This past weekend we went on our annual January trip to Victoria, BC. Last year we had such a fabulous time staying at the Laurel Point Inn that we thought we’d try them again. I always say that it’s easy for a hotel to be nice the first time you come to stay, particularly when you email in advance and have a nice chat about bringing your dogs etc. If you read my post about the hotel last year, you can see how it seemed like they really went out of their way, beyond the usual, to ensure that we had a nice stay.
I felt that this year would be more of a test; I booked ages in advance, didn’t call to confirm or make personal contact, just thought we’d show up and see what it was like. Scott was able to check in on Friday but I was delayed with work so the dogs and I didn’t arrive till Saturday morning. He said the room was ‘nice’, and mentioned that ‘yes’ there were dog beds. I was already skeptical thinking it wouldn’t be quite ‘as nice’ as last year.
When we arrived Holly our littlest dog was beside herself with excitement, she ran into the room and leapt into her Daddy’s arms. Tigger, the more refined traveler, marched in, and went straight for the dog treats that had been set out, picked one up and settled in immediately on the cushy dog bed. Apparently he was feeling right at home!
The room was equally as nice as last year; I love the patio, and the spaciousness of the suite. The dog treats, waste bags and water bowls were a welcoming touch. I like that the tv set up isn’t overly complicated, I like that the sheets and duvet feels luxurious. And I love that there’s a kettle and tea supplies. I’d also like to say I love the chocolates that they set out on the cute little ceramic plate but someone in our party ate them before I arrived!
Despite all of the above, what I most liked about staying at the Laurel Point Inn was more about what didn’t happen. When we passed employees in the hall, they would smile and/or say hi. What they didn’t say when Holly was skipping along at Scott’s heels, her leash dragging behind her, was ‘your dog needs to be ON leash!’ I kept expecting this comment because I know the rules and I’ve stayed in hotels where dogs didn’t just need to be on leash, you were meant to actually carry them through the lobby, as if they were a bicycle with muddy tires.
So no one made any comments about dogs being on leash or walking down the halls as if they owned the place. But the single BEST thing that they didn’t say to us was ‘you need to come back and get your dogs now!’ Let me back up a bit. As mentioned, Holly was giddy with excitement when we arrived. We tried to settle her down, and then headed out to get a bite to eat, leaving Holly and Tigger in the room with toys and treats to keep them busy. Sure Holly barked a bit as we were leaving but we assumed she’d settle down like usual in a few moments. We were wrong.
We were a few blocks away, deciding what to order for lunch when we got a phone call from the hotel advising us that someone had complained of barking dogs in our suite. Immediately we said, ‘Oh no! We’re so sorry, we’ll come back immediately’. The hotel responded by saying, ‘Don’t rush back, finish what you’re doing. When do you think you will be back?’ We told them, ‘Well we’re just having lunch so it could be an hour but we could come back now and get the dogs’ to which the response was, ‘No problem, enjoy your lunch, we’ll see you later’. No problem? Really? It was hard to believe that they didn’t want us back immediately. At that moment I knew that they weren’t just being polite, that they weren’t being ‘dog-tolerant’ and that they’d moved well beyond the category of ‘dog-friendly’. This is an establishment that genuinely cares about customer service regardless of who the customer is, be it a dog person or a non-dog person.
And speaking of non-dog people, we were traveling as part of a larger group and many in our party, without dogs, were staying in the same hotel. We took time to compare notes, and there were a few other things that transpired, one a noise complaint about someone in our group, that was handled so professionally that they weren’t left with a negative feeling at all. Another situation was with a couple that had to book an extra night and their particular room wasn’t available. Staff were quick to respond and very helpful in changing their arrangements for them. I heard from two others that the meal they had in the Aura restaurant was simply amazing.
So Laurel Point Inn, I have to say you passed the test with flying colours. The irony of people complaining that our dogs were too noisy was probably exacerbated by the fact that despite being what appears to be a super busy high traffic hotel, the place is SO quiet. I think if this was a more typical hotel, the general noise of doors shutting, elevators dinging and people talking in the hallways would have tempered the sound of our barking dogs. At least that’s my excuse. Thank you again for your hospitality.