Pets are family, so it’s no wonder that people take dogs and cats along on trips. Compared with your blood relatives, your pooch or kitty may be the least demanding members of your traveling pack.
“More and more pet owners will do anything for their pets. Owners are buying treats and food that resemble their own. It makes sense that people want to travel with their pets,” says George Puro, president of Puro Research and author of Packaged Facts report U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2016-2017.
To accommodate this market, 60% of U.S. hotels accept four-pawed companions, according to a 2014 survey by the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Pets receive welcomes at both ends of the lodging scale: 80% of luxury chains allow pets as do 79% of economy chains.
But not all “pet-friendly” hotels are alike. What’s there to growl about? Some hotels that say they’re pet-friendly also have weight restrictions, added fees, and requirements that owners remain with pets whenever the animals are in the hotel room. That means that unless you choose your hotel wisely, you could forgo the local museum or else fetch a dog-sitter at an additional cost.
Also, many hotels allow only one “pocketbook size” pooch often weighing 25 pounds or less. That leaves big dog lovers like me and people with two dogs, also me, with no room at the inn.
I sniffed out the truly pet-friendly chains, rating them on a scale of one to five paws, with 5 being the best for pets and their people on a budget.
La Quinta Inns & Suites: 5-paws
La Quinta’s 880 properties welcome cats and dogs except for a few that cannot because of local regulations. While you must bring your own pet bed and toys, as well as a litter box for your kitty, the chain allows well-behaved critters to stay alone in the room and receives big tail wags for not charging animal fees or deposits.
Weight limit: none; Pet maximum: 2; Fees: NoneAmenities: None
Kimpton Hotels: 4.5-paws
All 60 Kimpton properties in the U.S. welcome pets. “We accept all reasonable pets. If they can fit through the hotel doors, they’re welcome,” says a Kimpton spokesperson. Over the years, the chain has housed llamas and even penguins. Take your dog to the nightly wine reception, where, at some properties, they might meet the resident Director of Pet Relations, a friendly canine. If you have to go where you pet can’t, Kimpton “strongly advises” that you either crate your animal or hire a pet-sitter.
Weight limit: none; Pet maximum: none; Fees: none
Amenities: Pet beds, water bowls, toys, clean-up bags, door hanger sign informing staff that your pet is inside.
Loews Hotels and Resorts: 4.5 paws
The “Loews Loves Pets” program has long been a leader in welcoming four-pawed family members. All 24 Loews’ properties accept big dogs, which not hotels do, plus little animals as well as cats. Well-behaved critters may stay alone in their rooms. The front desk will call your mobile phone if your puppy or kitten gets lonely. At Loews Coronado Bay Resort, in San Diego, dogs can learn how to hang 20 during a private surfing lesson from hotel partner Coronado Surfing Academy.
Weight limit: none; Pet maximum: 2; Fee: Non-refundable and varies by property.
Amenities: Name tags, bowls, treats, door hanger “pet is in” sign and a room service menu for your pet. You can request pet beds, litter boxes, litter scoopers and scratching posts ahead of time.
Red Roof Inn: 4 Paws
During your stay, the chain encourages you to post photos of your four-footed friend’s frolics on RedRoofLuvsPets, its Facebook site. Of Red Roof’s 456 properties, only three cannot accept pets because of local laws. In February, the chain’s pets’ month, to receive a 15% discount.
Weight limit: none; Pet maximum: 1; Fees: noneAmenities: None
Provenance Hotels: 4 Paws
Provenance Hotels deserves tail wags for the chain’s recent pet-friendly upgrade. Seven of its eight owned and managed properties partnered with add creature comforts for animal guests. Along with pet care books to borrow and lists of local groomers, masseurs, and pet psychics, owners will find pet beds and other items in the rooms. Each property has different freebies; of the seven hotels in the enhanced pet program, only the amenities remain consistent. Animals may be left alone in the hotel room, but at the Hotel Murano, Tacoma, WA, they must be crated if they are.
Weight limit: Varies per property, so call ahead; Pet maximum: Varies. The chain seems willing to discuss it on a case-by-case basis, but get the blessing of the manager ahead of time; Fees: $45. The Hotel Murano in Tacoma adds another $20 for each additional pet.
Amenities: Treats; in-room dining menus of human-grade, dehydrated food for cats and dogs; pet beds made from recycled plastic bottles and “eco-friendly” materials; door hanger notice; pet dog tags.
Best Western: 3 Paws
Dogs may check in with their owners at 1,600 Best Western properties. If going down the road with your cat, bird, monkey, snake, or other critter, obtain the manager’s permission ahead of time. On Best Western’s website, dog whisperer Cesar Millan offers tips for road trips with pets.
Weight limit: 80 pounds per animal; Pet maximum: 2 dogs; Fees: Varies by property. Maximum of $20 per day with a limit of $100 per week plus a refundable deposit of up to $50 per stay.Amenities: None.
Sheraton Hotels and Resorts: 3 Paws
Sheraton hotels accept dogs that are 80 pounds or less. At each manager’s discretion, bigger dogs or other animals may check in too, but no creature may be left unattended.
Weight limit: 80 pounds; Pet maximum: 1; Fees: Vary by property.
Amenities: Vary by property but may include pet beds, bowls and floor mats.
Other pet-tolerant or pet-friendly chains:
One dog weighing 50 pounds or less or two dogs with a combined weight of 75 pounds or less may register at some (but not all) Park Hyatt, Andaz, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt and Grand Hyatt properties. Often, the hotels provide bowls and I.D. tags but they always charge non-refundable fees.
More than 120 of Doubletree’s 460 hotels worldwide accept dogs and cats whose owners pay a typical fee of $75. The weight, number of animals, and amenities vary with the property. Guests must stay with their pets at all times.
As extended stay properties, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites are Marriott’s most pet-friendly brands, with some lodgings allowing two animals per room. Fees apply and humans may leave animals alone in their rooms.