By Dale E. Smith
Travel Tails kept us close to home June 4th. This adventure would take us to Leawood, Kansas, a suburb on the Kansas side of the Kansas City Metro and about 8 miles from our house. It is an area we know all to well; the studio for our radio show is just a few blocks away.
Weekend stays in your hometown are a vacation without the travel expense, and in the present economy we could all use a break from the daily grind without breaking the bank. So, we packed up Keegan and our weekend gear and off to Leawood we went.
The Aloft (pronounced with a short a, just like ‘Aloha’) sits in a new area of Leawood, KS called Park Place. As you pull in to the hotel the quaint area streets are lined with shops and restaurants. Pulling up we could tell this would be a good pet friendly property as there was plenty of patio furniture outside many of the restaurants. There is a nice little park
directly across the street and behind that there was even some undeveloped green space (the perfect spot to sneak in a little off leash ball chasing). WARNING! Unless you have 100% confidence in your ability to control your dog with voice commands, NEVER LET YOUR DOG OFF LEASH unless it is an approved and legal off leash park or area. Remember, no matter how well behaved your dog is, there are still leash laws.
We decided this trip we would forgo the valet parking and pulled into the parking garage. It was only about a half block from the garage to the front door of the hotel and we packed light knowing we could run home if we forgot anything. You enter the front automatic doors and in front of you are the elevators. The first thing I noticed to our left, a very nice bar and restaurant with outdoor patio furniture. A pet friendly patio at the hotel. PERFECT!
The check in for the hotel is on the second floor. We came off the elevator and the first thing you see in front of you is a view of the park across the street. Walking straight ahead off the elevators took us to a roofed balcony. The lobby area was huge! A group of sitting areas with sofas, chairs, coffee tables, it looked more like a sunken living room with a great view than a hotel lobby. To our right, the check in desk, to our left was the w xyz bar. We checked in with no hick ups; by now Keegan is an old pro at hotel travel. While I did the paper work at the front desk, Stacy and Keegan went and explored the balcony. I am not sure how to explain the décor of the hotel except it is very hip for lack of a better term. It is open, breezy and relaxing.
The Aloft’s website explains their lobby like this:
“Meet & mingle with friends at our w xyz(SM) bar, grab a sweet, savory, or healthy snack from re:fuel by Aloft(SM), our 24/7 pantry, or play in our re:mix(SM) lounge. Plus, you can always stay connected with complimentary hotel-wide wired and wireless Internet access!”
Wanting to get unloaded we ventured back to the elevators and headed up to our room. Our room was equipped with a King Size bed, treats for Keegan on the counter, along with a water bowl by the bed and a very nice dog bed in the corner.
The rooms are smaller than other hotels we have been in but you don’t feel cramped for space. The hotel has made very efficient use of the space. Closet and shelving neatly tucked in the wall with a curtain for a closet door. Very nice, chic, sink and mirror. The bathroom and shower were separated from this area by a mirrored pocket door. The only thing that might cause a space issue is if your dog needs to stay in a kennel. The room reminded us of rooms we have stayed in much larger cities where square footage is at a premium.
Now that we were settled in we ventured back down to the lobby area with Keegan in tow. I headed over to the w xyz bar to order cocktails and Stacy took Keegan out on the balcony. I asked the bartenders if it was okay to bring the dog in to the bar area. They not only said yes, they filled up a water bowl and brought it out for him. The entire bar area and lobby was pet friendly. They serve no food so the regular restrictions didn’t apply. By evening the bar the lounge and the balcony were filled with patrons.
Dinner time we decided load up and made a short drive to a restaurant across the way. Stacy and I were feeling like a burger rather than anything that was available within walking distance. We made a short drive, but you could really have walked to the restaurant we chose, but it was hot and Stacy wasn’t wearing
shoes appropriate for walking anywhere but to and from the car. The drive was about two minutes.
The Aloft sits right in the middle of a very upscale area in the burb’s of Kansas City. Within walking distance of the hotel there are approximately twenty restaurants, about half of which allow pets on the patio – you’ll have plenty of dinning options. We have found that is very important when traveling with a pet. If you would like to shop during your stay, you are within a short walk to hundreds of upscale shops. There are bookstores, clothing, jewelry, sporting goods and more. There is even an AMC theater next door if you want to catch a movie.
If you want to get away for a bit and are worried where to leave rover, there are plenty of doggie daycares, pet sitters and boarding facilities close by. There are even two veterinary hospitals within walking distance.
In case you’re wondering, Aloft is a Starwood hotel, the parent company of hotel chains such as the Westin, LeMeridien, W Hotels, Sheraton, and others.
For more information visit Aloft’s website http://www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels/index.html
Thank you to our Travel Tails Sponsors:
Peak Waggers, gourmet dehydrated dog food for the trails and beyond – www.peakwaggers.com – The official travel dog food for all of our adventures!