddly friend. The hotel’s lawn is also at your disposal for walks and runs with your pet. However, the hotel’s pool and restaurants are off-limits.
One of the city’s oldest hotels, and a major Cuffe Parade landmark, the iconic ‘President' now rebranded as President, Mumbai—IHCL SeleQtions has recently started welcoming pets as well. They can now stay with you in your room for an additional fee. Augmenting this new pet-friendly policy is everything from a specially put-together in-room dining pet menu to allowing them entry into HerbHouse, the hotel’s pet-friendly poolside restaurant. But that’s not all. The President also hosts an occasional ‘Canine High Tea' for your dogs to make friends, play games, and generally have a tail-wagger of a time!
As one of Mumbai’s best options for a relaxed and luxurious staycation, this Santacruz East-located five-star hotel extends its hospitality to pets as well. All pets weighing up to a maximum of 25 kgs are catered to here at an additional fee. But only one pet per room or suite is permitted and pet parents must ensure that their fur babies are fully vaccinated, neutered, and chipped. The hotel makes sure to give your pet’s staycation that special touch by offering them a separate bed, meals, treats,, and a water bowl to help them stay well-hydrated.
Dos and don’ts to make sure your pet’s ‘pawcation’ is a stress-free one: