Nizuc offers 274 upscale suites and villas, though the pool villas are the most pet friendly. These ground-floor villas with private pools are complete with both massive indoor and outdoor areas, perfect for Ruby to have her space.
Ruby experienced pup paradise at Palmaia, The House of Aia (www.thehouseofaia.com) in Playa Del Carmen. The 314-room resort is on the quiet side of the 10-mile beach, so it feels removed and secluded. Fortunately, dogs can roam freely on the Playa beach (versus Cancun, where dogs are not allowed). Palmaia straddles the jungle, so Ruby had the best of both worlds where she could play in the sand, then curiously track foreign wildlife through pristine rain forest along trailed paths.
The most surprising pet-friendly destination for me is the place where I live: Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I lived in Manhattan for nearly 12 years, and I rarely crossed the East River to Brooklyn. In fact, at a time, there was a running joke that I had been to the Maldives more than I had been to Brooklyn (and it was true). Due to the pandemic, I moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn for more space. Not only did I find an apartment with a large outdoor patio (perfect for Ruby), I discovered how dog-friendly Williamsburg is. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t brought Ruby over more frequently.
Williamsburg hit a boom in the late 2000s, and it’s since gentrified into a millennial, young-family, famous-chef, tourist hot spot. In the past decade, a handful of luxury, pet-friendly boutique hotels opened (including The Hoxton, The William Vale, Wythe Hotel, Indigo, and The Williamsburg), making Williamsburg a competitive tourist destination. There’s Michelin restaurants like Meadowsweet and Aska, and plenty of cool shops and nightlife. With New York’s ‘Open Streets Restaurants” program, where restaurants have outdoor seating that spill onto sidewalks and streets, every restaurant has become pet friendly.
The new Domino Park (www.dominopark.com), a 6-acre park opened in 2018 right on the East River and across the Williamsburg Bridge, has been a magnet to local pet owners and travelers alike for its dog run, elevated walkway, and incredible sunset views (there’s a large gathering every night at sunset).
In February 2020, East River State Park was renamed Marsha P. Johnson State Park (www.parks.ny.gov/parks/155/details.aspx) in honor of the pioneering transgender activist who fought for LGBTQ civil rights. The 7-acre waterfront park features a dog run, and it will receive millions of dollars in renovations this year. Of course, there’s also the famous McCarren Park (www.nycgovparks.org/parks/mccarren-park), a 36- acre park spread over 4 city blocks. Whether you go for a stroll, a picnic, or one of two dog runs, you’ll find that the park is a dog haven.
Living in a pet-friendly destination like Williamsburg makes it hard for Ruby and me to leave, but with travel starting to open up again, and more travel brands and destinations pampering pets, the future of travel for Ruby and me, as well as other pet travelers, looks very promising.