In an age when dogs enjoy weekly salon appointments and canine antidepressants, why shouldn't they also luxuriate at a spa? That's the thinking at Japan's Izu Kogen Wanwan (or "Doggie") Paradise Hotel, which provides spa retreats to dogs and their owners.
A two-hour drive from Tokyo, amid the golf courses and hot springs of the Izu peninsula, the 66-room Wanwan is one of four such properties operated in Japan by the chain C'est la Vie Resort Izumigo. The bill for people is around $150 a night; for dogs, just $4. You would call the Wanwan "dog-friendly" were that not such a woefully inadequate description of a resort with canine facilities that include an AstroTurf playground, 1,900-sq-m running trail, heated outdoor pool (where dog life jackets can be rented for $5 apiece) and hot-spring baths. Dogs can also accompany their owners to dog-massage classes, before getting a salon makeover and enjoying a buffet dinner that features such delicacies as liver porridge, chicken balls and lamb burgers. The whole bonding experience can even be captured by the hotel's resident photographer.
Owners aren't forgottenthe Wanwan has a dog-free annex with onsen baths and a French restaurant. But if spending even a couple of hours apart seems daunting to you and your pet, relax. The Wanwan's three resident dogs will keep your cosseted canine company in the playroom while you go for a soak and a bite to eat.