Dog ownership can complicate travel plans. A four-legged friend doesn’t make it impossible to travel, but it certainly does limit where you can stay, how you get there, and what activities you can do. But find the right dog-friendly hotel with a staff eager to help you find things to do (and pet your pup, of course), and you’ll be set, as I found on a recent stay at Kinship Landing in Colorado Springs.
I went for a short staycation with my fiancée Heather and our two dogs, a 12-year-old English bulldog and a 13-year-old Pomeranian-Chihuahua. We took the short drive up from Denver and checked in at the hotel desk, which is attached to the bar, on a late Thursday afternoon.
Going inside to check in was actually an extra step I didn’t need to take — everything from the room code to concierge questions can be done over text. Yet unlike some of the automated hotels and businesses I’ve been to in the past, the people writing those texts from the check-in desk were eager to talk and answer any questions in-person. That cheery greeting set the vibe for the whole stay at this boutique hotel built by frequent travelers.
Founders Bobby and Brooke Mikulas drew inspiration for Kinship Landing after a year-long journey to 17 countries in 2016.
“They travel the world and stayed only twice in hotels,” says Lindsay Pertsov, assistant general manager. “The rest, they stayed in hostels and their car, and they came back to the Springs with a love of different hospitality concepts. They’re both locals and saw a need for that in the Springs.”
One of the things they learned is that there are many different types of travel needs, and they wanted to meet as many as possible. That includes people traveling with pets — something not too uncommon in this outdoors-focused state. The entire second floor is dog friendly, and Kinship Landing charges a straightforward fee of $49 per night.
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A diversity of room styles offers something for everyone
Kinship Landing is small — especially considering the diversity of room options there are — with just 41 rooms overall.
We stayed in a junior suite. The design helped the small space feel just right with wood wrapping around one half of the room and elevating the bed in front of the window. For people without dogs, spacious king suites with floating bathtubs in front of a fireplace are equally suitable for a staycation as they are for someone who wants to stretch out for a long stay to explore Colorado Springs.
There are also hostel-like rooms (either private or shared) where you can book by the bunk. The concept didn’t immediately click with the clientele, but interest has been building.
“It’s been a bit of a learning curve for the shared concept,” Pertsov says, “but it’s been really successful in the summer with solo travelers.”
Everyone has their own locker to store things, and there are two accessible corridor bathrooms to use and a community kitchen. Sports teams, church groups, and families have so far been the lion’s share of guests for the shared rooms. Downstairs near the lobby, there are public lockers anyone can use, and the bottom lockers have charging points.
And then there’s the type of room that you can’t find anywhere else. Well, room is kind of misleading. On the fourth floor, Kinship Landing has the Camp Deck, which is a space for people to pitch a tent and sleep under the stars with all the benefits of the rest of the hotel right outside your door.
Regardless of the room choice, Garrett Brown Designs from the Denver area helped make each feel different than your average hotel.
Local connections like the first Friday artwalk and a 5K run held every quarter keep Kinship Landing tied to its hometown. The steep-bag coffee in every room comes from Switchback Coffee Roasters in Colorado Springs. Zane Prater, a muralist from Colorado Springs, was visiting his family over one Thanksgiving weekend and did the mural covering a large portion of one side of the building in two and a half days. On the main floor, the coworking space, bar, and coffee bar was filled with a mix of locals and guests. It would be easy to be satisfied with all the the hotel had to offer for our trip, but getting out and seeing the community is what Kinship Landing is all about.
“It was intentional to have smaller room footprint,” Pertsov says. “It has everything you need and nothing you don’t need to enjoy the space. But not for too long, because we want you to get outside and enjoy the Springs and the outdoors.”
Dog-friendly outdoor things to do in Colorado Springs
Manitou Cliff Dwellings: This dog-friendly park shows what housing was like for ancient Puebloan people who lived in the area. You can see and walk through the housing built straight into the cliffs, learn about (and see first hand) the plants that sustained them, and experience tools and art in the museum.
Pikes Peak: While you can’t take your dog on the historic Pikes Peak Cog Railway that has taken people to the top since 1891, you can still see the famous peak that inspired “America the Beautiful” with your leashed friend.
Seven Falls: Take in the view, and let your four-legged friend do the same, of a series of waterfalls and a dog-friendly restaurant after the hiking area. Note that the trail is better suited to pets (and people) who can manage a moderate difficulty, high-elevation hike.
Garden of the Gods: There are few sites that can match the beauty of striking red rocks against a blue sky — or even better, red rocks with a dusting of snow. Garden of the Gods has dog-friendly hiking trails as well as a driving loop if your pup is more the type that likes to hop out for a quick picture and then return to riding with their head out of the window.
Dog-friendly restaurants and bars in Colorado Springs
Many of the bars and restaurants allow dogs outside, as does Kinship Landing for its on-site food and drink service. Below is a selection of the places we visited with our two dogs, as well as some suggestions from staff and locals.
Pub Dog Colorado: The only restaurant in Colorado that allows indoor dining with dogs (though there’s plenty of outside seating, too). There’s an off-leash area for well-behaved dogs.
Pikes Peak Brewing: Just a short walk from Kinship Landing, Pikes Peak Brewing’s downtown location has a small patio out front where you can sit with your dog, or head nextdoor where there are outdoor firepits to keep warm on a chilly night.
Local Relic: This former church houses Local Relic brewing with 18 taps and more than 100 bottles (you can’t go wrong with a barrel aged beer or a saison here), as well as wine, cocktails, and two restaurant concepts focusing on local ingredients. Dogs are allowed outside.
Fossil Craft Beer: Just a short drive away from the hotel in Old Colorado City, this brewery allows dogs both inside and outside.
Phantom Canyon Brewing: This easily accessible downtown brewery and restaurant is the perfect place to take your dog with your for a rotating list of craft beer on tap, wine, cocktails, and elevated pub food like patty melts, burgers, and fish and chips.