Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pet Friendly Paradise: Hotels That Get it Right

MSNBC has a nice little piece on pet-friendly hotels in the U.S.  While I haven't stayed at any of the properties profiled, I have braved the plane hell and hotel hassle of bringing my dog with me on the road and found some great options.

Birdie in San Antonio
All Kimpton properties are pet friendly.  I brought my dog, Birdie, to Seattle where we stayed in the Alexis Hotel   which is within walking distance to Pike Place market.  It was fabulous.  They had a gourmet dog-bone welcome gift for Birdie, as well as their own beautiful lab on staff.

From Seattle we stayed at the Pacific Palisades hotel in Vancouver, another Kimpton property which welcomed us with open arms.  Birdie's gift was a simple little travel dog bowl from Ikea.  They were nice enough to decorate it and it's become our travel bowl for her any time we're on the road.  It was a cheap little item that the staff put some effort into making special.  Smart gesture on their part as it has become a lasting, warm memory for our family.

Many more pet-friendly hotels come to mind.  Birdie has visited the Hotel San Jose in Austin, a few Ritz-Carlton properties, the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi and Hotel ZaZa in Houston where she got on tv when a local station did a story profiling hotels that have "gone to the dogs".

We've also stayed in New York's Waldorf-Astoria, where the doormen absolutely fell in love with Birdie.  I was surprised at how accommodating they were.  They were just fabulous. 

The security guards at a particular office building on Park Avenue didn't appreciate it, however, when she decided to use the bathroom on their greenspace outside the skyscraper (of course, we picked it up!) When a dog's gotta go, she just has to go.

Some Advice: 
Check the hotel's website regarding its pet policy but go the extra step to call the property directly.  With Kimpton properties, you know they are pet friendly but you still have to let them know you are coming with your pet.  Also some hotels use their own discretion.  The Waldorf-Astoria's website said one thing, while the representative from the hotel said another.

Some hotels charge crazy-high fees while others allow pets for free.  It's on a hotel by hotel basis and it's always better to call the property and get a contact name of a hotel representative in case there's any discrepancy or confusion.
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