It smelled so savory and looked so like delicious human food that it was a natural next step to look around cautiously, make sure my husband wasn’t looking, and then pop one in my mouth. Soft and slightly tasting of cheddar, the bow-shaped pastries were nearly as good as I’d hoped—a dash of salt could have easily converted them from posh puppy snack to fine happy hour nibble. Then again, they weren’t designed with me in mind.
Chef-made dog treats suitable for human palates? Plush dog beds and pillow-topped mattresses? Let these be just a few examples of the sort of attention to detail this luxury inn pays—details that benefit both the hotel’s furry guests and their credit card-wielding owners.
Kirkland is located just about 12 miles from Seattle, on the gorgeous northeast shore of Lake Washington, putting it close enough for those outside the region to stay here for easy access to the city, yet far enough away that Seattleites can consider it an easy staycation destination.
It may not have the allure of eastern Washington wine country, but what it does have—sun-soaked shores, a walk-able downtown and some fun opportunities for dining and shopping—sets it apart from similarly suburban east-of-Seattle cities dominated by strip malls and industrial business complexes.
The Heathman is in the heart of Kirkland’s downtown area. After leaving our car with the friendly valet (all-day parking is a mere $13, and includes the option to leave and return), we followed our overly eager pups through the main doors and were immediately struck with the sense of calm—a stark contrast to the parade of people (and pets) on the sidewalk outside.
The lobby is decorated in cool tones and brightly colored artwork, bouquets of fresh-picked flowers dotting the multiple coffee tables. Bringing your dogs (especially pups as affectionate as mine) will immediately make you the most popular guest; as one hotel attendant fawned over Mable and Gretchen, the concierge walked us through some of the hotel’s most remarkable amenities:
Two complimentary tickets per room on an Argosy cruise (argosycruises.com) departing from Kirkland around Lake Washington, no reservations needed.
Access to Swobo brand bikes to cruise the town, and a fitness center if you’d prefer to exercise indoors.
Thirty percent off spa treatments booked at the relaxing Penterra Spa located just behind the lobby. penterraspa.com
Unlike other pet-friendly accommodations, the Heathman doesn’t discriminate between breeds or dog size, all they ask is that you keep a limit of two dogs per room and let them know how large your pup is in advance so that they can plan accordingly with their cushy beds and hand-made treats waiting in the room.
Perhaps the Heathman’s most defining amenity for bipeds and quadrupeds alike is its emphasis on comfortable sleeping. The hotel offers an “Art of Sleep” bed menu, where guests can choose a European featherbed, pillow-top, or Tempur-Pedic mattress to rest their weary bones.
Dogs get the same treatment, with pillow-top, Dolce Vita heated and organic bumper beds all available. However, let’s be realistic: you’re a better disciplinarian than I if you’re able to keep your pooch from snuggling up next to you on your European featherbed on a cool fall evening.
The four of us stayed so comfortably in our room—one of the hotel’s five Symphony Suites, a spacious unit recommended for those bringing pets, ranging from $249-$309 per night—that we didn’t even make the time to take advantage of the free transportation, gym services or cruise passes. A multiple-night stay is recommended if you want to truly utilize everything the hotel has to offer. Sliding glass doors open onto a patio bathed in afternoon sunlight, highlighting the cool blues, sea greens and chocolate browns in the room’s color palette.
Now, let’s talk dinner. If you happened to forget your pooches’ chow, as we did, there’s no in-room doggie feast like some posh places offer now. Honestly, that’s just as well—it gives you an excuse to get out and explore the surrounding community. There’s a lovely little shop called Barkz (barkz.com) just a couple of blocks away that sells small bags of high-quality dry food for just $5, perfect in a pinch.
After Mable and Gretchen gobbled their dinner in record time, it was our turn: Trellis restaurant downstairs in the Heathman provided a lovely spot to enjoy a cocktail—the pomegranate basil martini is especially delightful—on the lounge-like outdoor couches or a more complete meal either on the street-side patio or inside the heated dining room. We opted for a full dinner, paired with great people watching, outdoors.
Trellis sources much of its produce from Executive Chef Brian Scheehser’s 10-acre farm in Woodinville, so the menu changes seasonally (and some dishes daily) depending on what’s available. If you’ve got the liberty to visit on a Sunday or Monday, take advantage of their special three-course dinner priced at $29, with 29 bottles of wine from the restaurant’s more than 200-bottle collection offered at half price. A great deal considering it’s quite easy to rack up a $100 bill between two people, as we did while our pups slept off their dinner.
In that respect, humans and dogs are much the same—after a big meal, there’s nothing better than taking a little rest. That rest for you could include a pay-per-view movie and some dessert ordered from room service, or perhaps a leisurely stroll down to the waterfront (just a five- to 10-minute walk), where you can sit on a park bench and watch kids playing on the grassy area and boats coming in after a day on the lake.
Make sure to bring along your four-legged friends for the walk, and have them take advantage of the grassy area at the shore, as the closest potty patch to the hotel is a block in either direction (either at the bank on one corner or the library on the next). Once you all get tucked into your ultra-luxe beds, you won’t want to leave—trust me. Just save a few of those doggie treats for breakfast the next day.
Gear up for the Heathman at the CityDog Shop.
220 Kirkland Avenue
Hotel Direct: 425.284.5800
Rates start at $249 for a Symphony Suite. Features a one-bedroom suite, with a parlor area, King bed with your choice of three different sleep enhancing mattress styles from the Art of Sleep bed menu, a pull-out sleeper sofa, wet bar, LCD HDTV, complimentary WiFi, spacious work area and large balcony.
220 Kirkland Avenue
220 Kirkland Avenue
Kirkland, WA 98033
Spa Direct: 425.284.5855
heathmankirkland.com (click Spa)
11111 NE 8th Street
115 Lake Street South
Barkz offers a complete range of quality dog products, including healthy natural dog food, toys, treats, and more.