10 Tips for Selecting Pet Friendly Hotels
On a recent road trip from Los Angeles to Austin, accompanied by my pug, Miss Phoebe Rose, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that even motels with “no pet” signs were welcoming all sizes and breeds in order to combat current recession high vacancy rates. The number of households with pets has risen to a record 63% and a recent survey indicates that 19% of dog owners choose to travel with their pets. My first-hand experience on this trip and on subsequent road trips provided the information for the following tips:
1. There are a number of dog-friendly hotel websites providing general (not comprehensive or necessarily up to date) listings of local and regional motels, hotels and B&B’s. It will be well worth your time to call and speak to a front desk employee or manger to determine if the pet policy is still in place and the pet restrictions (if any). One thing to keep in mind is that most chain motels are not owned by a single parent company. Most motel and hotel chains in the Americas are franchised out and often owned by a variety of different management companies. As such, each of the different owners set the policies for their motel/hotel establishments.
2. Pet-friendly means different things to different motel managers. During a brief conversation with the owner of a “pet friendly” boutique type motel in Palm Springs, California, I discovered that the pet policy had numerous restrictions.
Make sure your pet’s breed, weight, fur and bathroom habits are not issues.
3. Another policy item to determine (or possibly negotiate) is the pet fee. Pet fees can vary from no charge to fee- per-stay or per night and per dog. Some pet deposits are non-refundable and some refundable. A pet-cleaning fee of $25.00 to $50.00 per visit is common.
4. Pet amenities are another consideration. These can range from complimentary treats, toys and water and food bowls to a room service pet menu and dog sitters. If you plan to be spending an evening without your furry friend, access to pet sitters (some hotel staff will oblige) is important as often a pet left alone in an unfamiliar room will create a disturbance and/or chew on the woodwork and furniture, resulting in unfriendly damage charges to your bill.
5. Dining areas that are pet friendly can be important. If hotel dining areas do not have pet friendly patio dining, often local dog friendly restaurants can be found on-line or through hotel personnel.
6. Sleeping accommodations are also a consideration.Does your pet sleep with you or in its own bed? Some hotels will question your sleeping arrangements. One of the many advantages of road travel (as we well know) is the ability to bring most of the comforts of home (including a dog bed) along with you.
7. The layout of the motel should also be considered. Does the building allow for easy entrance and exit for pet owners? Is there an area to walk and exercise pets that is located away from guest traffic or is the motel located close to a dog park or trail? After traveling for long periods of time, its just not fun to have to get back in the car and drive a distance to find a dog friendly exercise area.
8. Are there room restrictions for pets? Many hotels only allow pets in first floor rooms or designated dog-friendly rooms which, depending on the location, might not be ideally located for you and/or your pet. I did find however, that management would be flexible when they need to fill rooms.
9. If you are planning on spending some time relaxing at your motel, its nice to be aware of the areas that are accessible to pets. Some motels will allow well-behaved pets to sit in the pool area, lobby, restaurant patio and some even in the bar. Dogs in the swimming pool are not (yet) encouraged.
10. Generally a relaxed friendly hotel atmosphere translates to relaxed guidelines for canines. A brief conversation with personnel prior to making a reservation will give you a strong indication of either a pet tolerant or pet friendly atmosphere.Planning in advance for your pet in your travel accommodations will help eliminate misunderstandings and ensure a mutually pleasant experience, fond memories and future road trips with your pet.