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Finding the best pet hotels while vacationing

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Updated: August 2, 2013 6:18AM



Dear Ollie:

I love summer travel with my family. For many years, we have taken trips all over the country.

Some motels and hotels that we stay in are pet friendly and some are not. I’m small and get smuggled on to non-pet friendly properties where I’m cautioned not to bark.

Some of the pet friendly hotels and motels are very nice and some are not.

This year, we are going on a “Staycation,” which I believe means that we are staying put within the geographic parameters set by one tank of fuel.

We might stay at a local hotel just for fun or, if the fuel prices come down some more, we may do some traveling by car to Michigan or Wisconsin.

My owners’ wonder which hotels and motels are pet friendly and what that really means.

Sunny, the Jack Russell Terrier

Dear Sunny: It’s that time of year again when Fido or Fidette (I mean Bella or Bob) gets packed into the family car with all the luggage and picnic baskets.

For a traveling pet, you are living at the right time in history. All across the nation, a large percentage of hotel and motel industry marketing money is being used to develop ads directed at attracting the four-legged traveler and pet parents.

More often than not, traveling baby boomers with an empty nest have filled that nest and their vehicles with one or more four legged companions.

Hotel and motel owners realize that a well-groomed and very well behaved animal is a good guest. Dogs and cats never steal towels or bibles, or take pictures off the walls. They don’t get drunk or disorderly and they never run out on paying the bill.

Some hotels, like the Hotel Monaco in Chicago, reward the furry guest by giving each a gift basket filled with canine goodies.

You can search the Internet at www.pethotels.com for hotels and motels that welcome dogs and have reviews. We like to go to La Quinta properties because they are everywhere and accept dogs with no questions asked.

The Chicago Wyndham, some Hampton Inns and Marriott’s welcome pets, a select group of Hilton properties are pet friendly, and all of the Kimpton Hotels like the Chicago Allegro. If you’re traveling in Chicago, check out Hotel #71, the Avenue Crown Plaza, Renaissance and Hotel Intercontinental.

While randomly surfing the Internet, I caution you to be careful.

First, a percentage of hotels or motels charge a big, fat service fee or pet damage deposit that you may never in your lifetime see again.

Secondly, the quality of some hotels and motels is so awful that, in desperation to attract business, the owner throws a sign up outside in the yard advertising that pets are welcome.

Sure they are, the rooms are unkempt, door handles fall off, mirrors are smeared (not by poltergeists) and the toilet seat is lying against the bathroom wall.

Beware of that sign, like the Bates Hotel, made famous by the film “Psycho,” no human or pet would ever choose to spend the night there.



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