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Lucky Dogs: Pampered Pooches Indulge at Luxury Pet Resort

By Kyla Gardner | March 1, 2013 6:44am | Updated on March 1, 2013 9:41am

O'HARE —The guests at this resort get poolside views. They book private rooms with flat-screen TVs, cable included. For a little extra cash, they indulge in manicures, hair trims and massages at the spa.

But they also poop on the floor. Or in a litter box.

The four-legged guests at Paradise 4 Paws, "Chicago's premier resort for cats and dogs," might just be taking the most pampered vacations in city limits, human or otherwise.

"We go above and beyond in a lot of different ways," said Saq Nadeem, the company's founder and self-appointed "top dog."

Basic rooms in the completely indoor facility — Deluxe Suites — start at $49 per night. Higher-rate rooms include the flat-screen TVs (always tuned to Animal Planet), 24-hour webcams, and views of the dog-bone-shaped wading pool.

Executive and Presidential Suites put pet parents back $65 and $80 per night, more than some human hotels nearby. (A room at the Sheraton across the street starts at $76).

And there are a wealth of a la carte services. An "Urban Nature Hike" lets pets venture outside for a walk. If a pup needs some extra attention, a parent can book 10 or 20 minute sessions of cuddle time. There's an option for bottled-water only.

For pooches in need of a new look, a full-service grooming area and staff provides cuts, trims, baths, massages and even sparkly nail polish. Grooming isn't just for dogs; the staff will put your cat near water so you don't have to.

When dreaming up the idea at Northwestern's Kellogg School, Nadeem thought there had to be other people out there like him, who felt guilty leaving their pets behind when traveling.

"These aren’t just dog and cats to us," said Pat Ciara, echoing a common sentiment among pet parents. "They're our kids. They're part of our family."

Ciara's english cream golden retriever Katy (full name Princess Katherine Claire, Duchess of Hamilton — a nod to Ciara's English mother and Irish father), and Katy's brother Kevin, attend day care at the Midway Airport location.

And a dog doesn't need a royal lineage to stay in Paradise, just loving human parents.

"There’s not one particular kind of person that you see pretty often. It's just people that really care about their pets and want the best for them," said Amanda Hernandez, a manager at the O'Hare location. "They want to go somewhere where they can call in the middle of the night and see how their dog is doing."

The facility is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It gets booked solid weeks before major holidays.

Nadeem says his business is all about trust. He never says "no," to clients, as long as a request doesn't harm other guests.

That might mean taking a stool sample to a nearby vet, running out to the store to buy more of a favorite treat or reading a book at bedtime.

The never-say-no business model isn't just for spoiling and pampering — the luxury resort takes pride in rarely turning away clients, and it often accepts those turned away elsewhere.

The hotel takes in older dogs that require a lot of medication, and it's also the only Chicago boarding facility that will inject insulin by needle for cats.

"If they call us and there's something we don't provide, we don't want to turn them away," Nadeem said. "We'll find a solution, whether that's with us or with someone else. ... We can never say 'No.' We'll figure out a way to help them out."

Ciara said Paradise has been "wonderful" to her and her golden retriever son and daughter.
The pups get excited for their resort stay as soon as they enter the lobby.

"I have to let the leash go as soon as I walk in the door," she said. "If the door to the arenas is open, they go flying."