Booking a pet friendly hotel can be a tricky proposition. While more and more locations are allowing pets to join you during your stay, the degree of enthusiasm with which your pet will be received can run the gamut. It’s no secret that, though they all refer to themselves as “pet friendly,” hotel policies and attitudes range from barely pet tolerant to over-the-top accommodating. How do you make sure the hotel you choose will meet your needs and those of your pet? Ask these eight simple questions and you’ll have all the information required to make the right decision.
Does the hotel accept pets? Hotel pet polices change faster than a dog chasing his tail, so it’s a good idea to verify that the property you’re considering is still welcoming pets. In addition, you’ll find that “pet friendly” doesn’t translate to “cat friendly” when it comes to booking hotels. If you’re planning a trip with your feline travel companion, there are nine cat friendly hotel chains you can count on. Lastly, check to see if you’ll need to bring proof of your pets’ vaccinations.
Are there any weight or breed restrictions? It’s common for hotels to impose weight restrictions – but if you’ve found a hotel that’s a perfect in every way, except that your pup is a little to big, ask if they’ll make an exception! Remember, the hotel wants your business, and they know they’re competing with a lot of other hotels for your dollars. We’ve found that most hotels have a little wiggle room in their size limitations and will try to accommodate you when asked. Just be sure to make note of the person you spoke to, in case there’s any question when you’re checking in.
How many pets are allowed per room? When you travel with multiple pets, it’s important to ask if you’ll all be allowed to stay in the same room together. From one pet per room to no limitations on the number of pets welcome to join you – each hotel is different.
Will you be charged additional pet fees? This is where a hotel’s true pet friendly colors will show. There are some hotel chains were pets stay free, while others heap on pet fees that can add up to more than the nightly room rate! Be sure you have a clear understanding of the expected charges before making your reservation by determining whether the fee is per night or for the entire stay, whether it’s charged per pet or is a fixed rate regardless of the number of pets, and whether any portion of the fee is refundable if the the room isn’t damaged during your stay.
Are pet travelers limited to specific pet friendly rooms? It used to be that some hotels would require people traveling with pets to stay in rooms designated for smokers, but we see that less and less as properties are becoming smoke-free. Still, everyone has their preferences … proximity to the elevator, stairwell, ice machine, and high floors vs. low floors. It’s good to know up front if the hotel will be accommodate your requests.
What amenities does the hotel offer? The most important amenity is always a convenient, grassy pet relief area, but some hotels also provide treats at check-in, pet beds and bowls in the room, doggy room service menus, spa treatments, and pet sitting services. Some hotels have restaurants with pet friendly patios, and some even host a “yappy hour” in the lobby each evening. Deciding how much to pamper your pooch is up to you!
May pets be left unattended in the room? Determining whether the hotel allows you to leave your pet alone in the room while you step out for something to eat or to run an errand helps you plan appropriately. Hotels are primarily concerned with two things when dogs are left unattended: damage to the room, and barking that disturbs other guests. To alleviate those concerns, the hotel may require that pets be crated when you’re away and following our tips for a quiet stay will help ease any worries with barking.
Are there areas of the hotel that are off limits to pets? Pets are generally not allowed in breakfast areas, restaurants, pools, and fitness rooms, but we stayed at one hotel that didn’t even allow pets in the lobby!
Asking these questions before you make a hotel reservation will ensure there are no surprises when it’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy your pet friendly vacation. All that’s left to do is pack a bag and hit the road!