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The LEAST Pet-Friendly Hotel Stay

Over spring break, my husband and I took the kids, our dog, Caera, and our adventure cat, Van Gogh, to Phoenix for spring break. We stopped in Bisbee, AZ, on our way back. It was an unexpectedly fun visit to this quaint border town and nearby Tombstone. I highly recommend the area, but unfortunately, we experienced the least pet-friendly hotel stay while there.

Hotel Pet Fee

hotel pet fee
hotel pet fee

I am adamant about paying hotel pet fees. Having worked in the hospitality industry, I know how often people sneak pets into their rooms to avoid paying the associated fees. I am not that person, nor is my husband.

When I write blogs about travel with pets - a topic I often cover in my blog or my clients' - I always encourage pet parents to be honest and upfront about having pets in their room.

To me, it's a matter of safety as much as it is a matter of integrity.

The place we chose to stay in is part of the Hilton family of properties, is located near a military installation, and is about a 30-minute drive from the sights we hoped to see in Bisbee and Tombstone. The hotel was clean and appeared well-maintained. The daily breakfast was very well managed and provided ample options.

Not Pet-Friendly

As mentioned, we had our cat and dog with us. They are both very well-trained and well-behaved. As always, we happily paid the $75 pet fee upon check-in.

As you may know, I've worked with pets for a living for over 15 years. We travel with our pets often. We've covered most of the East Coast and Southern United States with our pets.

traveling cat

From the start, it appeared this hotel did not want pets staying on the property. The fact that we had pets created issues we've never encountered before.

To begin with, my husband felt that the front desk agent's tone changed when he discussed our pets at check-in. It seemed odd, but we had already settled in and disregarded the awkward exchange.

On our last day, however, we asked for a late check-out and were told no - because we have pets. Since when does having pets disqualify someone from getting a late check-out? As Hilton Diamond status holders, we get late check-out almost everywhere and feel welcome whether or not we bring our pets along. We had just left a Hilton resort in Phoenix, and while they could not provide a late check-out due to spring break demand, our pets were as welcome as we were throughout our stay, even in a suite.

Not Human-Friendly

traveling dog

After being denied late check-out *because we have pets,* the hotel manager instructed a front desk agent to stand beside our room until we checked out at noon. I have never had hotel staff WATCH ME vacate a room. Again, we travel often - hence the Diamond status - and have never experienced such an invasion of privacy and disrespect. The front desk agent apologized, recognizing that it was an unpleasant and highly uncommon situation.

I am not sure if it's because we were traveling with a cat - a travel cat that is harness and backpack trained - or if it's the fact we had two pets of different species, but this was an outrageously disappointing experience that we hope never to experience again.

We travel with litter boxes, walk our dog every 6-7 hours, and bring all the necessary equipment to ensure we leave hotel rooms in as good shape as we find them. I take pride in the way we raise our pets. Irresponsible pet parents may have previously burned the hotel, but we are not that.

Beware Pet Marketing Strategies

Since we did not hear any complaints about how we left the room, nor did our pets cause any damage, I hope the hotel learned a valuable lesson in making assumptions about pet-friendly families. We would certainly have been billed for damages had there been any issues, but that has not been the case. I personally emptied the litter box, swept up the area, and took out the trash before leaving therefore, I'm confident there couldn't have been any issues once we vacated.

No matter their reasoning, this property is not "pet-friendly," even if they market themselves as such. They are happy to collect a $75 pet fee from their guests but seem to resent that pets are entering the building. I'd hate for anyone to experience the off-putting treatment I did on our last day therefore, I posted a public review of the hotel on Google.

I will also be in touch with Hilton regarding this situation.

If a hotel doesn't want to welcome pets, they shouldn't. Don't "welcome" them only to make it difficult for their families once they arrive.

Mama Bear

Follow me on social media to learn more about me, my pet podcast, and my family. As a 15+ year pet industry pro, I share tips, tricks, and stories like this to make your pet parenting journey easier and, hopefully, more pleasant.

Cheers, Isabel


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