How to Book the Best Pet-Friendly Hotel Room

Increasingly, I see articles (like this one from The New York Times) discuss the rapid growth of pet-friendly hotels.

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As someone who travels extensively with their dogs, I’m happy to see hospitality groups realize us adventurers-with-dogs are a growing and loyal breed

But invariably, all the articles I read neglect the most important question. With the growing pet-friendly hotel options, how do you decide which hotel to pick?

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Trust us, this is not a decision you want to gamble on

All “pet-friendly” hotels are not created equal. “Pet-friendly” is a catch all phrase which can mean anything from “We will barely tolerate your pet while charging you a mortgage payment for staying here” to “OMG I love your dog…and I guess you can stay here too.”

How to sort the wheat from the chaff? Here’s what I’ve learned are the best steps to ensure you pick the right dog-friendly hotel for your trip.

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First, look yourself in the mirror and ask what your needs are for the trip

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If you want high-end, top of the line service, great. Most luxury hotels are happy to serve (and charge you for) extensive pet-friendly amenities

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Just need a place to crash? Many major motel/hotel chains offer pet-friendly rooms. Be sure to double-check what the pet-fees are. Avoid places that charge daily pet-fees. If possible, book at La Quinta or other chains which charge no pet fee

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Do the math! We loved staying at Kimpton brand hotels. No pet fee, no pet-size restriction and dogs were loved, rather than tolerated. The nightly room rate was slightly above other major chains, but since there were no pet fees we often came out ahead on the bill

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Look off the beaten path. Some of our best stays were at small B&B joints who welcomed both Eko and me like old friends. With the proliferation of smaller/independent operators, don’t forget to open your search up beyond the traditional options

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Trust no one! I’ve been burned by third-party/review sites on more than one occasion. Always call ahead to verify the hotel is everything it claims to be online. If you’re expecting bowls and a (properly sized) bed, you’ll want those details confirmed before you arrive

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Be the best guest! I really appreciate all the hotels along the way that have gone the extra mile to make me and the pups welcome. In return, I make sure we’re quiet and respectful during our stay. Every dog-guest is an ambassador, and hopefully by being great guests we can encourage more hotels to open their doors to pets

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Because travel adventures with your dog are awesome! 

For others who have traveled with pets, please chime in with any tips or guidelines you’ve found helpful along the way.

I know bringing your dog to a hotel may seem nerve-racking or expensive. But in truth traveling with your pets is often cheaper, and almost always more fun!

29 thoughts on “How to Book the Best Pet-Friendly Hotel Room”

  1. We have taken a few road trips down to Florida with our dog and have found some very accomodating hotels. Aloft, Drury and Embassy Suites are some we have stayed at. What I look for is a grassy area for potty breaks, room service or restaurant in the hotel due to our dogs separation anxiety, she can’t be left alone and this makes things much easier for us. Also a laundry room because you never know when you are going to need it. I don’t need dog beds or bowls, although it is nice, our dog sleeps in the bed with us (spoiled, I know) I find trip advisor helpful in doing research and looking at travelers photos to make our decisions and it has been spot on.

    Reply
      • I know, I wish they would say “great areas for dogs”. I do a lot of scouring over photos and reviews, a phone call to the hotel is the best way to know for sure.

  2. I’m with you…relying on so-called online reviews is more than just foolish, many are just compensation scams and don’t really provide unbiased reviews at all. And yes, I confess I am a cynic about so-called all online reviews. 😉

    Reply
  3. Motel 6 or campgrounds. They are everywhere and cheap. It can also be a bit of fun to talk beforehand about what the quality of the room will be. Sometimes good, sometimes definitely not. The TravelingDogs have been to 49 states, 40 US capitols and across Canada. We always find a place for all of us.

    Reply
  4. Coincidentally just came across this little posting on Facebook:
    “Dogs are welcome in this hotel, we never had a dog that smoked in bed and set the blankets on fire. We never had a dog that stole our towels and played the TV too loud or had a noisy fight with his traveling companion. We never had a dog that got drunk and broke up the furniture….. so if your dog can vouch for you – you’re welcome too. From Management”
    Classic timing for your blog 🙂

    Reply

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