2020 - a year that is like no other. For me it included another first, a road trip road trip from CT to Florida with my husband and 2 dogs (who normally travel to a neighboring family when we humans are away). We decided to break the trip up into a few stops and made sure to stop at pet friendly hotels. I should mention that pet friendly means different things to different people. To many hotels, it means one pet under 35 pounds. As one of my 2 dogs is 70 pounds, our choices were somewhat limited. Also given Covid protocols, some normally pet friendly hotels are not currently accepting any pets.
We made our first stop for 2 nights at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg Virginia, a 5* pet friendly resort. The Salamander is Virtuoso and part of Preferred Hotels (amenities for my clients include breakfast, a $100 resort credit and upgrade if available). At check in, my dogs were each given their own beds, treats, food and water bowls (I returned everything but the treats). Food at the resort was good, but the Lemon Brioche French Toast was amazing.
Everything at the resort was open. Pools, gym, spa. All staff wore masks and most guests as well including those I saw working out in the gym. The outside public space had numerous big fire pits with chairs which were really nice. The restaurants all had outdoor seating options with heaters (although because of Covid no dogs allowed at the restaurants). Room service was available and there was an extensive menu for dogs.
We were given a room on the first floor with a walkout patio which was great for both social distancing and walking the dogs. Around the resort were many poop bag stations and garbage for pet waste which was totally appreciated. There are a huge amount of activities at the Salamander including equestrian, zip lining, sport shooting, golf, tennis axe throwing, falconry and many more. Middleburg itself is also a very cute historic little city. It is in the middle of wine country VA with lots of wineries, cider barns and restaurants with outdoor seating and heaters.
We left Middleburg and drove a 25 mile stretch of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. This is very scenic and if we had more time and no dogs we would have done more hiking. As it was there were some beautiful scenic turn offs with shorter walks.
We spent the next two nights at Kimpton Hotels, a totally pet friendly chain that does not charge any fees for lodging your favorite fur babies. I really like Kimpton generally because I find the chain provides good value and nice 4* hard product. Our last stop was the Kimpton Brice in Savannah. Savannah is such a great walking/dog friendly City and the Brice was perfect for my babies. The Brice has a big exterior atrium where you could eat breakfast or have cocktails - with or without your pets. We ate with the dogs on the patio of Vics on the River which was their first restaurant experience and everyone totally approved. Our journey ended in Longboat Key, Florida where everyone is enjoying the sun and beach. Our dogs have told us they are now part of our permanent travel pod and plan to road trip with us always.