Headed out on a family road trip this summer? With dogs and children along, you’ll need to employ some strategy when it comes to spending a night on the road or at your destination. A dog-friendly (or better yet, dog-passionate) hotel is one that doesn’t just tolerate dogs to get your business, but welcomes them with a pat, a smile and attention to their needs.
A truly dog-friendly hotel will stand ready to recommend restaurants with canine- and kid-friendly outdoor seating, places dogs and kids can romp and solutions to the aggravating issue of what to do when you need to go someplace your furry friend is not invited.
Trust your gut and your budget—but look for promotional deals, too. For example, most Hilton hotels (including some under the Embassy Suites, Double Tree, Homewood Suites and Hampton flags) are dog-friendly and have plenty of amenities for families, too. Participating hotels in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego are taking part this summer in a “Best of California” road-trip promotion that provides travel guides and collectible keys that let guests “unlock” a digital book of value-priced offers for Hilton guests in each of the cities.
Starwood hotels (including the Sheraton, Westin and W brands) have a P.A.W. (Pets Are Welcome) program that provides a welcome packet, food and water bowls, dog bed and variety of services available through the concierge. Kimpton and Joie de Vivre, the leading boutique hotel players in California, are leaders of the pack when it comes to dog-friendly policies. Kimpton’s HosPETality program makes available everything from dog beds to dog-friendly travel tips.
Many moderate and budget-priced lodging brands welcome pets, but since some properties are individually owned, fees and policies vary by location. Not all Best Westerns are pet-friendly, for example. But more than 1,000 nationwide are, and an online search function makes finding one a snap. La Quinta Inns and Suites, always clean and comfortable, welcomes pets at most of its 700-plus locations, often at no extra charge. Pets also stay free at more than 300 Red Roof Inns in 36 states. And while they might not be sexy, it's good to know that at Motel 6, the light is always on for canine travelers, with no fees or deposits required. If your dog is registered with the American Kennel Club, you’ll get a 10 percent discount when booking online. Other pet-friendly chains include Econo-Lodge, Clarion Inn and Suites, Comfort Suites, Travel Lodge and Rodeway Inns.
Before making reservations at a dog-friendly hotel, ask about weight and breed restrictions and make sure you’re fully informed about damage waivers, deposits, per-night or per-stay charges and cleaning fees. We’ve compiled a list of questions to help you avoid disappointment, along with tips on being a good guest. Check them out here.