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Sonya Padgett

Las Vegas hotels catering to pet owners

15 November 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- A dog walks into a Strip hotel and says to the desk clerk, "Is my room ready?"

The clerk checks him in, and the pooch enjoys a nice stay in a Strip resort.

What, you expected the dog to be shown the door?

If so, you clearly haven't heard: Caesars Palace, the Rio and Imperial Palace are letting sleeping dogs lie, literally. The Harrah's properties began accepting guests with canine companions in October.

The PetStay Las Vegas program was launched as a way to meet the needs of guests who want to travel with their pets, says Mary Ann Dennis, Harrah's Entertainment's vice president of regional teleservices.

Dogs less than 50 pounds are allowed, and there are no breed restrictions.

It's a popular option in California and, since the state is Las Vegas' biggest supplier of visitors, "we thought we should offer it," Dennis says. "We had a segment of customers who said they wanted to come more often, but they didn't have this option."

Since the trial program was announced last month, the hotels have received a couple of hundred PetStay bookings, far surpassing Dennis' expectations. About 50 percent of those are for returning customers.

"It's been a great success. I'm really surprised at how quickly the word got out," she says.

Caesars, Rio and Imperial Palace were chosen for the test run because the properties are representative of the company's offerings, Dennis says. Plans are in the works to expand the program to include the company's remaining hotels after the end of the year.

It's not a first for the Strip; the Four Seasons has long accepted dogs. But it's a big thing for Harrah's Entertainment, because each hotel had to prepare for canine guests. That included setting aside a certain number of rooms to be pet-friendly, much like some rooms are designated as smoking rooms. Staff had to be instructed in how to clean the pet rooms, such as deep-cleaning carpets and drapery after each occupancy.

Each property also had to create a "pet relief area" for dogs to, well, relieve themselves. Owners can take their dogs off leash in a designated area and allow them to run around, too.

There are a few restrictions. Dogs are allowed to be walked through designated common areas so long as they are on leashes and accompanied by owners. If dogs are left alone in a room, they must be crated. The hotels have crates on hand for rental.

Guests pay $20 extra each night for the Rio and Imperial Palace, and $25 extra a night for Caesars. The cost includes several in-room amenities, such as food and water bowls, a mat, disposable waste bags and dog treats. It also covers the cost of maintaining and preparing each pet room.
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