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Video: Get away with your furry friend

  1. Transcript of: Get away with your furry friend

    AL ROKER reporting: This morning on TODAY'S TRAVELS , pet-friendly hotels . If you're planning a summer getaway and want to make sure everyone has a good time, including your pet, there are some great destinations from coast to coast. Nilou Motamed is the features director at Travel Leisure magazine. Nilou , good to see you.

    Ms. NILOU MOTAMED (Features Editor, Travel Leisure Magazine): Good to see you, too, Al .

    ROKER: So all these hotels , and we're not talking cheap hotels , we're talking four-star hotels , are becoming more pet-friendly.

    Ms. MOTAMED: Four- and five-star hotels are getting in on the pet business. Seventy-two million Americans have dogs and 16 million of them travel with those dogs. That means, I mean, dollar signs right there for hotels .

    ROKER: So what's the criteria? What makes it a pet-friendly hotel?

    Ms. MOTAMED: Well, the main thing that we were looking at was that both owners and dogs were going to be welcomed with service...

    ROKER: Mm -hmm.

    Ms. MOTAMED: ...with attention to detail and with a sense of humor.

    ROKER: All right. So let's start on the West Coast . I love this hotel even if you don't have a pet, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort .

    Ms. MOTAMED: Now this is a gorgeous hotel, but how much fun is it that in Southern California a hotel would decide that they would have a doggy surf competition once a year? And it's for a good cause. Now, I mean, these dogs look cute, but look at them, they're staying up better than I do.

    Ms. MOTAMED: And if you want to get...

    ROKER: But they got four feet.

    Ms. MOTAMED: And it's true, a lower center of gravity. Now -- and if you want to get your dog ready to get into the competition, why not do one of the surf boot camp packages that they offer? So you get one night's stay and you get a doggy surf lesson, you get little doggy board shorts. I mean, honestly. And a little surf and turf meal in -- for room service , but that's not for you, that's for the dog.

    ROKER: Oh, that's for your dog. All right.

    Ms. MOTAMED: That's for the dog.

    ROKER: Now we're going to go to Seattle , Washington . The W has a few nice perks.

    Ms. MOTAMED: Well, The W is known for being that whatever wherever service; well, they're offering also the PAW , the Pets Are Welcome , PAW .

    ROKER: Ah.

    Ms. MOTAMED: Cute. Ah. You know, the -- people, this is the thing about hotels , they're like, ` Look at how much fun we can have with these and also make our guests happy.' So they give you a welcome treat.

    ROKER: Mm -hmm.

    Ms. MOTAMED: They give you turn-down treats, lots of treats. A doggy bed. And also, their concierge, if it's your dog's birthday, can get you a doggy birthday cake.

    ROKER: Aw. Well, that's awfully sweet.

    Ms. MOTAMED: I -- it's a lot of "ah." This whole segment's going to be a lot of "ah."

    ROKER: I -- it's a big "ah," a big "ah" segment. Now let's head to Chicago where you've got the Hotel Allegro . They've got a Pets in the City program.

    Ms. MOTAMED: Kimpton is another hotel group that Allegro is a part of. They -- they're very thoughtful about pets.

    Ms. MOTAMED: So they have a wine hour in the afternoon and your dog doesn't have to be left out, they actually have mocktails for the dogs as well. You're laughing, but seriously, we can be serious for a moment, people do treat their...

    ROKER: Three weeks later and look, she's a dog. Anyway.

    Ms. MOTAMED: People do treat their dogs like their kids. And if they want to travel with them, why not make it a special occasion for them?

    ROKER: I like that. Now we're going to head south, going to go to the Mandarin Oriental in Miami .

    Ms. MOTAMED: This is one of my favorite hotels . The Miami Mandarin Oriental 's a gorgeous property. As soon as your dog walks in or waddles in, depending on how heavy he is, he gets a little bit of a -- of attention to detail and welcome. He gets a little toy -- not a toy, a little charm for his...

    ROKER: Leash or collar.

    Ms. MOTAMED: ...for -- leash -- for his collar, a Mandarin Oriental charm. And then they have dog trainers, so you can either have training if your dog actually needs obedience training...

    ROKER: Mm -hmm.

