Pet Friendly Travel Review: Kimpton Hotel Monaco in DC

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a conference located at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in DC, which is known for an exceptional dog friendliness. 

When we arrived, there were treats on top of the reception desk, and I honestly wasn’t sure if the bellman was opening the door for Woof Woof or me. We were equally acknowledged. 

To the side of the reception desk was a welcome area for Woof Woof including area a canine statue with top hat, a water bowl, and a doggie puzzle kit. Woof Woof sniffed every inch because he wanted to meet every past doggie by scent.

In the room, he played in the curtains and plopped down on the dog bed. As Woof Woof is only 13” tall, he didn’t notice the dramatic ceilings that must have been well over 12’ high. There was a shelf over 10’ feet off the ground with a bust of a past U.S. president. I enjoyed looking up at the political decor as much as he enjoyed looking out the window.

Outside of the room, he was allowed nearly everywhere in the hotel including conference rooms. At the cocktail hour in the lobby, he had a free cup of water and a doggy treat while I had a free glass of wine and appetizer. 

Woof Woof would strongly recommend Kimpton hotels for the hospitality and the dog scents from past guests. 

If you’re worried Kimpton Hotels might be out of your price range, you’d be surprised. I just scored a great deal on another Kimpton Hotel on Hotwire. Plus, they run specials on their website, don’t charge pet fees, and generally have free cocktail hours. Thus, my purse strings recommend Kimptons, too. 🙂

Photo downloads from Twenty20

Dog Travel Deals Week of June 4th

This week, when I look at dog travel deals, I picked two hotel chains Woof Woof has stayed in that would also welcome his larger dog friends.

Westin hotels

The Westin hotel chain holds a special place in Woof Woof’s heart. His very first photo as a pup was featured in Costco Connection on a Westin dog bed. The luxury Heavenly dog bed is essentially a mini version of the mattress Westin offers its human guests. The lowest weight limit I’ve seen at a Westin hotel was 40 pounds. The largest is limitless. At the Westin in Portland, ME, we saw St. Bernards. Pet fees, if any, vary by hotel. Always call hotels individually about fees and restrictions.

Now, onto the sale. Currently, there is a sale for 15 percent off weekend rates.

If you’re looking to travel to Canada this summer, Woof Woof loves the Westin in Toronto. The bell captain cut up a paper cup, so it was easier for Woof Woof to drink water from.

The Curio Collection by Hilton

The Highland Dallas, part of the Curio Collection, was Woof Woof’s first hotel he ever stayed in. He was 7 weeks old. He was so pampered that the staff took him on one of his first walks. He was driven in a black car to a special trail. The staff will walk your dog for you. Not a pet walking service. The hotel is so pet friendly they were featured as one of the top pet friendly hotels on Good Morning America.

Curio Collection hotels are advertising 15 percent off rooms paid in advance. Hilton Honors members can score 20 percent off. Call for individual property pet policies, amenities, services and size restrictions.

Photo by Nora Sovasnick

Woof Woof’s Weekly Dog Travels Deals

All dog travel deals are for airlines and hotels Woof Woof has experienced himself.

Kimpton Hotels

There is no better hotel chain out there for dogs than Kimpton. Woof Woof was treated almost like a human at the Kimpton in Downtown DC. He wasn’t my dog, but a hotel guest in his own right. I was surprised they didn’t offer him his own key. But they did offer him a dog treat and no pet fee.

While Kimpton is normally on the pricier side, this weekend they are offering 15 last minute deals. You could stay in Miami for as low as $116 per night. And it’s as pet fee free as any other Kimpton.

The deals are truly for last minute trips as the last night you can take advantage of this deal is June 5th.

Air Canada

Air Canada is one of my favorite airlines for dog travel to and from Canada. They generally have more under seat room than West Jet, and their in cabin fees are much cheaper than American airline carriers. Your pet can fly with you among over 50 US cities and Canada for only $50 to $59 each way, half the cost of most US airlines.

