Summer 2018


On a recent sunny day, three dogs frolicked happily in a small dog park in a highly unusual location — the backyard of an urban hotel.

Quincy, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever, has been traveling from Houston, Texas, to the Shadyside Inn All Suites Hotel since he was a puppy.

“He loves it in the dog park,” said owner Annie Ong. “I cannot walk Quincy past it without him pulling towards it.”

Ms. Ong visits Pittsburgh frequently because her son lives here. She loves that her dog is as comfortable in her hotel suite as he is in the park.

One of Quincy’s playmates was a golden doodle named Zach, the pet of Jonathan Plesset, the hotel’s president and CEO. Six buildings contain 108 suites, all in close proximity to the restaurants, shops and businesses on Walnut Street.

Though three of the hotel buildings front on busy Fifth Avenue, “in the other direction is a residential neighborhood which is perfect for walking dogs,” Mr. Plesset said.

Three is the close to capacity for the hotel’s dog park. It’s small and simple, just a couple of pine trees with a thick layer of mulch covering the ground and a white picket fence to keep the dogs in.

Zach, who often comes to work with Mr. Plesset, was a wild 7-month-old puppy when he adopted him from a Pittsburgh animal shelter. “He changed my life.”

Mr. Plesset is a pilot and co-founder of Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team, which has transported more than 7,500 pets from disaster areas and high-kill animal shelters to the safety of shelters and rescues that can find homes for them.

He is also a third-generation hotel owner and operator. “Because we are independent, we can say yes to the requests of our guests,” he said. That includes bringing dogs of all sizes — and the occasional cat — to the Shadyside Inn.

Some hotels and motels that allow pets require them to be in crates and prohibit them from being alone in the room when no owner is present. Not this hotel. And if a dog wants to lounge on the upholstered furniture or in the beds, that’s no problem.

“We have equipment that will clean up after them,” Mr. Plesset said, noting that he has allergies and asthma.

Potty accidents aren’t a problem either. There are no carpets in the hotel and the lovely golden floors that look like oak are actually vinyl plank, which is much easier to clean than hardwood.

There is no nightly fee for pets, but there is a $100 cleaning deep cleaning fee for pet owners. The suites are generally $139-$199 a night.

At check-in, people get freshly baked cookies and dogs get canine cookies and goodie bags that include Rachael Ray Nutrish products.

Now the Shadyside Inn has gone a step further. Guests who stay at least five nights receive a $250 credit toward a pet adoption from their local shelter. Information: or 412-441-4444.

“There is really no reason for a hotel to say people cannot bring their pets,” said Mr. Plesset. “We love rescuing animals and we love rescuing customers from chain hotels.”

The view from the rooftop pet terrace at Town Place, an Aparthotel that will open soon Downtown.

The view from the rooftop pet terrace at Town Place, an Aparthotel that will open soon Downtown.

Aparthotel will have Pittsburgh's 1st rooftop dog park

Town Place, an “Aparthotel” at 424 Stanwix St., Downtown, will offer a rooftop pet terrace and accommodate tenants and short-term guests.

Pittsburgh’s first rooftop dog park is almost ready for the pets of people who stay at Town Place, which is set to open this month.

Kossman Development Co. says its 62-unit “Aparthotel” at 424 Stanwix St., Downtown, will accommodate both long-term tenants and guests who only want to stay a night or a week.

The rooftop “pet terrace” is set up as a dog park, but cats are also welcome at Town Place. Dog guests must weigh less than 50 pounds. A section of the terrace is covered with outdoor carpeting, so that dogs can do their business there.

Nightly room rates are $130-$350 and there is a $300 non-refundable sanitation fee for each pet guest.

Town Place also has an all-season sport court, spa, business center, conference room, video and gamers’ room, party lounge, library and grill area. Instead of blinds, each guest can control the tint of the “automated mood windows” to set the level of privacy that they want.

Linda Wilson Fuoco: or 412-263-1954.