How To Stay In A Hotel With A Dog

Recently, I received a request for a blog from my cousin Amanda who owns a puppy. She wanted to know how to find hotels that allow dogs, and also how you can have a good hotel stay. Since I get questions about this topic quite often, I thought it was a good time to create a blog.

I’ve found that it is possible to enjoy a wonderful stay at a hotel when you have a pet. We’ve stayed at the Ojai valley Inn & Spa and the Ace Hotel & Swim Club (in Palm Springs) with our dogs. And we have a reservation for a resort in California that will be a surprise birthday gift to Grace in two weeks. A blog post about this resort is coming up. We’ve loved staying at the Opus hotel in Vancouver and the Bell II lodge located in rural British Columbia. We’ve stayed more in vacation rentals, camping, or glamping than hotels. But hotels are great for many reasons and I hope I can give you some tips to make your stay with your pet easier.

When looking for dog-friendly hotels, the first thing that I would say is to not assume that all hotels do not accept dogs. It’s always a pleasant surprise to me how many hotels accept dogs, even high-end places like Ritz-Carlton and Four Season. In my research, I found that these hotels allow dogs. Best Westerns, on the other hand, are great for road trips with your dog. The Best Westerns are pet-friendly across the board. They’re also affordable. We had some comfortable stays at Best Westerns on our Alaska trip.

Keep an open mind to everything in between. Sometimes, Bed & Breakfasts are great for dogs (not necessarily Airbnbs but traditional Bed & Breakfasts).

You might wonder, how do I find out if the hotel accepts dogs? You can usually tell by looking online, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a call if you still have questions. Here are a few tips to help you find dog-friendly places.

  • It’s easy to find pet-friendly hotels by searching TripAdvisorfor the dates and location I want. You will see on a map, similar to an Airbnb search, all the hotels that are available for your dates. You can move the map around on TripAdvisor if you are flexible about the location. For example, if you want to go on a roadtrip within 3 hours and you are open to other destinations. Double check the hotel website to confirm if it is dog-friendly. Sometimes TripAdvisor’s information on this can be inaccurate or outdated. You can also search for “dog” in the TripAdvisor reviews using the search bar located at the top. It will show you all reviews where people have mentioned dogs. This is a great way to learn what it’s really like to take a dog to a place.
  • Bring Fido is another nice website that aggregates information. The site allows you to search for hotels that are pet-friendly and offers reviews of those who bring their dogs with them on vacation.
  • It can be difficult to tell if a hotel is dog-friendly from their website. Many hotels are reluctant to announce that they accept pets because they do not want to scare away people who don’t have a dog or dislike dogs. You can find this information under the FAQ section or, if there is one, the tab for amenities. If you’re still having trouble, Google the name of the property + “pet-friendly.” You’ll often be taken to a landing page for dogs on the hotel website, which is not accessible through the internal navigation. You can also call the hotel.
  • Breed and size restrictions are important to know. Sadly, there are some awesome-looking properties that won’t accept dogs over 25 pounds or so, or they don’t accept pit bulls/rottweilers/dobermans/etc. It’s not my problem, it is their choice. But fortunately, there are many places that welcome well-behaved, small dogs.
  • Book a pet-friendly room. You can’t always book a room at a hotel if you know that they accept dogs. There are usually a limited number of pet-friendly hotel rooms. If you do not see this option when booking online, then call the hotel directly. Be aware that there is often a fee for pets. It’s usually $25-50 more. The most expensive I’ve ever seen was $150 at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. If you pay more than $100, you usually get a toy or a commemorative water dish.

There are some things you should keep in mind once you’ve made your reservation for a pet-friendly hotel. This will ensure that your stay is relaxing. Here are some things I have learned over the years about bringing dogs into hotels.

  • Know what your dog needs. Bring the crate with you to the hotel if your dog is usually crated. It’s worth asking if you can leave your dog in your hotel room unattended when you book. Most hotels will allow you to leave your dog unattended in the room. However, they may ask for a phone number and a confirmation that the dog has been left alone. If you have a dog that is a big barker, you might not want to stay in a hotel. If you want to stay in a hotel, choose a place that has detached villas or cabins. This will prevent you from receiving complaints from other rooms.
  • Willie and Casper have been left alone in the hotel room, but not for very long. We usually leave them there while we go out to eat. We prefer to bring our dog along when we go exploring. You should probably leave your dog alone for much less time than at home. It’s important to remember that this is a new experience for your pet and a place they may find confusing. The concierge may also be able, depending on how good the hotel is, to suggest pet-friendly things to do in the city with your dog. It’s fun to bring your dog along and include them in all activities. If you’re going out to eat, and the only place to sit is inside, then meals are an exception. Grace and I like to order room service to spend more time with Willie.
  • Pack their usual food and make sure they are fed at regular times. There are often treat stations set up in the lobby of dog-friendly hotels (we saw one at the Hilton San Francisco Bayfront, where we stayed during a wedding and it was adorable and thoughtful). But be cautious about trying new foods in an unfamiliar place. There are even doggy menus in some hotels, but I would personally avoid them. Your dog will be happier eating his normal food even if ordering something new seems exciting. A dog’s stomach upset in a hotel is a recipe disaster.
  • When booking, you should also consider the layout of the hotel (or ask for more information). If your dog has any special needs, keep them in mind. Casper would find it stressful to go through a crowded hotel lobby, especially when there are other dogs present. Hotels like the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa with casita style and separate entrances for every room were much more preferable to him. Willie is not bothered by a lobby. In fact, he enjoys the attention he gets from strangers whenever he sees a dog at a hotel. The dog-friendly rooms at Best Westerns open up directly to a grassy area through the back doors. This is a great idea. Ask about the layout if you are worried about your dog getting through a busy lobby. In some hotels, the dog-friendly rooms are on the 10th level. This is after a long and winding hallway with a huge elevator bay. It’s not ideal, but it is good to be aware of in advance.

This overview of staying with dogs at hotels is hoped to be helpful. Staying in a hotel with a well-behaved and quiet dog can be an enjoyable experience. Keep an open mind when it comes to hotels that accept pets. Also, bring your dog’s favorite toys, beds, and treats so they feel comfortable.

Enjoy your travels! If you know of any pet-friendly hotels I would love to hear about and visit one day.

Traveling with pets: Tips for long car, bus, or train journeys

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