Hotels Roll Out the Red Carpet for Pets

A cream-colored labradoodle dog with curly thick hair, sits on a dark green velvet couch that sits in front of a bed with white sheets in a room with white walls.
Kimpton, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts, has been pet-friendly since it was founded in 1981. Above, a dog relaxes in a room at the Kimpton Alton Hotel in San Francisco.

By Stephanie Rosenbloom/ May 15, 2023

If you wouldn’t dream of going on vacation without your pet, you’re in luck. Hotels and resorts are increasingly catering to them with new packages and amenities (or “pet-menities,” as Virgin Hotels puts it), be it an in-room dining menu for dogs with a “beef woofslider” at Andaz Mexico City Condesa, or a posh pet blanket made of recycled wool from one of the Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts in Britain. Perks abound, like “puppuccinos” at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., and paw-and-nose balm at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass.

With more and more guests wanting to travel with their pets, especially since the pandemic, major hotel companies such as MarriottHilton and Kimpton are rolling out or expanding their programs across thousands of hotels and vacation rentals. While many inns have long welcomed pets, today all kinds of lodgings are courting them. Whether you and your furry friend are seeking a budget hotel in Ithaca, N.Y., or a villa in Umbria, Italy, these new programs and properties aim to make it easy for the both of you to sit and stay.

A spacious modern room with wood floors, white and wooden walls, rounded counters and a few round tables with black chairs, has wall-to-wall windows stenciled with black images of dogs in various shapes and sizes. Through the window, one can see a patio area, beside which is parked a food truck covered with a mural that includes a yellow dog with blue ears.
At the Andaz Mexico City Condesa, guests and their dogs can relax over snacks at the indoor-outdoor Wooftop Beer Garden & Canine Club, where a food truck offers “dog beer” made with water, bone broth and herbs.

If you’re longing for a getaway with the four-legged love of your life, the first Andaz in Mexico City might be the perfect escape. You can hang out at the hotel’s indoor-outdoor Wooftop Beer Garden & Canine Club and enjoy snacks and drinks from a food truck that offers “dog beer” — not to worry, it’s made with water, bone broth, meat and herbs — for your companion, and then check out the pop-up pet accessory boutique from Perro de Mundo. Retreat to one of the 213 rooms and suites and you’ll find a record player (a nod to the neighborhood’s longstanding record store La Roma Records) and a minibar with Mexican snacks and drinks. And for your pet? A dog bed and an in-room dining menu with dishes that could make a human jealous, including chicken Xolo-taco (a corn tortilla and shredded chicken with steamed vegetables) and salmon fillet (salmon steak, broccoli and green peas). For dessert (your dog’s, not yours), there’s birthday cake: apple cookie, banana and peanut butter.

The new hotel, in a restored Art Deco building and designed by the architect José Luis Benlliure Galán, is situated amid cafes and shops on leafy streets that make for charming walks. It’s also close to the Parque México, a popular gathering spot for dog owners. Inside the hotel you’ll find playful touches like magenta escalators and hot pink walls, a nod to the bold use of color in the work of the Mexican architect Luis Barragán. When you get hungry, the Cabuya Rooftop restaurant, designed to conjure a Tulum beach club, has views of the city skyline, weekend D.J. sets and a menu of coastal Baja- and Yucatán-inspired flavors. Cocktails make use of agave, like the Pechuga Tonic, which includes mezcal de pechuga, orange and mandarin flavors, tonic and sparkling wine. For coffee, tea and handmade pastries, pop into the Derba Matcha Café. There’s also a heated rooftop pool, a fitness center and a spa with local Mexican products. Prices from $269 a night; the pet fee (cats are also welcome) per room is $100 per pet.

A silvery skyscraper rises into a clear blue sky. The bottom floors are wider than the tower, and on one window, about three stories above a city street, a red sign reads “Virgin Hotels.”
At Virgin’s first hotel in New York City “pet-menities” include a dog bed that the hotel promises is “as comfortable as your human’s.”

Never mind the amenities for humans. Virgin’s first hotel in New York City, which had its grand opening party in April, offers “pet-menities,” including a dog bed that the hotel promises pets is “as comfortable as your human’s,” a food and water dish, and a Virgin Hotels dog bandanna. Dogs also receive treats from Shameless Pets, a company that upcycles leftover food into treats.

A small black dachshund dog with black and white markings stands on a red and white striped towel atop a lounge chair. Nearby are more lounge chairs with blue accent pillows and folded towels. A red umbrella rises above them, and in the distance are urban buildings.
A Virgin Hotels guest relaxes poolside.

Occupying the block between 29th and 30th streets on Broadway, Virgin Hotels New York City is in NoMad near Madison Square Park with its popular dog run. Its 460 rooms and suites have red mini-fridges, yoga mats, smart TVs, lights and thermostats that can be controlled with the Virgin Hotels mobile app, and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the city, including, in some cases, the Empire State Building. You and your pup are but a short walk from that Art Deco skyscraper as well as the Flatiron Building and, should you venture a little farther, the Gramercy Park neighborhood. More city views await at Everdene, a 4,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor dining and cocktail space, which has daybeds and stadium-style seating. A pool club for hotel guests has opened, just in time for summer. Prices from $595 a night; free for pets.

