Taboo Of Traveling With Pets Diminishes As Hotels Offer Special Pet Packages

NATIONAL REPORT? More and more hotels are allowing guests to bring their pets along and are even providing special pet amenities to make the pet?s stay as enjoyable as the owner?s. Hotel Vintage Plaza in Portland, OR is offering guests? pets a V.I.P. (Very Important Pooch) package as they find most people traveling with pets have dogs. ?We?ve always been a pet-friendly hotel but we fine-tuned that in order to create this program around six months ago,? said Mark Mathews, general manager. Amenities that the hotel offers to pets include: a place mat with food and water bowls; bottled water; doggie treats; a doggie scooper; a bone-shaped dog tag (a keepsake item) with the hotel?s phone number; a map of Portland walks and helpful hints about the neighborhood. In addition, pet sitting and walks by the bellstaff are options for the busy traveler. ?So far the feedback has been phenomenal and I think it?s partly due to the behavior of the staff in recognizing the pet as a guest,? Mathews said. The Hotel Vintage Plaza offers this program 365 days a year and markets it through press releases, local publications and its website. There are no specially designated pet rooms because that?s ?discrimination? said Mathews. ?We want the guest to feel like a guest rather than like a customer and our residential decor and our behavior helps to reach that goal,? he added. So far there haven?t been any complaints about the program and there have been no accidents within the rooms that have had pets, according to Mathews. The Alexis Hotel in Seattle, WA initiated a pet program approximately four years ago. Its first guest pets were Pete and Penny Penguin who fit nicely into the hotel?s spa tubs. For the health conscious dog, there is a Doggie Room Service menu, available upon request, featuring Poochie Pretzels covered with sesame seeds and soy Spud Puppies stuffed with brown rice. The hotel also has a ?Deluxe Doggie Upgrade? which includes a keepsake water bowl with distilled water, complimentary pet treats and a copy of the Seattle Dog-Lovers Companion. In the guestroom, pets will also find a designer doggie bed. Members of the bellstaff will provide the pooch with walks in the morning and in the afternoon. For those dogs that are truly there to indulge, guests can make an appointment, for an additional fee, with a masseuse specializing in treatment of pets, or a pet psychologist for individual analysis. ?No one has yet requested this treatment but we work with someone in the area so that appointments can be made,? said Peggy Trott, general manager. ?We understand that people are going to do things that aren?t pet friendly so we ask guests to kennel their dogs if they leave them in the rooms. But our staff is more than willing to pet sit for them. As a matter of fact, there have been many times that I?ve had a dog sitting in my office with me while its owner is out and about,? she added. The Alexis does not provide pet designated rooms because ?housekeeping does a great job and there is usually no extra cleaning involved,? added Trott. It?s not only hotels on the West Coast that are becoming more pet friendly, The Interlaken Inn in Lakeville, CT has also fine-tuned its pet program which is now called P.U.P.S. (Pets Up On Pedestals). Although the program hasn?t been in effect for an entire season, it has received a good response. With this program, dogs and cats are not only welcomed but are also ?treated as a family member,? said Dan Bolognani, director of sales and marketing for the property. The Interlaken does feature special pet rooms that differ from regular guestrooms by the private outside entrances only. ?With this program we show our love for pets and we allow our guests to do the same,? Bolognani said. ?It really shows our appreciation for what pets bring into our lives.? Pet amenities come in a VIP ( Very Important Pet) package including: bottled spring water; a personal P.U.P.S. teracotta bowl (a keepsake item); a b

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