Don't leave home without your pet Animals: In posh city hotels and chain motels, furry critters are welcomed along with their owners.

March 09, 1997|By K. C. Baker | K. C. Baker,NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Most upscale hotels do everything they can to please their guests, but New York's Mayflower took customer service to new heights when it put up a 1,000-pound bull for the night.

The Central Park West hotel accommodated the creature during a stay by Jack Hanna, director emeritus of Ohio's Columbus Zoo.

More hotels nowadays -- especially the swankiest -- are willing to put up Fido or even Babar.

"Part of it is due to the baby boomer generation becoming empty nesters, like me," said travel writer Eileen Barish, who travels with two 75-pound golden retrievers. "Instead of taking their children with them, they take their pets along."

Hanna and his menagerie have stayed at the Mayflower ($155 to $600 a night) for more than 10 years, because the posh hotel allows him and his trainers to keep the zoo animals -- brought into town for appearances on TV shows -- in their rooms.

Hanna has had Bengal tigers, leopards and wolves roaming his Mayflower suite, and alligators and toads in the bathtubs.

Between 15 and 25 percent of the country's hotels, motels and inns have opened their doors to pets, says Barish, author of "Vacationing With Your Pet! Eileen's Directory of Pet Friendly Lodging."

They range from Chicago's Ritz-Carlton to chains like Motel 6 and can be found from the heart of midtown to the outskirts of Kissimmee, Fla.

"We saw that this is a growing market and figured we'd rather have a guest with a pet stay with us than somewhere else," says Susan Moore, spokeswoman for the Ritz-Carlton.

Furry critters at the Four Seasons Hotel on E. 57th St. ($385 to $7,000) get sleeping bags, water and food dishes and treats. If that's not enough, just ask.

"We can provide whatever your pet requires, whether that be setting up a dentist appointment, filling a pet's bowl with Evian water or taking your dog for a stroll around Central Park," says spokeswoman Rebecca Werner.

For pet owners with smaller budgets, the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Main Gate East in Kissimmee, Fla., offers the Pets Are Welcome (P.A.W.) program.

Pets are greeted with doggie bags when they register. They can run in their own park. Guests can leave "Do Not Disturb" signs on doors so housekeepers know there's an animal inside.

Besides Motel 6 and Red Roof Inns, bed and breakfasts are inexpensive and pet-friendly, said Wendy Ballard, creator of the DogGone Newsletter.

Hotel managers say two-legged guests do far more damage than their four-legged counterparts. Still, hotels often ask owners to pledge reimbursement for pet damage.

Then there's the issue of pets vs. humans: A Mayflower guest walked smack into a 100-pound cougar being exercised by Hanna's trainers in a hallway.

He slammed the door and called the desk. The concierge assured him that the cougar was trained and would not be a problem.

Pub Date: 3/09/97

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