Pet-friendly travel: Idaho's giant beagle hotel (yes, we're serious)
We, of course, are big fans of dogs -- but we're not sure that quite translates to wanting to sleep inside one. No matter -- it seems that Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood, Ida., has plenty of guests willing to shell out $86 ($92 for double occupancy, and an extra $8 for each additional person) to sleep in "the world's biggest beagle."
Dog Bark Park Inn is the kind of giant-animal-themed roadside attraction you don't see much anymore (unless you're traveling through, say, Odessa, Texas or Audobon, Iowa). Husband-and-wife owners Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin have even given their bed-and-breakfast a nickname, "Sweet Willy"; his smaller beagle companion is 12-foot-tall Toby. An 11-foot-tall fire hydrant nearby contains a public restroom, naturally.
Set in a rural region of the Idaho Panhandle, the bed-and-breakfast boasts majestic views of the surrounding prairie from the oddly-placed deck that juts out of Sweet Willy's ribcage. Sullivan and Conklin, artists when they're not hoteliers, also maintain a gift shop that stocks their chainsaw-carved wooden dog sculptures. They've also put their craft to use in Sweet Willy's insides; many of his interior design elements, like the queen-sized headboard's 26 carved beagles, were crafted by the couple.
While hunkering down inside a 35-foot-tall hound may not be everyone's idea of a good time, Dog Bark Park Inn's devotees are downright enthusiastic. "This is a magical place, whimsical yet refined," guest Julie H. writes on its website. (Whimsical we get. Refined?) Another guest waxes poetic: "Playin’ Jenga with my Dad; Doin’ a puzzle together; Sleepin’ in a dog’s head. Nothin’ could be better," writes Mary M.
Reader's Digest named the attraction "Best Hotel for Dog Lovers" in its recent "Best of America" feature. We suspect it's also among the best hotels for dogs, who are welcome (for a $10 fee).
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Frances Conklin and Dennis Sullivan stand below the Dog Bark Park Inn. Credit: Troy Maben / Associated Press