Sales are going on across Canada. Woof Woof’s favorite city of Kelowna, a beautiful town on a lake. Plus, West Kelowna has lots of walkable farm paths.  is on sale starting at just $200 each way. Toronto starts at $104. For Toronto, neighborhood is everything. Woof Woof liked walking around lakeside and the Bloor-Younge area.

Jet Blue

Jet Blue actually gives dogs 300 frequent flyer miles for flying. You can’t get more pet friendly than that. The fee is $125 for an in cabin pet. Jet Blue flies among quite a few cities. Unfortunately, a few Caribbean islands don’t accept pets.

Now, for the sales. Go to New Orleans as early as June 10th for $84 each way for your human ticket. New Orleans is extremely dog friendly. Traveling to Mexico City starts at $134 each way.

 

Woof Woof Stays in a 5-Bed Airbnb in Miami

Woof Woof was recently in Miami for the Kidscreen children’s television conference. I decided to save money and experience a little bit of local Miami culture by getting an Airbnb. The hotel room at the conference would have cost over $300 per night.

For just over $100 per night on sale (individual Airbnbs offer seasonal sales), I found an Airbnb that had 5 beds in 1500 sq. feet converted warehouse for Woof Woof to explore. I figured if he wasn’t allowed at the conference, I would give him an entertaining space.

He chose the bed closest to the floor for naps. He loved the shaggy pillow on the  curvy couch that sat twelve people. For playtime, he was a fan of the sloped beanbag bed in the living room. Perfect play hill! When I threw his toy to him, he’d run around my head and squeak the toy before running back to the wood floors. 

The letter blocks didn’t seem to interest him. The half mannequins didn’t amuse him either. Some were the bottom half and others were the top half. He loved sitting next to me on the couch in front of the kitchen table.

He never played on the platform bunk bed. It didn’t seem like the safest place for a 15-pound mini schnauzer. I think he has great jumping skills, but I don’t want to test them from 8 to 10 feet above ground.

The neighborhood was filled with coffee shops with huge patios. Not one coffeeshop in the Wynnwood area rejected Woof Woof. He could pretty much go wherever he pleased.

Oddly, when you’re in the midst of a hectic conference, a studio with a leopard print fridge provides a bit of a campy yet peaceful break. Plus, it has a giant doggie playpen. I guarantee the cleaners who are used to hosting whole rock bands were pleased to see just one woman and a dog walking out.

We’d definitely recommend it for any pet or human. 🙂

Happy travels!

 

Memorial Day Weekly Dog Travel Deals

Every week I look for travel deals that are cheap and great for dogs. For instance, I always pick airlines and hotel chains that I have personal flown or stayed at with Woof Woof.

Spirit Airlines versus Frontier Airlines on Pet Fees

Both Spirit and Frontier Airlines offer ridiculously cheap flights when on sale that can make up for pet fees. Spirit Airlines’ charges $110 per flight, while Frontier charges $75. $75 is the lowest fee charged by an airline in the United States that I’ve heard of. However, Spirit allows dogs up to 40 pounds that fit in their stated carrier dimensions. Woof Woof is only 15 pounds, but he’s tall. Thus, he even enjoys the roomier under-seat area.

Spirit Airlines Sales

Book by 11:59 PM EDT on May 23rd to get fares as low as $26 one way with membership in their $9 Fare club and $56 without. The sale is good for select dates in May, June and September. The $9 fare club helps you save money quickly and costs $59 to join. But that doesn’t you’ll ever get a $9 fare. But on a deal like the above, you’d make back the savings in one trip. They also offer the Discount Den for $59 for families. One kid under 15 flies free with each Discount Den member purchase. Spirit is a discount airline with a tremendous regional presence on the East coast. However, it does have destination on the West coast, in the middle of the country and as far away as South America.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines’ has a sale running through 1159pm tonight. Depending on the destination your flight could be in as little as in 3 days or towards the end of summer. Always, remember to mention that there is a dog traveling with you immediately, so you confirm space. EVen if you miss the sale, they always offer the Discount Den for $59 annually. Not only does it give you exclusive offers to sales, but you get the easiest companion offer to qualify for. One kid under 15 flies free with each Discount Den member purchase. I’m on their mailing list, and they send me a new sale offer every week.

