Tuesday, April 9, 2013

City Dog: Staying in a Dog-Friendly Hotel

The other week our pups had the chance to play Eloise as we needed to find some quick in-town accommodations for all of us. While we've done it once before, we've always been a bit nervous about dog-hotel logistics. Here are some things we've learned about staying in a dog-friendly hotel:

On Potty Breaks and Finding that Patch of Grass
While our pups are used to used to peeing like city dogs (we wrote more about it here), we found how important it was to have a central peeing location to limit the time spent on potty breaks. While there usually isn't much grass downtown, we were able to find a single patch on a side-street that became our dogs' go to space. We realized a lot of dogs must have frequented this spot, so it became our 'go-to' spot to keep our wandering around at a minimum.
Our dogs are also fine riding in elevators, though if your dog isn't used to confined spaces, or mirrors, it would be a good idea to request a room on a lower floor so you're able to take the stairs.

Beware of Sounds and Drain Mental Energy
Living in a multi-unit building, our pups get used to footsteps in the hallway, voices and doors shutting. Though even they were a bit alarmed with the footsteps and sounds outside the door. Our pooches aren't really barkers, though we were still afraid that if we left them alone Miss M might start singing
The first night when the pooches were still getting accustomed to everything we stayed with the pups watching movies, ordering take-out, late night room service, and picking up cheap wine from a nearby Trader Joe's.
 The second day we were able to spend a lot of time wandering around. Between the walking and the mental stimulation between the new sights and sounds (and meeting people!) the dogs were completely tired when we came back home, and they happily passed out while E and I were able to head back out for a nice dinner.

Suit Up
We knew how much the hotel loved dogs, but we know not everyone does. We know extra gear makes our pups more approachable, and since our pups were decked out in their black puffy coats and fancy snoods they were well-received by so many people. We received a 'what a handsome family' compliment, and overheard a woman saying to her husband 'Why are you in a short-sleeved shirt? Even the dogs out here are wearing scarves."

Being Respectful and Paying it Forward
We love when places are so open about involving dogs, so we always try to leave a good impression so people continue to think positively about dog owners. We worked to keep our room tidy, taking out any dog-related trash, wiping our dogs feet when we came back inside, being considerate in the elevators, and tipping well.

Finding Supportive Hotels:
We had a really great experience at the James Hotel Chicago. The hotel prides itself on being a dog-friendly hotel without breed and size restrictions. They also provide dog beds, dog bowls and treats. The staff was always beyond friendly giving the pups a pat and holding the door for us. The hotel charges a $75 dog fee for the entire stay, which was actually cheaper for us than putting the pups in boarding for the time we needed to stay. It also has a great location on Michigan Avenue in the heart of downtown with easy access for walks along the lake, great restaurants (including take-out), and right across from a Trader Joe's. They also have very reasonable weekday stays, though last minute weekends are quite pricy!
On our last trip we also had a really positive experience with Drury Hotels which have several locations.

We would love to hear about other people's experiences. What are some things you've learned about having dogs in hotels? And what are some of your hotel recommendations?

Sometimes it's like this though it can also get like this. Or even this.


Luv My Rosie said...

Im sure the pups were thrilled to be able to jump on a nice fluffy bed!!

Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

how fun! Unfortunately, Tess doesn't do so well alone in a new place, so I'm sure we'd have issues if we left her alone. But a vacation in the summer time where we could take them to eat on a patio with be would be perfect!

Anonymous said...

Miss Lucy LOVES staying in hotels. She's so spoiled! We always bring her pen with us, so she has a 'safe place' to go if the sounds and smells start to overwhelm her.

All of the Kimpton hotels are dog-friendly (we always stay at the Kimpton Hotel Allegro while we are in Chicago), and I know many Red Roof Inns and Microtels are as well. The Microtel rooms can be a bit cramped with a big dog (Lucy is about 60-65 pounds), but she had a blast at the Red Roof Inn, which had doors directly to the outside instead of to a hallway. I appreciated that, because it minimized the chance she could encounter another dog in a small space and get anxious. But boy does she get excited when she gets to stay in a hotel!

Laura and Hans said...

Wilbur loves motels and does very well in them and the only time he barks is when someone knocks on the door (pizza delivery!). Unfortunately we've stayed at a couple of pretty seedy places (a girl was murdered in the room behind us the day before we arrived) and I didn't mind at all if our pit looked scary. One time we brought his potty patch and put it close to our room (outside of course) so we wouldn't have to wander around too much. We would then tie it to our bike rack while on the road. La Quinta welcomes all dogs and there is no extra charge.

