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What Should "Pet-Friendly Hotel" Mean?

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Will Your "Pet-Friendly" Hotel Turn out to Be Faux-Friendly?
What Should

Mingus, a repeat guest at Montreal's unconditionally pet-friendly Square Phillips Hotel.

© Karen Tina Harrison

Plenty of us luxury hotel guests require a pet-friendly hotel in order to accommodate a particular, extremely valued family member.

We proceed in the hope that our hotel's pet-friendly policy is honestly friendly and welcoming. A sincerely pet-friendly hotel:

  • Does not levy an inflated "one-time housekeeping fee" -- sometimes as high as $250 -- on pet-owning guests
  • Does not charge an outlandish daily pet fee, which can $100+ per diem, and sometimes on top of the housekeeping fee
  • Does not apply restrictive conditions on your pet or on you. (The usual such stipulation: you cannot leave your pet alone in your room, and must hire and pay for the hotel's pet-sitter)
  • Does not segregate you from the non-pet guests, and house you in the hotel's "Siberia." (At one Florida Keys resort, the pet-friendly accommodations are four blocks from the main hotel)
  • Does not turn a cold shoulder on cats, and permit only dogs

How to find a truly pet-friendly hotel:

One: Tried-and-true. Go with a hotel brand that has made a strategic commitment to true pet-friendliness. The following hotel brands welcome pets with open paws (no housekeeping charge; negligible restrictions; and a per-diem pet fee not exceeding $25):

  • Westin Hotels (expect a critter-sized Westin Heavenly Bed)
  • Monaco Hotels (expect a pet concierge offering treats and walker referrals)
  • Loews Hotels (expect a doggie, I mean goodie, bag for your pooch)
  • Kimpton Hotels and sister brand Palomar Hotels (expect lots of what they call "hosPETality")

Two: Surf. Check out various online directories of pet-friendly hotels. Some are merely bulletin boards for pet ads, but others, such as thejetsetpets.com, deliver real information.

Three: Investigate. No matter what you glean from a hotel's website or an online directory, get the facts about a hotel's pet-friendly policy. All you need to do is call the hotel and ask for details. Inquire about housekeeping and per-diem charges; pet-in-room restrictions; and location of pet rooms.

Read more about pet-friendly hotels and traveling with pets:

Meet a world expert on pet travel (and her owner) >>

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