Air Portugal 

Woof woof and I are both fans of Air Portugal. The flight attendant introduced to the captain. We paid a small fee to be upgraded to roomier seats on the way there, but they gave us the bulkhead where his carrier wasn’t confined to the under-seat area. Sales are flexible and on going. Through this link, you can plug in the city you are traveling from in Europe, North America, and South America to find the best deal for you. Pet fees aren’t cheap at $185 for an intercontinental flight. But that’s cheaper than larger carriers charge such Delta. And you’ll more than make up for the pet fee with cheaper fares and free food and wine on board. We only paid $377 per human for New York to Rome roundtrip.

Hotwire Year Round Memorial Day Sale

I love the Hotwire mystery hotel Hot Rate deals. You can get four star hotels for 2 star prices. Basically, hotels are discounting a portion of their inventory and only revealing that they did it when you book. These deals are always cheap, but they are even cheaper when there is a sale going on. Use code GETAWAY10 to get 10 percent off already low Hot Rate deals anywhere in the world. Just sure you set parameters that you only want pet friendly hotels. I also only pick hotels with high customer ratings and limit the search to neighborhoods that are close to near we need to be in each city.

Happy travels! Come back every week for a selection of canine welcoming travel options for cheap.

 

 

 

 

 

Get The Details on Hotwire’s Latest Hotel Sale

The year Woof Woof and I spent traveling couldn’t have been done without the help of Hotwire Hot Rate hotel deals. Hot Rate hotels are hotels where you get a discount for not knowing the name before you’re booking. But you are given important details such as star rating, whether the hotel is pet friendly and customer ratings.

We often got rooms at Sheratons for the price of Motel 6 rooms. What could be better than that? From May 22nd to May 24th, get an extra 10 percent off Hot Rate Deals anywhere in the world with the code GETAWAY10. So the 4-star Helsinki Finland hotel that we paid $65 a night before the $35 pet fee, would have been under $60 before the pet fee was charged at the hotel.

Happy travels. 🙂

Woof Woof Visits The North Pole In Finland

Woof Woof loves attention and has lots of international friends, canine and human. One of the most amazing things I’ve noticed is people who speak English to me will speak in their native language to him. Check him out exploring Finland and getting to know everyone from Santa’s elves to children from all over the world. The kids were as eager to meet Woof Woof as they were to meet Santa Claus.

What You Need to Ask Pet Friendly Hotels

A hotel being pet friendly doesn’t tell you much about their policies other than that they may or may not allow your dog or cat. Often, pet friendly hotels may not be cat friendly. Before you book a pet friendly hotel, you’ll need to find out the answers to these questions:

Are you cat friendly?

If you are traveling with a cat, this is your most important question. Because cat allergies can be stronger than dog allergies, hotels that offer cats the ability to stay there are more likely to limit the number of pet friendly rooms. Especially with a cat, call first to make sure they’ll accommodate you.

What is your size limit for pets?

Weight limits can be as low as 25 pounds to as high as limitless. If you have a large dog, you will want to call first. The good news is some hotels will happily accept your Great Dane and even walk him for you. When you get on the phone, you never know what doggie perks you’ll find out about.

How much is the pet fee?

Fees may start at $0 and range up to $100 per night. Generally, fees are non refundable. Occassionally, fees are refundable as long as your pet doesn’t damage the room.

Can my pet stay in my hotel room alone? 

This is one of the most important questions you can ask, yet it has the widest range of answers. Some hotels may expect your pet to be crated when you’re not there. Some may not want your pet alone in the room at all. Others, will let you leave your pet in the room as much as you’d like, as long as he or she doesn’t bark or meow nonstop.