    Ms. MOTAMED: ...or just a fun walk, run around their gorgeous property. And they have dog beds and all the amenities that you would want for a dog.

    ROKER: And 219 a night, that's pretty good.

    Ms. MOTAMED: Well, the one thing you have to know about these dog programs, you have to call ahead because some of them will add in an additional $100 charge to clean up the room after your doggy has left.

    ROKER: Mm. Mm-hmm.

    Ms. MOTAMED: And so you -- it really depends. But a lot of the hotels , including this next one, actually don't charge you to have a dog stay with you.

    ROKER: OK. We're going to go to Washington, DC.

    Ms. MOTAMED: The Liaison Capitol Hill . Now this is a property with Affinia . They offer you a chew toy specific to the city that you're staying in. So if you're staying in Chicago , you get an Al Capone chew toy . If you're staying in DC , a Capitol Hill chew toy . So you just get a little Capitol building chew toy , which is fun.

    ROKER: That's very cute.

    Ms. MOTAMED: Yeah.

    ROKER: Now with all of these programs, are there size limits to the dog?

    Ms. MOTAMED: Yes. That's actually really important. Over 40-pound -- over 40-pounder, your dog is not going to be staying in a lot of these hotels . They do -- they do not want an additional person in the room, they're happy to have dogs.

    ROKER: And then as far as the programs, I mean, is -- for people who are, say, allergic to dogs, I mean how do they -- how do they deal with that?

    Ms. MOTAMED: That's actually something to be really conscious of, and these hotels still maintain entire floors or rooms that are dedicated to people with no four-legged friends.

    ROKER: All right.

    Ms. MOTAMED: We did a great story on this in Travel Leisure in August, so you can check that out or on our Web site , travelandleisure.com.

TODAY
updated 7/26/2010 12:39:01 PM ET 2010-07-26T16:39:01

You no longer have to worry about leaving your four-legged furry friends at home or at a kennel when you go on vacation. Four- and five-star hotels are accommodating the more than 16 million Americans traveling with their pets.

Nilou Motamed, features editor for Travel + Leisure magazine, spoke with TODAY about some of the top pet-friendly hotels throughout the United States, sharing the amenities that each offers.

“The main thing we were looking at is that both owners and dogs would be welcomed with service, attention to detail and a sense of humor,” Motamed told TODAY.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego
This Southern California hotel offers the ultimate water sport for dogs — a surfing competition. Get your pup ready to go by purchasing a “Su’ruff Camp” package. This includes doggie board shorts or a surfer bandanna, surfing lessons for your dog, a deluxe room and a “Surf ’n’ Turf” meal for your pooch.
Hotel starting rate: $289 per night

W Seattle
All W Hotels have a special PAW program that offers luxury for pets. Pups get a custom W pet bed and a special treat at turndown. This hotel also offers dog-sitting, dog walking and grooming services. If your dog gets hurt while on vacation, the W offers first-aid kits called Bow-Ow Box and Meow-Ow Box. W Seattle’s chef Adam Stevenson even cooks up a special treat —the “Gourmutt” — a biscuit made with almond and peanut butter.
Hotel starting rate: $259 per night

Hotel Allegro, Chicago
The “Pets in the City” package includes a pet bowl and bed, snacks, a leash and a 20-minute pet walk. If you want to spoil yourself, the hotel will arrange a limo for you and your pet to spend a day at a local spa or an in-room pet massage.
Hotel starting rate: $149 per night

Mandarin Oriental, Miami
What better way to whip your dog into shape than by treating him to one of the hotel’s doggie boot camps? The hotel offers two boot camps — one for dogs who need training and another to help your dog look good. After boot camp, order your pet “Lucky Dog Cuisine” off the hotel menu. Also, your dog can look stylish wearing a doggie bathrobe and T-shirt.
Hotel starting rate: $219 per night

Liaison Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Treat your pets to amenities included in the “Jet Set Pets” program, which includes a dog bed, food and water bowl, chew toys and organic treats. At the nearby Art and Soul restaurant, your dog can enjoy dinner from the “Pooch Patio” menu. The “Happy Puppy” dish includes a grilled steak, doggie drinks and dessert.
Hotel starting rate: $149 per night

Story: Stretching the limits of ‘pet-friendly’

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