The Good Life: Cat-Friendly Resorts
I stroll proudly through the lobby of the luxury hotel holding the elegant leash of my “cog” (that’s a cat who thinks she’s a dog) as she struts her stuff in a very stylish harness. Fellow travelers bravely approach us to compliment and pet her as we saunter through the foyer. Pets, with their loving hearts and innocent tail wags, are people magnets when traveling. While traveling with pets has always been possible, it’s only recently that it has become truly enjoyable.
According to the Travel Industry Association of America, 29.1 million Americans admit to traveling with their pets . While dogs account for the majority of these pets, nearly 15% now consist of our favorite felines. Americans have become more family-oriented since 9-11 and it is little wonder that in this day and age we don’t want to leave our favorite pets behind while we travel. The travel industry understands our needs and has opened the door to a very pet-friendly industry.
Cat-Friendly vs. Cat-Tolerant
Before you make your pet travel plans with kitty, keep in mind that there is a big difference between cat-tolerant and cat-friendly. Cat-tolerant hotels are those where you pay a large fee and often an even larger deposit just to allow your pets to stay in your room, which more often than not can turn into a cat-tastrophe. Cat-friendly is a hotel where your well-behaved felines are free to roam the resort grounds (on a leash of course), are catered too with designer beds, offered spa services and are treated like a “human guest,” which is really how all felines should be treated.
The truly cat-friendly luxury hotel experience begins when you book your reservation and let them know that you are arriving with your favorite feline.
Upon arrival, you are generally treated to express check-in and your beautiful room is stocked with a litter box, kitty bed, treats and a room service menu complete with feline-pleasing gourmet pet meal entrées such as “Tuna Tar Tar”, “Whisker Licking Liver” or even “Salmon Supreme.” On the nightstand is a complimentary bottle of Evian water, one for your kitty (and maybe one for you), and nearby lies a “Pet Pampering Kit” that may include a scratching post, catnip toy or fresh baked kitty treats. If you’re so inclined, many hotel chains offer special spa services that include facials, Paw-dicures and specialized massages.
Turndown services can include anything from a special kitty truffle and a fluffy fleece blanket. If you want to keep kitty occupied while you’re away from the room, the Kimpton hotel offers the Yuppie Guppy program, where they will provide you with a goldfish in your room. You need only name the fish and remind your cats that the fish are not food. If you don’t really trust your kitty around smaller members of the food chain, ask for a special “cat-sitting” video that provides hours of entertainment while you’re working.
Upper class and luxury hotel chains such as Kimpton, Westin, Starwood, and Four Seasons make our list of the top 10 hotels that specialize in treating you and your cat like the divas you are. Services vary at each location, but we’ve listed a few of our favorites below. There’s no longer any need to leave your kitty behind with a pet sitter or in a lonely kennel. If she’s well-behaved and a bit of a diva, bring her along with you on your next trip, but don’t forget her ID tags and vaccination records, and be sure to ask for a special door hanger so the hotel staff knows that there is a “Pampered Pet in Residence.”
The Top 10 Best Cat-Friendly Destinations
1. Firesky Resort , Scottsdale, AZ
A gorgeous hotel in the Kimpton resort family which offers in-room spa services, a “Finicky Feline Pampering Kit,” Yappy hour, a catnip toy, a map of nearby pet-friendly restaurants and grooming services. Various Kimpton hotels also have a pet psychic available for services. Their complimentary Guppy Love program is available on request. Kimpton is a “green” hotel, using only non-toxic cleaners. Rates begin at $130 and pet packages at $249.
2. Soho Grand , New York, NY
Of course it’s pet-friendly! After all, it’s owned by Hartz Mountain Industries. Pet perks include kitty room service, litter boxes, kennels, leashes, beds and even pet toothbrushes and toothpaste. Their special Peti-care grooming, daycare, veterinarian services and pet limos are also available for an extra fee. Rates begin at $304 and range up to $5,000. No pet deposit.
3. W Hotels, New Orleans, LA
Pet turndown service includes a special treat. Additional services include in-room pet massages, home baked treats, play time, Evian water, special videos, pet coats (for rainy days), room service, pet tags, custom pet bed, birthday cakes and pet first aid kits. Rates $204 and they may request $100 refundable deposit.
