Pet-friendly hotels make summer vacation a true family affair
09:06 PM, Monday, June 18
The Indigo’s Level9 Bar and outdoor patio is as dog-friendly as it comes.
The Indigo’s Level9 Bar and outdoor patio is as dog-friendly as it comes.
Serrano Hotel is a pet-friendly, downtown San Francisco Kimpton hotel
Serrano Hotel is a pet-friendly, downtown San Francisco Kimpton hotel
Summer vacations are meant for the family. And since your pet is as family as family gets, leaving it behind while you recharge your batteries would be like interrupting the family bloodline or something. Increases in pet ownership and looser regulations on boarding pets make it easier than ever to take your companion with you—today’s hotel owners have ramped up their facilities accordingly, offering everything from on-site vet services to discounts at nearby pet boutiques.

Some 160 local venues call themselves pet-friendly; this can mean anything from allowing the animal in the room all the way up to Happy Hour invitations (with a view!). We’ve prepared a brief list of the pet-friendliest lodgings we could find in San Diego, Honolulu, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Sedona, Ariz.—if your vacation plans don’t include those cities, the story might at least jog a thought or two about what you might consider in the way of your destination’s available amenities ( is a good resource for pet-friendly accommodations in other cities). It’s all about the family, after all, and the four-legger who’s undoubtedly its most important member.

San Diego

The Hotel Indigo, at 509 Ninth Ave. Downtown, has been open since 2009, with its flagship facility unveiled in Atlanta five years before. Pat McTigue, the local hotel’s marketing director, noted that the Atlanta venue had lots of dog owners nearby—“and what better way to get some exposure or awareness about the hotel than to invite the neighbors in. We had a happy hour at the bar, and the neighbors were encouraged to bring their dogs. It was really successful; the community really took to it.”

The San Diego owners, noting the demand for pet accommodations, took the idea a step further—and now, once a month, the Indigo’s Level9 Bar, which ironically overlooks PETCO Park, welcomes the guests’ dogs as part of the camaraderie. “We usually get about 50 to 75 dogs,” McTigue said, “and our capacity up there is 160. If you can imagine all those dogs that come with people, that’s a pretty big turnout.”

Most of the dogs are off-leash, and McTigue said that hasn’t resulted in any unpleasantness among the animals. “I think the dogs are more understanding of one another,” he explained.

Hotel Indigo, which gets modest call for cat accommodations as well, doesn’t charge fees or deposits on pets. “Because we’re so pet-friendly,” McTigue said, “I think dog owners are that much more respectful. People just really appreciate the fact that they can bring their dog.

For more, call 619-727-4000 or see and click on “Explore Hotel Indigo.”


A Hawaii rule change in 2003 relaxes regulations on animal quarantine. According to the owners at Honolulu’s Aqua Waikiki Wave hotel, that translated to a 30 percent increase in requests for pet accommodations in just three years. Today, this hip boutique venue welcomes one to two dogs (up to 40 pounds each) per customer and charges a $100 security deposit and a fee of $35 per night. Treats, food and water bowls, dog liners, dog beds and a take-home toy are included in the package; the guest service desk will hook you up with a daycare service or veterinary care. Call 808-922-1262 or see

San Francisco

The Serrano Hotel might as well be a high-end kennel. The Tenderloin District venue regales its animal guests with rawhide fetch-it sticks, lamb-and-rice dog and cat food, disposable clean-up bags, designer water and even theme-based fun and games. The lobby has a gigrundous gourmet treats shop, and pets stay for free to boot. For more, call 415-885-2500 or see

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a bit of a different—uh—animal than most cities. So much coming and going often translates to much more stringent requirements at hotels when pets are involved; most places require a live human being to stay in the room with the animal. But staying at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Las Vegas Airport South offers one advantage that very few other Vegas hotels do: Pets stay free, which means you can spend more on everything that Vegas is about. Call 702-492-8900 or see

Sedona, Ariz.

The stunning red-rock countryside and the nearby Grand Canyon mark Sedona for the naturalist’s gem that it is. The El Portal Hotel has its nature-loving side as well—owners and native Californians Steve and Connie Segner spent a lifetime in the pet care industry, so they have a special handle on what makes a memorable stay for you and your loved one. Treat baskets and pet yards are the order or the day here, and four of the lodge’s 12 rooms have pet patios. The sprawling Sedona Dog Park isn’t that far away. For more, call 800-313-0077 or visit

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