Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category Introduces a Canine-Friendly iPad app

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Today launched a state of the art addition to its popular iPad application; ‘iPaw’ which allows dogs to browse some of the best hotels across the globe from the comfort of their own baskets (or doghouse).

Dogs (and their owners) will now be able to access the app with one swipe of their paw and view a host of dog-friendly hotels at destinations around the world. Users simply follow the yellow paw in the bottom right hand corner of the iPad app to access the ‘iPaw’ portal and additional features.

The app is designed to help dogs express their hotel choice in a fun, interactive way. The graphics are specifically designed for dog’s eyesight and the app features engaging background music at a frequency too high for human ears.

The canine spokespersons at offered a statement saying, “Four-legged friends have been salivating over this app for months. We wanted to offer something to the 11 million dogs living in households across the U.S. who are often left in the doghouse when it comes to booking a vacation. We hope the ‘iPaw’ app will make hotel booking a treat for dogs and their owners.”

Do you have a pooch at home that won’t be able to keep their paws off this? Let us know in the comments below!




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Pet-Friendly Hotels

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Kimpton Hotels is one of a select number of properties that is pet-friendly. (Photo courtesy of:

The days of sneaking your pet past the front desk and praying that they don’t make a squeak or a bark are over. Hotels have turned up their pet quotient over the past few years and many now go above and beyond in the name of our four-legged friends.

Remember these tips for traveling with pets and check out these Pet-tastic hotel programs!


At The Muse, a Kimpton Boutique Hotel in the heart of Times Square, you’ll find Ginger, the resident canine concierge. She’s even helped me share some tips on traveling with pets and kids. Kimpton hotels accept any type of pet; offer no fee or deposit, no limit on number of pets, and no weight limit. Kimpton also offers pet treats, bedding, dog walking services and even special meals in some properties. Kimpton’s pet friendly hotels pamper your pet with their special pet packages that include amenities and services like pet food, dog walking services and chew toys.

*At select Kimpton Hotels, the “Guppy Love” program allows travelers without pets to borrow a goldfish upon arrival to keep them company in their room throughout their stay!

Consider a stay at these Kimpton properties:

Hotel Monaco Denver – Denver, CO

Serrano Hotel – San Francisco, CA


The Starwood family, which includes W, Westin, and Sheraton hotels rolls out the red carpet for dogs and cats. At check-in you’ll receive a welcome packet with the following items, designated for either a dog or a cat: pet toy, pet treat, pet tag, clean-up bags, welcome letter with info about pet services available through Concierge and a list of items available. Upon entering the room, you’ll find the following: custom pet bed (at Westin’s it is the Heavenly Dog Bed), food and water bowl with floor mat, pet-in-room door sign, and a special treat at turndown.

*The animal weight allowed is different by property but is generally between 40-80 lbs and for those properties that require a fee it is usually $25-30 per night non refundable. Check individual hotels for specifics…

Consider a stay at these Starwood properties:

W Hotel New Orleans – New Orleans, LA

The Westin Verasa – Napa, CA


The Loews Loves Pets program lets owners of pooches and kitties order from a pet room service menu with such items as Bow Wow Tenderloin and Kitty Salmon Supreme. All recipes are veterinarian-approved. Additionally, the hotels give a pet ID tag and a pet treat.  Pet owners are provided with a list of pet services in the area, including pet stores, veterinarians, groomers, parks, etc.

*Rooms designated for travelers with pets receive extra thorough cleaning. Loews Hotels charges a one-time $25 fee per stay.

Consider a stay at these Loews properties:

Loews Miami Beach Hotel – Miami Beach, FL

Loews Hotel Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA


Hilton Hotels pet program, Pet Friendly, welcomes up to two pets per room at a maximum of 75 pounds provides all the “creature comforts” of home giving them such amenities as a travel tote with treats, biodegradable waste bags, a Crypton clean pet pillow designed by William Wegman, pet bowls and a placemat.

*The resort charges a one-time fee of $75 during a stay.

Consider a stay at these Hilton properties:

Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre – Dallas, TX

Millenium Hilton – NY, NY


The Nolitan – NYC, NY

El Portal Sedona Hotel – Sedona, AZ

Inn on Destin Harbor – Destin, FL

Hotel Indigo – Atlanta, GA

Hofsas House Hotel – Carmel, CA



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Tips for Traveling With Pets

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Make sure you're prepared before traveling with your pet. (Photo courtesy of

Traveling with pets is becoming more of a norm for pet-owners than in recent years. From road trips to long-haul air flights to stays at beautiful resorts, four-legged companions are officially members of the family when they make the vacation roster.

If you are planning a trip with your four-legged friend then please keep in mind these tips for traveling with pets.

1. In the Car

Keep fresh water and a bowl available. Every time you stop, go ahead and fill it up. While you’re sipping on a drink throughout your drive, your dog is panting its way to dehydration.

And just like with your kids, plan for stops at rest areas or parks to let everyone stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and burn off some restless energy.