A white-walled hotel room is dominated by a large bed with white bed clothes. There is a small round table with two modern white chairs, over which are two black hooded light fixtures attached to the wall. In another corner of the room, there is a rose-colored velvet chair with a rounded low back. Heavy black curtains are pulled back from a very large arched window.
Like other Kimpton hotels, the new Kimpton the Forum Hotel, on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., doesn’t charge extra for pets.

This new 198-room boutique hotel opened in Charlottesville, Va., in April and has all the benefits pet owners have come to expect from Kimpton, which has been pet-friendly since it was founded in 1981. Its hotels don’t charge extra for pets, and they have essentials on hand, like water bowls and doggy bags, as well as lists of local pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers and boutiques. Last year, Kimpton, part of IHG Hotels & Resorts, introduced a partnership with Wag!, an app that connects pet owners with local caregivers for services like dog walking and pet sitting. So if you’re a guest at a Kimpton property in the United States, you can schedule walks and drop-ins (for a fee). You’ll also receive a complimentary month of Wag! Premium, which provides discounts on services and waives booking fees.

Kimpton the Forum Hotel is on the grounds of the University of Virginia, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and was founded by Thomas Jefferson (who designed the Academical Village at its heart). The hotel, located at the Darden School of Business, is about a mile-and-a-half walk to the university’s Central Grounds. It’s also near botanical gardens and an arboretum, offering plenty of picturesque and historical places for you to stroll with your pet. After a day of exploring (Charlottesville is rich in hiking trails, too), you and your dog can return to the hotel and dine on outdoor patios. Fill up at Birch & Bloom, a steakhouse with farm-to-table offerings, or if you’d prefer bar snacks and brews, head to the Good Sport for craft beer from the likes of Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Blue Mountain Brewery. Prices from $269 a night; free for pets.

A small, brown, short-haired dog stands beside a woman in jeans in a hotel lobby. Beside the dog are two dog bowls with "Aloft" printed on them, a Frisbee and a toy dog bone. The woman is standing at a rounded counter, the bottom of which is purple with white lines in an undulating pattern.
At Aloft hotels in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, pets receive a free kit with a bowl, a bed and toy.

When checking into some of the latest Aloft hotels — Aloft Austin SouthwestAloft Playa del Carmen and Aloft Chicago Schaumburg — you and your pet can participate in the brand’s ARF (Animals R Fun) program, which is available at Alofts in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. Pets receive a free ARF kit with a bowl, a bed and a Frisbee or rope toy. (Some properties may even dole out additional amenities, like dog towels and paw wipes.) More Aloft hotels, which are geared toward travelers who enjoy music and a social scene, are set to open this year, including Aloft New York Chelsea and Aloft Indianapolis Downtown. Nightly pet fees vary by hotel.

A hotel guest room shows two dogs -- one black and white, the other brown and shaggy -- in a hotel room with a white-sheeted bed, gray couch and bright yellow wall. The black and white dog has a pink baseball cap in its mouth and is walking toward the other dog which is sitting in the middle of an open suitcase filled with what looks like dog toys.
Nearly 85 percent of U.S. Hilton properties are pet‑friendly.

As anyone who travels with a pet knows, sometimes questions or concerns about their health or behavior arise while you’re on the road. If you happen to be at a Canopy by HiltonEmbassy Suites by HiltonHomewood Suites by HiltonHilton Garden InnHampton by Hilton or Tru by Hilton hotel in the United States or Canada, you’re able to get free virtual support from a service called Mars PET On-Demand from Mars Petcare, a pet products and services company. Guests can gain access to the service through a phone help line and a website with a live-chat feature and get advice and answers to questions about pet health, wellness and behavior. Last year, Hilton announced that it had expanded its partnership with Mars Petcare, as well as its pet-friendly offerings, to more than 4,600 hotels in the United States and Canada. One pet-friendly program is Canopy by Hilton Paws in the Neighborhood. If, for example, you and your dog are staying at certain Canopy hotels, you’ll be provided with a dog bed, food, a water bowl and a “bark bag” with a toy, treats and a guide to pet-friendly activities. Today, nearly 85 percent of U.S. Hilton properties are pet‑friendly. Check individual hotels for programs, policies and pricing. Pet fees apply and vary by hotel.

Since the pandemic, one of the most popular search filters on Marriott’s luxury home rental booking site has been “pets allowed.” In response to more travelers taking their pets on vacation, Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy, which has more than 80,000 upscale and luxury rentals around the world, has teamed up with Petco Health + Wellness Company. For the last several months, users of the Homes & Villas booking site have been able to browse “Pet-Friendly Picks by Petco,” where they can check out properties from West Palm Beach, Fla., to Athens. You’ll find homes that have yards or are near walking or hiking trails, or pet-friendly beaches. Some may also offer amenities such as kennels, bedding, toys and treats. Whether you choose a penthouse in Barcelona or a roomy log cabin in Waynesville, N.C., there are plenty of high-end, pet-friendly homes, many for less than the cost of a hotel room. (If a property has pet fees, they’re included in the home listing.) Other home rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo also enable users to search for properties that allow pets, though Marriott’s platform is particularly attractive to members of its loyalty program because they can earn and redeem points for their stays.

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