24 Hours

September 13, 2006
Kicking back, doggy style
By: Robyn Stubbs
By now, you’ve probably heard of “Chewy Vuitton” handbag squeaky toys, gem-studded collars and gourmet canine cuisine, but Vancouver is about to welcome a whole new kind of pooch pampering.
The Rex Hotel + Spa, which will provide a luxurious and relaxing overnight experience for dogs, is currently under construction at the site of the old Brussels Chocolates building on Terminal Avenue, and is set to open sometime in November.

As the owners of The Doghouse, a successful dog daycare centre, “one of our biggest problems is our clients wanting to know of a good place where their dogs could go while they vacationed,” said Barrie Balshaw, Rex Hotel co-owner.

“There are some pretty good kennels out there, but a lot of dogs are used to being on the couch or on the bed with Mom and Dad.”

The Rex Hotel + Spa will aspire to keep their “clients” schedules and diets as close to what they would experience at home, complete with glass-enclosed suites, an outdoor play area with water park and a minibar stuffed with tasty treats.

But, if $60 a night sounds a little dear, it’s well worth it and not that far off what people are already paying when you factor the cost of gas to drive your loved one out to a kennel in the Fraser Valley, Balshaw said. “Vancouver is a very affluent city,” said Jon Sutherland, partner and CEO of SmartDesign, the company in charge of the new dog hotel design.

“There are a lot of people who really care about their animals, and who can afford these types of things.”