Where every pet gets the superstar treatment

When Elizabeth Taylor wants her dog to feel like a superstar, she turns to the Kahala Hotel.

The actress’ pup is among the many that have been treated to Pampered Paws, an amenity program that caters to the fancies of a Kahala guest’s favorite pooch. Conceived by resort manager – and self-proclaimed dog lover – Tim Lee in 2006, Pampered Paws elevates dog care to a luxe level, going by the premise that pets deserve the same indulgences as their masters.

“For some people, their pets are a part of them. It’s their family,” Lee said. “There was no other pet program available, so we thought we should do something.”

As guest and prized pup check into the hotel, Pampered Paws begins its ceremonial treatment by greeting the canine celebrity with a custom-sized lei. The dog is then personally escorted, by name, to his master’s suite, where a lush gold-and-blue dog bed awaits. Creature comforts also stretch to the doggie’s dish, where only special Kahala bottled water is poured and biscuits made by Kahala’s executive chef are served.

“Dogs are sensitive to taste,” Lee said. “We had (Chef Wayne Hirabayashi) make several dog biscuit recipes, and we had 12 employees have their dogs choose their favorite.” The winning recipe is a peanut butter-based delight, which comes decorated with the dog’s name in white icing.

Pampered Paws also serves up Hawaiian culture on a silver platter for their canine clients. Guests receive a card of popular pet commands translated into Hawaiian, a fun touch that melds dog training with the broadening of a pet’s cultural horizons.

Valerie Wilson, a local resident who treated her dog to Pampered Paws last year, said her Bichon Frise, Kea, loved the Hawaiian language lesson so much, she continues to use the commands from Pampered Paws.

“We started using ‘noho’ (sit) and ‘helemai’ while we were there, and we now use them around the house,” Wilson said.

These personalized pet accoutrements come at the price of a Kahala Hotel room (which ranges from $400 to $4,000 a night), plus a $150 fee to cover the clean-up after a dog’s stay. The aforementioned services, however, are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Pampered Paws is willing to do for its clients. Lee once hosted an entire birthday party for a dog, and tells of a dog wedding he once saw at another hotel. While a mutt matrimony has yet to happen at the Kahala, Lee said Pampered Paws would gladly stretch its services to that level of accommodation.

“We’ll do anything they want,” Lee said. “There’s nothing that we wouldn’t do.”

Pampered Paws is a hit with locals, tourists and celebrities alike. But how do the pampered pooches feel?

“(Kea) thought he was Mr. Movie Star,” Wilson said.

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