Maggie Espinosa, an award-winning travel writer and luxury connoisseur, is one of the 45 million households in the United States with a posh puppy, and part of the elite 21 percent that travels with her pet. A San Diego resident since 1990, Maggie loved traveling locally in SoCal for its perfect weather, beaches, shopping and outdoor activities.
Ratings are done with one to four wags, depending on pet friendliness. The best of the best made the cut to the guidebook with detailed descriptions of settings, decor, service and more. Check out which places offer welcome toys, special doggy menus, spas and special pet sitters.
Examples of some of the amenities:
The Casa Laguna Inn & Spa welcomes dogs for breakfast and at the afternoon wine hour. Owners and dogs can also take part in a "Togetherness Massage." A licensed canine masseuse treats the dog, kneading its back legs and shoulders, stroking its ears and checking paws for proper circulation.
The Healthy Spot, with locations in West Hollywood and Santa Monica, provides blueberry and plum pet facials, milk and honey baths and moisturizing paw rubs. The shelves are stocked with organic and vegetarian cuisine, Fou Fou brand toys and K9 art.
While shopping at Betsy Johnson in Fashion Island, treat your pooch to water and doggy snaps.
*Pups at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel can enjoy the "Grrrreen Dog" package with a recyclable rubber chew, in-room meal and organic cotton bandanna. At check-in, food bowls, treats and a place mat are delivered to the room.
We caught up with Maggie and her pampered pooch Marcel at home in San Diego:
How did the idea for The Privileged Pooch come about?
Maggie: A few years ago I was interviewed by homemaker maven, Heloise, on her syndicated radio show. I had recently stayed at one hotel with my pup, Marcel, and shared the experience with Heloise's listeners. Heloise and her listeners were amazed at the myriad pet amenities offered. So, I thought, hummm, this could be the subject for a book. Hence, The Privileged Pooch idea was born.
What was your favorite pet-friendly destination?
Maggie: It's hard to narrow my favorite destination down to one. In the winter Palm Springs is a fabulous pet-friendly spot. The residents love dogs and there are many pooches vacationing in the desert. Summertime is perfect in Santa Barbara. The weather is glorious and dogs are welcome with open arms.
Where is your next trip? With Marcel?
Maggie: This summer Marcel and I are renting an RV and driving around the western states. I've never "RV'd" before, so my curiosity has the best of me. My husband swears both Marcel and I will be begging for a five-star hotel by day three on the road. We'll see.
Do you have plans for another book?
Maggie: I'd like to extend The Privileged Pooch series to include other parts of the United States - Northern California, CO, TX, NYC, etc. I've also toyed with the idea of The Privileged Pooch in Paris.