Did you know that one in three Aussies chooses to stay home with their pets instead of going on holiday? Now hotels across Melbourne are loosening ruff no-pet policies and welcoming dogs. There's never been a better time to staycation in the city with your four-legged best friend. Here’s where to book, and what to do nearby. Thanks to Life of Jinkee for modelling, and to Sofia Levin for translating Jinkee's staycation ideas for us.

Ovolo Laneways

Adorably dubbed the V.I.Pooch package, design hotel Ovolo Laneways invites guests to bring their dog for an extra $80 per night. That gets your pooch a plush dog bed, food and water bowls on a custom mat and a designer doggy bag. The latter is stuffed with toys, snacks and quintessential poop bags for park walkies and inner-city adventures.

To do: Ovolo Laneways has partnered with urban art organisation Blender Studios to offer private street art walking tours. Pups are welcome, and there are plenty of corners to pee on along the way.

A dog standing in front of a street art mural
Explore street art with your pup in tow

Marriot Melbourne

Every room at Marriott Melbourne has a private courtyard, perfect for its Dog Days Staycation package. Expect food and water bowls, a plush bed and treats and a tennis ball upon arrival. Walkies are made easy with a map of local parks. There’s an in-room doggy dining menu available (we recommend poached chicken and sweet potato in a rice bun). For snacks, consult the mini bar full of pet treats. Purchase whole deer antlers, pooch-friendly rocky road, turkey-flavoured popcorn and more.

To do: Marriott is moments away from the heritage-listed Carlton Gardens, home to a Victorian-era fountain, tree-lined paths, grassy lawns and lakes. Stroll past the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Museum and IMAX Cinema before settling in for a picnic with your pooch. Top tip: grab a sandwich and snacks from Pope Joan's new PopeIsh pop-up or take away pizza from SPQR on the way.

A dog sitting in front of two burgers
Puppy's love PopeIsh

QT Melbourne

If your pup is less than 20 kilograms, it’s welcome with open paws at QT hotel. The pet-friendly rooms here have a mini bar packed with pup treats. There’s a designer dog bed by Nice Digs for sweet dreams and doggy room service, designed by QT “Head of Treats”. The team can also book your fluffy friend in for a pupQ grooming service, subject to availability.

To do: Food crawl along Hardware Lane, making the most of the outdoor tables that line the pedestrian street. Try Pho Thin for award-winning Vietnamese. Stop at Miznon for Israeli food. There’s Korean-inspired sandwiches at Dari Korean Café and Bar, plus Malaysian at Lulu’s Char Kway Teow. For dessert, swing by Piccolina for gelato, then plant yourself at Kirk’s Wine Bar for European drinks and nibbles.

A dog smiling in front of a train station
All aboard the toy poodle express

Citadines on Bourke Melbourne

Citadines on Bourke has a dog-friendly rooftop courtyard, set right in the heart of the city. For the pups there’s a soft bed, food and water bowls. Beyond the basics, there’s a welcome pack with treats, toys and other goodies. Ask staff about adventure walks by Tom and Captain and pooch-appropriate winery tours and high teas. The hotel’s sister property, Somerset on Elizabeth Melbourne, is also dog friendly. 

To do: Sunda restaurant has launched summer pop-up, Sunda EXP, fusing Southeast Asian and Italian cuisine in an oh-so-Melbourne way. Book an outdoor table at the top of Bourke Street and eat burrata with nasi lemak condiments and freshly churned soft serve. Or take your four-legged friend to Il Bacaro for a pooch-friendly feast.

A dog sitting at a table
No wine for me thanks - I'm driving

Zagame's House

Located at the city end of Lygon Street, boutique hotel Zagame's House is a fetching option for fur-babies. They go out of the way to provide a bag of goodies upon arrival. Dogs can dine from an in-room pet menu (holistic chicken and lentils or 'roo with ancient grains, anyone?). Watch the Furry Movie of the Month as part of the free film selection or bond with Hugo the hotel groodle. Plus access dog walkers, groomers and even pup personal trainers. 

To do: Vincent the Dog by day and Calypso the Dog by night, this pooch-friendly venue has plenty of outdoor seating. It’s also only one-kilometre from Zagame's House. During the day there's specialty coffee, bagels, eggs and waffles. In the evening it's all about Caribbean cuisine and jerk barbecue.

Sofia Levin is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne and the founder of Seasoned Traveller. Jinkee is her toy poodle sidekick.

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Last updated on Wed 28 Apr 2021

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