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More hotels allowing pets to stay

March 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Wish you could take Fido or Fifi on your next vacation? It is getting easier to do as more and more hotels are willing to accommodate travelers' pets. But there's a lot you should know before booking your next trip with your pet.

The Hilton is just one of many hotel chains that are now catering to four-legged guests. At some hotels, pets get special treats and their very own pillow to lounge on.

"They are just as much a part of the family as a child, or an uncle, or any other member of the family and we want them to be just as comfortable," said Julie Torres with Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

Pet-friendly hotels run the gamut from the Econo Lodge and Best Western to the Ritz-Carlton.

"The price can differ a lot. Some rooms [add] $25 a night for your pet, others a lot more," said Consumer Reports' Tod Marks.

And there can be other hotel pet expenses, such as a refundable $100 deposit or you may be required to accept financial liability for any damage caused by your pets. And some hotels, like the W, charge a $100 cleaning fee.

"It's really important to call ahead to the hotel you're staying at because while many chains are pet-friendly, not all hotels within that chain accept pets. So you need to call ahead and find out if there are any restrictions," said Marks.

Some of those include weight, size, and breed restrictions.

"If your dog doesn't meet the criteria to stay at a particular hotel, don't give up hope. All isn't lost. It always pays to call ahead. Explain that your dog has a wonderful disposition, wonderful temperament, and you never know, they might waive these restrictions," advised Marks.

Don't forget to ask if you need to bring proof of your pet's up-to-date vaccinations.

When booking a room with a pet, check to see if you're allowed to leave the pet alone in the room or if your pet needs to be in a crate. Also ask about available amenities. Some hotels offer dog-sitting and walking, as well as pet massages. But, of course, check to see what the hotel charges for these extras.