10 tips for choosing a dog-friendly hotel
Jenny Green is the journalist and blogger behind ernies-adventures.com – a dog-friendly travel blog that follows the escapades of her four-year-old Westie, Ernie.
Here, Jenny shares her top tips for great dog-friendly accommodation and what pet owners should look for when booking a break...
How to choose a dog-friendly hotel
Your dog is part of the family, so it’s only natural that you want your furry friend to join you on holiday – whether that’s a weekend break to explore the English countryside, or an urban city escape.
Sometimes choosing a dog-friendly hotel isn’t particularly straight-forward as each hotel has different rules and offerings for your pooch. But never fear – dog-friendly hotel expert Jenny Green has offered her top tips for choosing the perfect dog-friendly hotel, which will ensure your pet-friendly holiday is a carefree and positive experience.
1. Choose a hotel that provides pet essentials
Coats, food, blankets, bedding, throws... you never travel light with a dog, especially during the winter months or when the weather might be unpredictable. My dog Ernie often has more luggage than my husband and I combined, so anywhere that provides a doggy "welcome pack" with essentials like bowls, toys, treats and bags for cleaning up is a godsend. Many dog-friendly hotels offer this.
2. Free treats
Always look out for treat jars. A good, dog-friendly hotel should have treats and fresh water bowls readily available. Some pubs and hotels really pull all the stops out for visiting pets – look for dog beer and 'Pawsecco' behind the bar, as well as dedicated doggy menus with everything from sausages to T-Bone steak.
3. Access to all areas
Generally speaking, pets are not allowed in formal hotel restaurants, but they are usually welcome in bar and lounge areas. Always let the staff know if you'll be dining with your dog so they can set you up a table in the most appropriate place. Check the rules on dogs being left, too – most pet-friendly hotels prefer you to stay with your pet at all times, while some are happy for them to be left snoozing while you pop into the restaurant for dinner.
4. Consider bathroom breaks
Anywhere with a garden will feel like a home away from home for your dog – and it’s even better if it’s enclosed. Whether there are acres of grounds to explore or a simple beer garden, any kind of outside space is always a bonus. Ground-floor rooms are always handy for trips to the toilet, too – because who wants to be schlepping down six flights of stairs in the middle of the night?
5. Don't pay over the odds
Some dog-friendly accommodation providers charge extra cleaning costs, but many do not. Places that are truly dog tolerant will allow pets to stay for free, or for a minimal charge.
6. Local attractions for walking
Walking is an essential part of any dog's day so check out what facilities are nearby. Some pubs and hotels have folders bursting at the seams with suggestions for dog-friendly days out, while others have hidden treasures such as country parks on their doorstep. It's well worth asking staff for their tips, too – especially if they're dog-owners themselves.
7. Potential playmates
Any pub or hotel with a resident pooch gets a big thumbs-up from me. Not only are the staff likely to give your dog lots of fuss but they'll also be more understanding of your needs. It's always nice for your pet to have a playmate, too – Ernie has previously been invited out for walks with resident hotel dogs and their owners where they showcased their local area.
8. How many dogs?
If you're travelling with more than one dog, be sure to check how many pets are allowed per room. Some places only allow small breeds while others allow multiple pets of all shapes and sizes. If a hotel website mentions that it's dog-friendly, it's usually a good sign of how tolerant it is. If you’re ever unsure – ask.
9. Worry-free flooring
If the thought of cream carpets and muddy paws strikes fear into your heart, be sure to request a room with dog-friendly flooring. Many pub and hotel rooms are carpet-free, which makes any potential mess easy to clean. It's also something to bear in mind if you're travelling with a puppy or older pet and worry that they could have a 'little accident'.
10. Do your research
Look for reviews online – have any other dogs stayed at the property you have in mind? If so, are their owners singing its praises or not? I get a bit obsessive about this but as well as dog-friendly travel blogs like ernies-adventures.com, you can learn a lot from Google Reviews and sites such as TripAdvisor. A good recommendation is worth its weight in gold.
Find a dog-friendly hotel
Fuller’s Beautiful Bedrooms operates a number of dog-friendly hotels across the South of England.
Click here to find a Dog Friendly Hotel.