More and More Dogs Are Accommodated at 4-Star Hotels by joe holleman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Dog walks into a hotel, and the concierge says …”?

This is no joke for the thousands of people who love to travel in style, but don’t want to leave behind their precious pets.

Janine Franceschi and her two-year-old Irish Setter, Beau, decided to help out their people-and-pet brethren by starting a website: luxurypaw.com.

“I’ve traveled all my life, all around the world, and it has always been difficult to find four-star hotels that would take dogs,” Franceschi said at a recent press conference at the downtown St. Louis Westin. She was wrapping up a six-month road trip during which she stayed at 50 pet friendly hotels.

“And then when you’d find a hotel that indicated it was pet-friendly, you’d get there and discover that they had weight restrictions and only will accept the (lap) dogs.”

Wade Thompson, sales and marketing manager for the local Westin, said accepting pets is simply good business.

“People who want to travel with pets usually like to travel in style and don’t want to leave their pets at home,” Thompson said, adding that the hotel provides a brochure that lists veterinarians, dog walkers and sitters, pet supply shops and grooming parlors.

Franceschi noted that along with the Westin, the Hilton, Kempton, Loew’s and W hotel chains are noted for their pet accommodations.

Her website now lists about 250 hotels and resorts that are pet-friendly. The website also includes specific information on hotels’ restrictions, services provided and amenities. (Yes, hotels offer bowls, mats, bottled water, plastic gloves and disposable bags, doggie treats and even pricier snacks from room service.)

Franceschi said her work, however, has just begun. “I’ll have about 1,000 (hotels) on the site by the time it’s done, and that’s just in the United States.”

jholleman@post-dispatch.com — 314-340-8254

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