Hotel Chains Open Their Doors to Dogs

By Phyllis DeGioia

Hotel Chains Open Their Doors to Dogs

Imagine that the following happens during your next vacation: You enter the lobby of a luxury hotel with your accompanying children, colleagues or friends, and your eyes wide open. Your companions gasp while you stare, jaw agape, at the finery and expensive furnishings. You’re so taken aback by the splendor that you almost drop your dog’s leash.

This scenario might not just be a daydream -- especially the part about your dog. That’s because many hotels now cater to dog owners like you. Now you can stay at hotels ranging from luxury chains, where you can expect royal rover treatment, to reasonably priced hotels, which place more emphasis on functionality rather than flash.

Puttin’ On the Rover Ritz
With few exceptions, nearly the entire Ritz Carlton chain allows dogs. Just be sure to check the pet policy at your particular destination, as rules can differ among various hotels, even if they are under associated ownership. Call ahead to ask if your dog is welcome at that specific hotel, and also keep in mind that each hotel within a chain may offer different pet perks.

At the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans, for example, you can arrange for a dog bed, tags, chew toys, bowls, designer collars and leashes. The hotel even provides door hangers saying “woof,” and the staff will show you the grass, a block away, where your dog can do its business.

“We’ve had several movie crews enjoy long-term stays here with their pets,” said Char Schroeder, a Ritz spokesperson. “Queen Latifah was here for three months with her Weimaraner, Isis. We provide dog walkers and sitters.” Schroeder adds, “To get the most out of your visit, I recommend calling ahead to discuss your pet’s size, age and needs, and we’ll explain what amenities are available.” Although the hotel’s policy applies to dogs 40 pounds or less, it accepts larger dogs on a case-by-case basis. Discuss the matter with your agent when making reservations.

Loews Loves Pets, Too
The Loews hotel chain offers a “Loews Loves Pets” program that begins with a personal note from the hotel’s general manager. It lists all the pet services available at the hotel, plus dog walking routes, veterinary contacts, nearby pet shops and groomers, pet sitters and restaurants where dogs are welcome. Dogs receive complimentary pet treats and a toy. Pets get their own place mats with food and water bowls. Specialized pet bedding is available. Loews’ “Did You Forget Closet” includes dog beds, leashes, collars and pet videos. Even room service caters to pets by offering grilled lamb or chicken for dogs. Loews will help to arrange for special services and, after you leave, the staff initiates a thorough “pet-cleaning process” that includes filtered vacuums to remove pet allergens so that all future guests can enjoy their stay, too.

Read Up and Hit the Red Roof
If you often travel, consider purchasing a guide such as's Lodging Guide for Travelers with Dogs ( Inc. 2008). According to the online resource DogFriendly, many of the larger, widespread chains accept pets. These include Best Western, Candlewood-Staybridge, Choice Hotels, Holiday Inn, La Quinta Inns/Suites, Loews, Motel 6, Novotel Innworks, Red Roof Inn, Sheraton-Westin and Studio 6. Expect a one-time pet fee per stay at most chain hotels. The fee usually ranges from $25 to $150.

The Red Roof Inn’s 350 hotels all accept dogs. The chain attracts dog show attendees, as well as families and individuals traveling with their dogs. “Some people drive twenty or thirty miles out of their way to stay with us, because they know how pet-friendly we are,” said Randy Fox of Red Roof Inn. “If you call ahead, we’ll arrange for a convenient first floor room for you.” Technically, the hotels only allow one pet per room, but their staff understands the needs of dog show people with multiple canines, and they will try to work out a suitable arrangement. In general, however, it helps to travel with just one dog, since it’s hard enough to keep track of one, much less two or more, when on the road.

