On our recent trip to New Orleans, my husband, Dan, and I decided to stay at the French Market Inn – mainly because its summer rates were reasonable and its location on Decatur Street offered us convenient access to any number of potential apartments in the French Quarter. Given that we were ostensibly in town to look for a new home, we’d opted not to bring our beloved kitty, Ruby Azazel, along for the ride. Though she’s always been an adaptable traveler, we didn’t see the point in torturing her with a long road trip from northern Michigan, only to repeat the experience (in reverse) five days later.
Although I missed her terribly, it was a good thing that we chose not to bring her with us (and instead let her stay up north, in the care of my patient mother-in-law). After all, the French Market Inn doesn’t permit pets – and it’s certainly not the only Big Easy hotel with such a no-pet policy. While New Orleans is rife with animals – from stray cats in the Bywater (like Ruby!) to leashed dogs in the Garden District – there are surprisingly few hotels that allow pets. Two that do, however, are the Royal Sonesta Hotel – New Orleans (300 Bourbon St., 504/586-0300), a relatively fancy option in the French Quarter that allows pets under 35 pounds for a nonrefundable fee of $75 per animal, and The Hotel Modern (936 St. Charles Ave., 504/962-0900), a newly renovated boutique hotel in the Central Business District that offers dog walkers and other pet-related amenities.
Even more impressive, however, are the W New Orleans (333 Poydras St., 504/525-9444) and the W New Orleans – French Quarter (316 Chartres St., 504/581-1200), both of which not only welcome pets but also provide pet tags, food and water bowls, comfy pet beds, clean-up bags, pet-in-room door signs, and information about local pet stores, veterinarians, groomers, dog-sitting and dog-walking services, and dog parks. From the Whatever/Whenever desk, you can also procure leashes, litter boxes, waste removal bags, first-aid kits, and toys, food, and treats for dogs as well as cats. Bear in mind, though, that both W Hotels only allow one pet (up to 40 pounds) per room and charge a daily fee of $25 per pet as well as a nonrefundable cleaning fee of $100.
Situated in the CBD, the Loews New Orleans Hotel (300 Poydras St., 504/595-3300) is also incredibly pet-friendly, offering rooms specifically intended for pets, a gourmet “Loews Loves Pets” room service menu, and gifts such as pet tags, pet bowls, and special treats upon check-in, plus detailed information about local pet-walking routes, veterinarians, pet shops, and groomers. Guests can also take advantage of pet-sitting services and items like water bowls, pet place matss, dog and cat beds, assorted leashes and collars, rawhide bones, scratch poles and catnip, litter boxes and litter, and, yes, pooper-scoopers. Just be advised that Loews limits the number of pets to two per room and charges a one-time fee of $25 per stay.
Of course, New Orleans isn’t the only place in America that offers pet-friendly hotels. Besides high-end chains like W Hotels and Loews Hotels – which provide pet-friendly accommodations in Hollywood, San Diego, Atlanta, Miami Beach, New York, and other desirable locations – there are several budget-friendly lodging chains that welcome pet lovers and their beloved dogs and/or cats across the United States. Some of these include Best Western, Candlewood Suites, Comfort Inn, EconoLodge, Extended Stay America, Motel 6, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Quality Inn, Red Roof Inn, and Rodeway Inn, several of which Dan and I have relied on while traveling across the country with our own furry feline. Bear in mind, though, that many chain hotels are actually franchises, which means that the properties are owned by autonomous management companies that set their own policies, including those related to pets. Remember, too, that many hotels require deposits, charge extra fees, and have size limitations (not to mention restrictions on the quantity of pets per room), so when in doubt of a hotel’s policies, be sure to call the establishment well in advance of your trip.
For even more helpful information about road-tripping with your cats and dogs, consult the following pet-focused websites: DogFriendly.com, officialpethotels.com, pawnation, petside.com, petswelcome.com, and TripsWithPets.com. In the meantime, I’m curious about other pet-loving travelers. So, do you travel with your pets, and if so, which pet-friendly hotel chains do you usually depend on?