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G-rooming house! Dog hotel and spa opens Downtown

Go fetch: Gabriel Vitol, owner of new doggie daycare spot Fido’s Retreat, tosses a ball to a pair of pooches in the new canine hotel on Livingston Street.
Hunter Canning

This is no flea-bag motel!

A Downtown dog-lover has opened a high-end hotel for hounds on the ground floor of a Livingston Street apartment building, where owners can put their pooches up in private suites while they are out of town, or drop their dogs off for day-care and a spa treatment when they are at work.

The owner said his leash-free lodge offers otherwise apartment-bound pups a rare place to run free.

“Many dogs in the city are not leading a satisfying life, and it’s really important for dogs to be able to have more time and have it be off-leash,” said Gabriel Vitol, founder of Fido’s Retreat, which is between Hoyt and Bond streets in the Addison apartment building.

Vitol said he dreamed of being a veterinarian when he was a kid, but ended up becoming a banker instead. But he just couldn’t let sleeping dogs lie, so he quit his job a year-and-a-half ago and has been paw-ing all his efforts into this new venture, which he and his wife finally opened in early July.

The canine concierge said he wants to offer Brooklyn bow-wows a luxe experience at his bed and dog’s breakfast. By day, tail-waggers can work out in the indoor fitness facilities — one playground for larger and more exuberant dogs and one for more placid pooches — or put their paws up with a massaging bubble bath or grooming treatment.

An overnight stay on a cage-free cot starts at $60 a night, but pups can really lay in the lap of luxury in a private suite, which run up to $95 an evening — almost half the price of a night at the nearby Nu Hotel for humans, which charges an additional $100 for canine guests.

And Vitol offers round-the-clock g-room service — sleeping on his own cot inside the facility when a four-legged guest comes to stay the night.

But not every dog can have their day at this resort — potential clients’ owners first have to fill out a five-page questionnaire about their best friend’s behavior and health, and their prospective pooch must pass an “interview” to prove they’re capable of playing nice with others.

Vitol said he is not a snob, but he has to be selective to keep his guests from fighting like cats and dogs.

“First we meet with the dog to screen for aggression, and once we’ve accepted them we keep a sharp eye on them to see how they interact with the others,” he said.

On a recent weekday a few weeks after opening, Vitol’s only visitors were 14-year-old Spike — a blind, mostly deaf little fur ball — and his own 4-year-old rescue dog Bella. But with developers erecting new luxury high-rises all over the neighborhood, Vitol said he is confident his business will soon be a howling success.

Fido’s Retreat [230 Livingston St. between Elm Place and Hoyt Street Downtown, (718) 522–0422, www.fidosretreat.com].

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Pooch perch: Spike, a blind, nearly deaf 14-year-old dog, is one of the first guests at Fido’s Retreat, a newly opened Downtown doggie daycare.
Photo by Jason Speakman

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