Red Roof Inn asks that you mention your dog when checking in so housekeeping knows your pet is there. They require that pets not be left unattended, although someone inevitably breaks the rules. “We’ve had cases where surprised housekeeping staff has run after a dog, but we haven’t lost one yet,” says Fox. “We had a big manhunt once where the whole staff got in cars and drove around and found the runaway dog.” Fox adds, “We try to have as few rules as possible to make it easy for folks with pets to stay with us; all we ask is that our guests use common courtesy.”

Ways to Get the Most from Your Stay

  • Call ahead to ensure dogs are welcome, because in some chains, the pet policy is up to the franchise owner

  • Ask what the pet policy is, since all hotels have one. Discuss your situation before you arrive, not when you’re checking in
  • Inform hotel staff of your pet’s size and age Don’t consider sneaking a Great Dane into a hotel that has a 40-pound limit for dogs. Ask about your big dog because decisions are often made on a case-by-case basis, and let’s face it, you can’t sneak around a hotel’s interior corridors with a Great Dane or other large pooch anyway
  • Ask what amenities are available, such as bowls, beds, leashes, pet sitting and dog walking
  • Don’t leave your dog unattended if that’s the policy. Barking could disturb other guests, and the housekeeper could accidentally let your dog out of your room, which can be a nightmare for both owners and hotel staff
  • Respect the hotel’s policy about where dogs are allowed on the premises
  • Consider your needs and develop a detailed itinerary before deciding where to stay
  • Ask the front desk about nearby safe dog-walking routes

Assure a Warm Welcome in the Future
It takes just a few bad apples to spoil the barrel. Some chains have only recently allowed dogs. Inconsiderate behavior could reverse that trend. Be sure to mind both your and your dog’s manners. For example, it’s critical to prevent excess barking, and you must pick up your dog’s feces immediately. The bottom line is that in order for a dream vacation with your dog to stay dreamy, you have to be considerate of others. If you and your dog behave yourselves, you’ll both be welcome back soon.

Phyllis DeGioia is an award-winning writer who lives in Madison, Wis., with two rescued dogs and a cat. She has authored books on animal topics, is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and serves as editor of Veterinary Partner online.

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Posted on March 10, 2012

Oliver says: No its not bad just so lon as you don't feed the cats dog food all the tme or the feed the dog cat food all the time. Other than that hey, I think your pets have a fine pet guardian ineded and I think they are having a ball with you! My cats are also leash=trained and one of them actually trots on the sidewalks with me like a doggie.Can't resist telling this story: When I was a kid, my family had two white kittens and two white pomerranian spitzes (little dogs). As they grew up, the dos thought they were cats and the cats thought they were dogs. They would all sit by the windowsill on rainy days and all jump into our shallow fountain on hot summer afternoons for a quick swim. It was hilarious.

Posted on September 18, 2011

Jennie Martin says: We would rather stay in hotel with pets than peoples rude brats! Dogs destroy less and are cleaner than kids

Posted on September 18, 2011

colleen says: I!d rather have a dog or cat for for a friend than most people. Its hard to take care of them they are just like having children. They reguire the same amount of care. I!m so happy hotels are accepting them into lodging then they are not left into cars and etc. I don!t believe anyone wants to leave there pets in a car. However it amazes me the way animals are treated especially here in the midwest. Buy a dog house, a chain, and a dog. Tie it to the dog house it never gets any human contact. Thats not good pet care, thats abuse!

Posted on May 12, 2011

Patti says: my b/f and i are getting married in July and plan on taking our puppy with us on our honeymoon, and this article was very informative about traveling with her. Thank you

Posted on September 6, 2011

Royal says: I'm curious to know if these chains enforce BSL.  Even though a lot of places say they are "dog friendly" they usually are not when it comes to specific breeds regardless of their weight. :-(

Posted on May 22, 2008

Audrey says: This information posted on this page is very useful to my dog and I. I did not know that hotels have treatments for dogs.

Posted on June 3, 2008

sarah says: hey your dog is so cute i mite have to put my dog on there and show it to you !!!!!!!so you could see it your dog ios so little then mine and my dog is medeume size have fun whith your dog bye.

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