No matter what the hotel policy is, you’ll want to leave your cellphone number at the front desk. This way you’ll know if your pet is announcing they want you to come home to neighboring rooms. On top of making your pet happy by coming back when they are nervous, you’re  also avoiding the charges a hotel may charge you for having to rebook other guests who are disturbed by noise from hours of barking or meowing.

Can I verify your pet friendly policy online?

While I never recommend only looking online for a pet friendly hotel’s policy, I do recommend double checking hotel policies online. The reason is one hotel representative can tell you about a pet policy they don’t fully understand. If the pet policy isn’t posted online, ask the hotel representative how long they’ve been working for that particular location. As long as they’ve been there at least 6 months, you should be fine with bringing your canine or feline companion.

What do you need to bring with you?

Some hotels will provide pet beds, water bowls, and treats. Call ahead to find out what you should bring. If you are traveling outside of the country, bring a small bag of pet food with you that isn’t beef based. If you’re staying in a country for more than a few days, consider ordering pet food online and having it delivered to your hotel before you arrive. Wellness pet food is deliverable in the US, Canada, and across Europe via Amazon.

 

Woof Woof’s Lessons from Staying in Airbnbs for a Year

They say a dog knows every scent in their home well. Woof Woof knows the scent of my luggage. When in a new Airbnb, he knows wherever our luggage is happens to be our room.

For the year we stayed primarily in Airbnbs, he was comforted by that familiarity. He got to play in dog parks in 17 states, 7 countries, and 2 Canadian Provinces.

He met over a dozen different Airbnb hosts from college students to Michelin star chefs. He’s heard Woof Woof spoken in at least 5 languages. In case you’re curious Voof Voof is how you spell Woof Woof in Norwegian.

But it wasn’t all fun and sniffs. We both had to learn the best ways to live with other dogs and people we didn’t know. I learned how to introduce the idea of him coming by text, how much time to give someone to make sure they read the message that essentially says a well-behaved canine guest will be staying with them, and when I should and shouldn’t dog sit another guest’s or the  host dog. Hint: never before you’ve seen them play together nicely with two adults present.

I’m so excited to share our travel tips with you here and biweekly on Woof Woof’s Instagram account.

 

 

 

 

Woof Woof Learns Conference Etiquette

Woof Woof has tagged along when I was speaking at two different conferences. He was also at a third one where I was an attendee. At FinCon, the financial bloggers conference, he was the only dog there. He was so happy to have all the attention and was definitely an asset when I spoke about networking. Who’s a better networker than a cute, well-behaved dog?

He was trained for conferences among other social situations. That’s why he was able to make it through a long day at a conference with only three barks. I never wanted to leave him in the room because everyone enjoyed having him there so much.

After this wonderful experience, I thought about what other humans should know who want to bring their dogs.

1. Give your dog public experience first in your hometown. This can be as simple as bringing him to dinner with you at an outdoor restaurant. If your canine pal barks once, say no and ask for a sit. Then, give a treat for good behavior.

2. Find out if the hotel and the conference are pet friendly. It can be a disaster if you bring your dog and there is nowhere for your canine to stay.

3. Make plans for when you have to leave your pet in the room. Some hotels will let you leave your pet in the room when you need to, others won’t. When you can’t get a pet sitter for when you’re at a banquet or other non dog friendly event, let the front desk know to text you if your canine barks.

4. Take your dog out at least every 4 hours for bathroom / walking breaks. Everyone needs a break from the 24 / 7 networking atmosphere of a conference. Imagine if you were 13 inches from the ground and surrounded by 600 60 inch or taller humans. The quick break will help your pet regroup.

5. Keep your pet on a short leash. Woof Woof is confident because he knows I’m close by. He let everyone pet him because I don’t bring a leash that’s longer than 4-feet long.