Forget fancy boarding kennels or hiring a pet-sitter: Modern travelers are taking their precious pups with them on vacation. Sixty million U.S. households own a dog, according to a recent survey, and 60 percent of hotels were pet friendly in 2014, up 10 percent from eight years earlier. Now, as Americans spend upwards of $60 billion on their pets, hotels are stepping up the perks.
At many properties, canine guests are greeted with toys and treats upon check-in, and rooms are stocked with plush dog beds, along with food and water bowls. Some pet-friendly hotels are taking it to the next level with pup-specific gourmet room service offerings, curated itineraries, and on-location doggy ambassadors. At these places, pet parents no longer have to stress about their canine companions being allowed but unwelcome: When it comes to traveling with your fur-baby, these perks make it truly feel like it’s (finally) the Year of the Dog.
W South Beach in Miami, Florida
W South Beach recently introduced the Pets Are Welcome (PAW) Program to treat four-legged guests to the same levels of luxurious service from check-in to check-out. Pets are greeted with a new toy, treat, W Hotels pet tag, clean-up bags, pet bed, and a “pet in room” door sign. And they’re not forgotten when it’s time for turndown: A special treat before bedtime will make dogs feel like they’re in ultimate pup heaven. Located right on the dazzling oceanfront and just steps from lively Collins Avenue, W South Beach also offers plenty of variety when it comes to walking routes.
At the W South Beach, pet fees are $25 above the room rates in addition to a nonrefundable $100 cleaning fee. One pet is allowed per room, with a weight limit of 40 pounds. Rooms at the W South Beach start at $349.
Ojai Valley Inn in Ojai, California
When pet owners escape to this iconic getaway with their pups, they might wonder who’s getting the better vacation. The Ojai Valley Inn greets canine guests with organic homemade dog treats, eco-friendly Harry Barker pet beds, and plenty of sunny pet-friendly areas for walking, exercise, and play. Plus, there's a welcome letter from Coco, the hotel's official puppy ambassador. The adorable Cavalier King Charles spaniel can be spotted around the resort welcoming dog friends to the property (and can be followed on Instagram at @theluxuriouslifeofcoco).
At the Ojai Valley Inn, there is a $150 additional fee for the first dog and $50 pet fee for the second dog. There are no size or breed restrictions. Rooms start at $379.
Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley, California
Napa is a dream destination for foodies and wine enthusiasts, and Calistoga Ranch generously offers a wealth of gastronomic pleasures to its four-legged guests as well. Discerning dogs are greeted with a wine bottle full of treats and an invitation to enjoy the resort’s signature animal attraction—a applewood-smoked bacon scavenger hunt (seriously). Staffers hide smoked bacon and then guide a walk through the estate vineyard while dogs sniff out their well-deserved treat. Although the hunt is available at any time during the stay, it can be particularly helpful for dispensing with some of that pent-up energy after a long journey. The guest room will also be fitted with a plush dog bed and food and water bowls—and pup guests don’t have to be relegated to kibble here. The canine culinary room service menu features organic and gourmet dishes for dogs, including braised short rib served over brown rice; organic chicken, unseasoned, chopped, and tossed with fresh pasta; and the Calistoga Ranch burger, raw or rare, served over steamed white short grain rice. Bone appétit. (Yeah, we went there.)
At the Calistoga Ranch, there is a one-time, nonrefundable fee of $125 per pet. There are no size or breed restrictions. Rooms start at $521.
The Duniway in Portland, Oregon
There isn’t yet a gourmet kibble food truck in one of the nation’s top food truck cities, so an indulgent and all-natural “doggy bag” gift box from Mud Bay is waiting for canine travelers upon check-in at The Duniway Portland. Also included: a plush bed, food bowls and mats, toys and tennis balls. The extra-large rooms (all more than 300 square feet) offer ample space for you and your pet to unwind and recharge. The dog-loving concierges also create curated "paw lists" of to-dos, including local groomers, suggested walks, off-leash zones, day care, and a pet supply store.
At The Duniway, there is a nonrefundable $100 pet fee and a weight limit of 70 pounds. Rooms start at $161.
For every pet that stays at The James, the hotel will make a donation to ALIVE Rescue, a local no-kill rescue dog organization.
The James on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago
The James says it believes that pets are part of the family—which is why they’re always accepted at the property. The hotel also recognizes that pooches don’t always love the journey as much as their humans do, which is why they are welcomed with all-natural products from the Holistic Home Company. The dog calm spray has dog-friendly essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and clary sage to calm anxiety and alleviate the stress of a new environment. The dog paw balm has beeswax, coconut oil, olive oil, vitamin E oil, and shea butter to soothe damaged paw pads and protect them from hot or cold weather. And for every pet that stays at The James, the hotel will make a donation to ALIVE Rescue, a local no-kill rescue dog organization.
At The James, there is a one-time $75 pet cleaning fee and no size or breed restrictions. Rooms start at $170.
Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas
When you check into the Four Seasons in Austin, you and your pup will be greeted with a plush dog bed, food and water bowls, a Four Seasons bandanna, and a supply of bottled water. And most importantly: gourmet dog treats made in-house by the executive pastry chef. Although your dog might be happy enough to immediately plop onto that dog bed, the real pet-friendly perk of this Four Seasons is its location. Perched on the edge of Lady Bird Lake, the back lawn is filled with hammocks, sloping lawns, and towering trees—and offers easy access to the miles of hiking trails that loop around the lake. And if you or your dog have trouble falling asleep in strange places, the front desk will happily deliver a white noise machine to your room.
At the Four Seasons Austin, there is no pet fee but pets must be under the 60-pound weight limit. Rooms start at $525.
Kimpton Hotels Nationwide
It’s always worth checking to see if there’s availability at a Kimpton property if you want to bring your four-legged friend along on your vacation. Kimpton’s pet-friendly policy is famous for good reason: no extra charges, no height or weight limits, and no limit on the number of pets per room. Pups will be welcomed by name and are also warmly invited to the nightly wine reception—free treats for them, free drinks for you. Many properties also have their very own director of pet relations to greet fellow furry guests, and the concierge is happy to provide a customized list of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, bars, and parks.
At Kimpton Hotels, there is no additional pet fee and there are no restrictions on number of pets, pet size, or breed.