4. James Hotel , Chicago, IL
Upon check in, you will receive a Pet Travel Kit (which includes a prime house pet menu, pooch spa service menu, special treats, catnip toy, pet tourist map), pet bed, food and water bowls with floor mat, lint brush, and turndown service with truffle. Room service pet specials include poached salmon, salmon and tuna tartar tower with crème fraiche, chicken paillard with liver snaps, and of course, after dinner mints. Raincoats and galoshes are provided for rainy days. They also offer paw-dicures, grooming, pet taxi services and aromatherapy spa services. Rates begin at $259
5. Palace Hotel, San Francisco , CA
Services include temporary “Starwood” ID tags, designer pet beds, specialized “heavenly pet bed” duvets and even plush robes. Rates begin at $311.
6. The Inn at Middleton Place, Charleston, SC
In addition to gracious sleeping-room accommodations, with scenic views and seasonal wood-burning fireplaces, guests of the Inn enjoy a wide range of educational experiences. The Middleton Place Gardens, House Museum and Stable yards tell the story of one of America’s most important families and the history of a thriving South Carolina rice plantation. Middleton Outdoor Center’s naturalists facilitate daily guided- and self-guided walking, biking and kayaking tours of the woods, marsh and river. One of the most memorable characters on property is Zoe, a former barn cat who has made her residence at the Inn. “Zoe is well known within our repeat guests, and is regularly asked about and visited.” If you are traveling with Fido or Felix you surely expect the best for your furry friend and we make it easy with our Pampered Pets Package! Your companion’s welcome amenity includes toys, snacks and a personalized eco-friendly water bowl as well as a Tader the Gator toy and handmade ceramic dish but we also throw in a little pampering for you…a special 10% room rate discount when you book two nights or more! This package includes:
- Accommodations for two nights
- Admission to Middleton Place, including Gardens, House Museum, and Plantation Stableyards
- Healthy Start Breakfast for two each morning
- Pet welcome amenity
- Libations and hors d’oeuvres from the evening manager’s reception
7. Ritz Carlton, Central Park, NY
Take kitty on a $50 spending spree at Saks Fifth Avenue’s in their Jazzy Couture collection that includes a scrumptious basket of goodies and treats, as well as a photo shoot with renowned photographer, Jeff Moore. Pet massages are also available for an extra fee. Rates begin at $675.
8. Algonquin Hotel, Manhattan, NY
Visit Matilda, the resident kitty who has carte blanche at this historic hotel and even has her own business cards. You and your feline are sure to enjoy a quiet stay in a historic landmark. Rates begin at $299.
9. EPIC – Miami, FL
Kimpton’s new EPIC Hotel in Miami, FL doesn’t simply allow pets to stay the night—they roll out the red carpet. The EPIC offers unique and fun packages to ensure that pet guests are treated with the same elements of care, comfort, style, flavor, and fun that they promise their moms and dads. EPIC doesn’t discriminate against any pet, so animals of all sizes, shapes and species are welcome. Fill out the pet reservation form before your visit and let the EPIC plan a weekend getaway for your pet as well.
A 2-day package, the EPIC Pet Getaway Package includes:
- Pet bed for use during stay
- Food and water bowls during stay
- Pet toys
- Super Hero pet welcome gift
- Complimentary Paw Treat Hour
- Continental breakfast for two in the restaurant (for the humans $25.00 credit each)
- Choice of two from the following list of pet services:
- Pawdicure and shampoo spa service
- One-hour daily play time/pet sitter
- 90-minute massage for two (again, for the humans)
9a. Raffles L’Ermitage , Beverly Hills, CA
A celebrity sanctuary, you and your feline companion will be in good company at this elite resort. Extra large rooms, gourmet room service and leopard print pet beds. What else could you need? Perhaps a perfect pet basket – it’s available from the concierge and includes special treats and toys to keep your feline busy when you’re not around. Rates begin at $617
10. The Langham, Boston MA
Allow the concierge to escort your favorite feline around the elegant property while you’re off to the museum. When you arrive home, you’ll be treated to a purr. Rates begin at $182 and there is a nonrefundable cleaning fee of $50. Walks available at $25 per hour.
Before You Go
Before traveling with pets, be sure that you have the following items:
- Any special diets
- Plastic bags
- Extra Towels
- Recent photo
- Vaccination Records or “Pet Passport”
- Pet ID
- A familiar toy or blanket
- Content-eze, Bachs Rescue Remedy or Feliway to help keep kitty calm
- Lint brush
- Collar, harness, leash