“Practice” traveling with your pets before heading off on a long drive or flight.

Keeping your dogs in a crate is a great way to recreate a familiar environment for them, which both soothes their anxiety and provides an extra bit of security in the event of an accident.

2. On Airplanes

Most airlines make flying with pets fairly painless. Many require a health certificate filled out by a veterinarian to be submitted ahead of time. An easy way to ruin a vacation is to find out that your pet can’t fly at the check-in desk. Be sure to check with an airline before you fly for all their specific restrictions and requirements.  For example, some airlines prohibit brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs and cats as checked luggage. Breeds represented include Boston Terriers, Pekingnese, and Shih Tzu.

Pet Airways, Frontier Airlines and Jet Blue recently took top honors in the study on best airlines to travel with pets.

This summer, in particular, flying with pets has been more difficult as most airlines prohibit pets from traveling when the current or forecasted temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees C) at any location on the itinerary.   In fact, the following cities have embargoes on pet air travel through the month of September:

  • Ft. Myers
  • Las Vegas
  • Phoenix
  • San Antonio
  • Tampa
  • Tucson

And looking ahead to the cooler months, pets cannot be accepted when the ground temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees C) at any location on your itinerary. This is sometimes waived up to 20 degrees with a veterinary statement but never below this temperature. Also veterinary letters must be dated no more than 10 days from departure.

3. In Hotels

In my experience, pet owners see their pets as part of the family, and are fiercely loyal to the property and the brand that welcomes them into their temporary home away from home.

It is important while communicating with a lodging choice to make sure to find out what is expected. There may be fees, limitations on pet size, specific pet policies, and breed specifications that you need to know BEFORE you travel. Expect to pay pet fees at most hotels, vacation rentals and resorts. Companies that charge a fee should not be viewed negatively. People who are willing to pay the extra fees typically have pets that are better behaved.

If you wouldn’t let Fido run free in a friend’s house, then don’t do it in a hotel room either. Save yourself the possibility of fees for property destruction and help your pet feel secure by crating them while traveling. In fact, leaving a pet alone in a room is never a good idea, and usually not allowed by management. Be sure to keep them crated since maids will likely service the room.

Here are a few other hotel-friendly pet tips.

  • Leave the television or radio on to keep the pet company
  • Consider feeding a pet in the bathroom and avoid carpets, minimizing messes
  • Old towels, carpet cleaner, disinfectant spray, and trash bags are important for accidents
  • Ask the concierge about nearby pet-walking paths and parks

Later this week, we’ll take a look at pet-friendly accommodations. Have any other pet travel questions or a pet travel trip to share? Ask and share here at If we repost your question or tip, you’ll receive a TSB thank you gift.



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This One Is for the Dogs!

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I’m proud to announce that I’m adding a new feature to the blog: interviews! Each month, I’ll be interviewing the people and places that will help us to travel smart.

After I recently read about a hotel in Napa Valley, CA that combines two of my favorite things, wine and dogs, I decided to reach out to them and connected with Dan Bock, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Westin Verasa.

NH: Many people hate to leave their dogs at home, so tell me what the Westin Verasa does to include our favorite four-legged friends?

DB: Being a dog owner myself I understand how difficult it is leaving man’s best friend behind when I go on vacation. My yellow lab, Kula, loves going on trips and working for a brand that embraces the dog friendly atmosphere, is great. Our property here in Napa has put together a fun itinerary that includes dog friendly wineries and places that locals take their dog. When a guest arrives at any Westin branded hotels they will have the Westin Heavenly Dog bed with duvets by Eloise Pet Accessories and doggie bowls for water and food. Some properties go the extra mile and have a welcome kit for the dogs that include treats and other fun items.

NH: Why is it important for your hotel, and Westin (generally), to be pet-friendly?

DB: It is a strategy of the Westin brand to be pet-friendly. It appeals to many guests and makes for a fun atmosphere in the lobby on a busy weekend when you get several guest checking in with their dogs. The pet-friendly policy also attracts a dedicated following. According to a study of 400 dog owners commissioned by Westin’s parent company Starwood, 76 percent said they would be more loyal to a hotel chain that accepted dogs, even when they weren’t traveling with their pet.

NH: What is unique about your pet program?

DB: Where else in the world can you wine taste with your four-legged friend?

NH: What should travelers know about bringing pets to Napa?

DB: Winters can be wet and summers can be warm so bring plenty of water for you and your dog.

NH: Can you share an insider tip on traveling to Napa?

DB: Just found out that Alpha Omega winery on Hwy 29 (15 minutes from the Westin) is dog-friendly and they might even have a treat for your dog on your next trip to their winery.

The Westin is located just two blocks from Downtown Napa and next door to the Oxbow Public Market, with plenty of café patios from which to take in the scenery. To make trip planning easy for our four-legged friends they put together a list of favorite dog friendly wineries – dog friendly favorites. To plan your next trip to the Westin Verasa Napa, please visit



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