More and more hotels across the country are allowing people to bring their dogs with them during their stay. It makes financial sense for hotels to seek this market, when a third of all pet parents take their pets with them in the car when they are away for two or more nights, according to the American Pet Products Association.
But pet policies between hotel chains vary widely, and even if a hotel chain advertises that it’s pet-friendly, some individual hotels within the chain may not allow pets because of local laws. When in doubt, call a hotel directly and ask about its specific policy. And most hotel chains require guests to sign a pet waiver upon check-in. Read the terms carefully and ask questions if it’s not clear.
There are some fundamental rules that many hotels enforce in order to allow pets on their property. Only a percentage of a hotel’s rooms are designated for pets, so it’s a good idea to make reservations as early as possible to secure a room. Most hotels charge a flat fee or a deposit to have your pet stay with you. A majority of hotels limit the number of dogs you can bring and the size of your dogs, and a small minority excludes “aggressive” breeds. Some chains, such as Loews, require documentation proving your dog is current on all vaccinations.
Dog parents are responsible for their canine companions and for any excessive damage they may cause. Many hotels don’t allow dogs to be left in rooms unattended, and housekeepers won’t enter the room when your dog is present. It goes without saying that if your dog barks and disturbs other guests, you could be asked to leave.
After reviewing the pet policies of the major hotel chains in the U.S., here are my top five hotels for dogs:
Kimpton is by far the most dog-friendly hotel chain in the U.S. This boutique hotel chain doesn’t charge a fee and doesn’t impose any restrictions on the size or number of dogs you can bring. Kimpton offers dog beds and bowls, a list of nearby dog-friendly restaurants and parks, and hosts a complimentary wine reception every night where pets are welcome. I’ve stayed at the Hotel Monaco in Portland, without my dog because I was flying, and was happy to meet several dogs at the reception. Each hotel has a Director of Pet Relations, which is usually a hotel employee’s dog, to make four-legged (and two-legged) guests feel welcome.
Pets are also free at the Red Roof Inn. The no-nonsense hotel chain allows one dog per room and there’s no weight or breed limit. A handful of the chain’s 360 locations do not accept pets because of local laws, so call first to confirm.
Motel 6 has thousands of locations across the country and is a convenient option for many dog parents on extended road trips. The chain does not charge a fee, with the exception of its Studio 6 locations, which charge $10 per day, and there’s not limit on dog size or number of dogs.
This chain will roll out the red carpet for your dog with a few caveats. A $75 fee is required per stay, for no more than two dogs, and your dog must weigh less than 75 pounds. Upon check-in, your dog will receive two dog bowls and a placemat and a tote filled with organic treats, waste bags and a travel-sized bottle of deodorized disinfectant.
Best Western actively markets to dog parents featuring celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan offering pet travel tips on its website. The chain allows two dogs (up to 80 pounds each) in each room at its more than 1,600 locations, and charges $20 a day, with a maximum per week charge of $100.
If none of these hotel chains fit in with your travel plans, you can research dog-friendly options at Bring Fido. This search engine allows you to refine your search for hotels based on fees and whether they accept big dogs or multiple dogs.
Do you have a favorite hotel where you stay with your dog? Tell us in comments!
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About the author: Cathy Weselby is a purple-lovin’ ambivert who enjoys exploring new places and ideas, the arts, humorous memoirs, collecting old magazines, and making collages. She and her husband live with Sasha, a rescued Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.