Last year, Carol Moroz enjoyed her stay at the Ellis Hotel in Atlanta. The Syracuse, N.Y., resident loved the historic boutique style of the hotel, the red velvet couch in the lobby, the friendly staff.
But the way the hotel accommodated her dog, a 14-pound Maltipoo named Macy, stood out above everything else.
“It felt like home,” said Moroz. “The staff loved Macy, and they made her feel so welcome.”
Hotels are becoming increasingly pet-friendly.
From ordering chef-created meals (for dogs and cats) delivered to a guest’s door to rooms being outfitted with dog beds and chew toys to pets being greeted in the lobby with homemade treats, hotels are adding many features to cater to guests with pets. Pet-friendly hotels and restaurants around the globe are listed on www.bringfido.com.
The Ellis Hotel has recently upgraded its pet-friendly floor with amenities that include new organic farm-to-table cuisine from the Ellis’ Terrace Bistro – designed to not only appeal to people, but dogs and cats, too. The hotel also gives pets “Ellis” red bandannas upon arrival.
Hotel Indigo, boutique hotel properties with four in metro Atlanta and 38 total across the country, has long been dog-friendly, and in the spring of 2005, Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown started hosting weekly “Canine Cocktails,” complete with water bowls for dogs and special dog menus available.
Canine Cocktails, a time when local residents and their dogs can mix and mingle over cocktails on the patio, has since spread to several other Hotel Indigo properties.
Jim Sprouse, executive director of the Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association, said increasingly, when he steps inside a hotel, he spots the welcome mat for dogs with water bowls and doggie treats in the lobby. He believes the trend reflects an increase in pet ownership and a shift in the relationship in which pets are like family.
“It is very different than the way I grew up when dogs were outside,” he said. “They are now part of the family and have their own bed, if not sharing their owner’s bed. And they travel with (their owners).”
Sixty-five percent of U.S. households, or about 79.7 million families, own a pet, according to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). This is up from 56 percent of U.S. households in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted.
Catering to pets is a way to stay competitive, and appeal to a broad group of people, Sprouse said. It can also lead to loyal guests, too. Guests are given a list of dog-friendly walks and restaurants.
Even at pet-friendly accommodations, hotel policies vary greatly in terms of allowed weight and number of pets, pet amenities, and extra fees, even among hotels in the same price range. At the Ellis Hotel, the pet weight limit is 30 pounds, and there is an $80 cleaning fee. Meanwhile at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, a five-star hotel in Atlanta, there is no weight restriction and no pet fee.
Some hotels even have their own permanent pet residents for guests to interact with. At the Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown, for example, there is a resident dog named Indie, a Jack Russell terrier. Guests can take Indie for a walk or even have him join them at one of the Canine Cocktail events.