Dog friendly hotels – or don’t go there?

What makes a good accommodation? For some people probably the size of the room may matter, for others the number of tubes displayed in the bathroom or the view out the window. For me there is a more relevant criterion, the fact that my pooches may join me on my vacation, no small task in BC when searching the Internet with the most commonly used misleading phrases:

  1. “Dogs allowed” – a host grants a dog to stay with its owners.
  2. “Dog friendly” – the accommodation is suitable for dogs and/or the host is inviting warm to four-legged guests.
  3. “Dogs welcome” – also the dog’s arrival is gladly accepted and/or a cause of joy.

I am kind of sophisticated and don’t like finding hair in the shower, dirt in the fridge or a greasy comforter that is so disgusting that I am afraid to touch it, and therefore cannot fall asleep – yep, happened in this order in three different places.

If the hosts and their employees are actually nice to me and know about guest experience, I become a returning guest. It is disappointing to realize how few hotel employees know, that they only make money when guests return and when they tell their friends.

Another point is advertising. Don’t trust the Internet! How can I say so when I am blogging on the Internet? If accommodation claims to welcome dogs – on special online listings for travellers with dogs – you may probably have to pay $20 per dog per day to take the dog into the room. On our recent trip this would have been an extra cost of $1000 just for my pooches. So if one thinks the expense of dog-sitting evaporates, one may be wrong.

One host in the Comox Area publishes; you may leave your dog in a crate, in the laundry room. For this you only have to pay $5 per dog per night. Another host from the dog friendly listing wrote in his offer: “We do ask that the dogs sleep in your vehicle.”

These hosts are neither dog friendly nor do they welcome dogs. Per definition they barely allow dogs. How come that they have such a weird understanding of being friendly and welcoming to dog owners? One host changed from dogs allowed to not-allowed because of two negative incidents. Only because she knew my dogs from a previous stay, she allowed us to bring them again. You, my responsible pet-owning readers know how to look after your dogs. You know that

  1. your lodge is not a dog daycare. If your dog is not house-trained or not used to stay alone, barks, whines or destroys furniture, you don’t leave him alone in the room. If a mishap occurs then you apologize and pay for the damage.
  2. strolling around only makes fun outside. If your dog is not obedient, you have him on leash at all times on the premises, because you know that there are people who are really afraid of dogs, even the little ones.
  3. some communities and even some hosts provide poop bags. Because you are a good citizen you pick-up after your pooch.
  4. tableware is reserved for human food. Because you use common sense you brought your doggy’s dishes.
  5. the beds are only to be used by two-legged critters. As a responsible dog owner you also brought Fido’s pillow.
Some Agility / Obedience Training at an off-leash beach in Comox

I think asking for $20 per dog per day is outrageous. I would agree to pay a deposit of $200 per dog, and a one time cleaning fee of $20, but that’s it. Nevertheless, there are some facilities that I want to tell you about.

The first skip-the-kennel accommodation Bostrom’s Bed & Breakfast ( in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island is romantically situated at Little Beach Bay. There are three suites, all have a spectacular ocean view, and one of them is suited for dogs. Our suite was spacious, perfectly equipped with a barbecue provided on the patio, and the guests are offered a hot tub, sauna, billiard table, games, books, videos, etc.

2014 04 KissenFor my girls there were cookies and bowls waiting on the counter and a dog pillow I wanted to lie down on. you can reach walking trails within minutes.

Judy, the owner is a perfectionist, and I mean this in the most positive way. Her attention to detail is unbeatable, whether I am thinking of the binoculars, the rain gear or the eco-friendly products she provides. She knows how to spoil her guests. And the breakfast! OMG how delicious was that! I nominate ✪✪✪✪✪.

Way overpriced is Cougar’s Crag. It is dirty, and the food is days old, but what upset me most is that the published pictures on the website gallery don’t show the suite one actually stays in. It is car drives away from everything, but therefore really quite at night. The owner provides a pillow and bowls, and the dog stays free of charge ✪✪ (one for complimentary laundry service).

2014 05 KissenThe Westin Bayshore in Vancouver rolls out the red carpet for your four-legged friend. They provide the Westin Heavenly Dog Bed, bowls & poop bags. Dogs stay free of charge. At check-in you receive information about off-leash areas, vets, stores for pet supplies and dog services. There is a tiny off-leash area – or a bigger dog wash room – around the corner and you reach Stanley Park in a few minutes. The quality for the two-legged guests is at its best. ✪✪✪✪.

We did not stay at the Terrace Beach Resort, but I very much liked what they wrote in their offer: “Your pets are welcome in any of our units here. We have a pet ‘wash & dry’ station, equipped for pet’s needs, located on our main boardwalk. We are connected to the beach and the Wild Pacific Trail, which is convenient for exercising pets, and dogs receive a biscuit when they come into our office. Pets are a flat rate of $20.00 each per stay. Service dogs always stay free!”

My conclusion is that there are quite a few accommodations that allow dogs, some for horrendous fees, some for free, but really dog friendly places that welcome dogs are rare to find. Have a safe trip and enjoy beautiful BC.

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