Anonymous said...

How did you know they were ok to leave? I think that is my one concern, that they will go bonkers when we leave the room! Like full on Kurt Cobain.

zookeeper3 said...

Loews Hotels are also dog friendly without breed restrictions. When the "derecho" blew through the East Coast last summer it happened to be when I was staying with my parents who also have 2 dogs. The power was out for a week and it was HOT! So off to Loews we went! We had 2 rooms, 4 dogs, 3 adults and 2 kids. And they welcomed us with open arms and even gave us a "no power" special rate. It was AWESOME!

DeeDee said...

I appreciate how conscientious you are about others, and that you saw this (like everything!) as an opportunity to leave people with positive impressions of families with dogs. Thanks for sharing! :)

kimba said...

We've used Motel 6 here in the US when we've had long moves between cities, and though it's hardly palatial, they're very nice, they don't charge much for pets, and they're good with cats, too.

When we live in Europe, we've found that many hotels are dog friendly, though most of the hotels we've stayed in stipulate that you can't leave dogs unattended in the rooms. It's so much more accepted there to travel, eat and shop with dogs, and since dogs are expected to be well-behaved, they rise to the occasion.

Two Pitties in the City said...

When we stayed at the Drury you weren't supposed to leave your dog unattended, and I think the policy was that if your dog barked and disturbed another guest you would need to pay for that guests' room. The James didn't have that policy, and they said they never had an issue, but we were still super nervous about leaving them alone and any time we did the trips were really short. We definitely did notice that after the first day, since we were literally walking around everywhere, and it was so much mental stimulation, the dogs were so tired that they weren't even moving when we were in the room. I think it was also an added benefit for them that they were allowed to stay on the bed, so they actually liked it when we were gone. We also made sure to leave the 'Do not Disturb' sign up so no one would come in the room. We also brought kongs and Mr B's favorite stuffies.

sweetemaline said...

I have no idea how our dogs would act at a hotel... I think it looks like your pups are having a blast!

Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie

Kate said...

We've never had to do this, but we've talked about it before. I tend to think our dogs would just sleep, haha. They are so laid back about everything it's ridiculous. I love how pet friendly that hotel is (and nice! love the decor!).

Two French Bulldogs said...

Mom enjoys taking us too. She is afraid we may scream but we are usually not allowed to be left alone anyway. One time , when mom was taking me home for the first time we were at a hotel at the Grand Canyon. In the middle of the night I went into the bathroom and pooped next to the toilet bowl, BOL
Benny & Lily

Unknown said...

Soft bed, room service and free strokes and pats. And did I hear TREATS? I'm game.

Allie said...

This is awesome! What a fantastic hotel to know about. We'll post soon about our best travel tips. We also stayed in a Drury (in Albuquerque) and they were great about the pooches. La Quinta is also a good choice though not as nice overall as Drury or other more expensive hotels.

Anonymous said...

Kimpton Hotels!!! they are nation wide boutique hotels(we stayed in one in DC with Knox: http://pittiefullove.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/birthday-treats/) and also one in Philly. SO dog friendly and will even provide crates. Thanks for this post!

bluedog said...

Good to see some dog friendly recommendations, esp no weight restriction! It's hard to travel with a Great Dane, even is she is very well behaved!

Emily said...

Great piece! I didn't realize the James was dog-friendly. I have stayed at several Westin hotels with my Maltese/Shih Tzu mix - and most of their locations are dog-friendly as well. My guy walks around the Cadillac Book Westin in Detroit like he owns the joint - marble entryway and all. The staff knows his name and are very accommodating as we're frequent guests due to business travel. Your tips here are right on-target. Since I travel with him for business, we found a local doggie daycare that he attends during the day, and we'v spotted local dog-friendly outdoor dining venues to frequent together in the evenings. Chicago, Detroit and many other major markets have a growing list of dog-friendly shops, bars and outdoor dining venues, as well as dog parks!

Mel said...

Marriott has a GREAT pet-friendly search interface.


Totally saved us during our last minute trip planning last Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Loved reading about this!

Unknown said...

Beautiful blog! I really like the topic since I have been reading lots of reviews on pet friendly hotels. It's a great thing I came across your blog, I learned so much from it. I used to travel with pet that's why there's a need for me to know the hotel rules regarding this. Thanks so much for sharing.


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