The Best Pet-Friendly Hotel Brands in 2023
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Are you a proud parent of a pandemic puppy or quarantine kitty? Or maybe you’re a long-time pet owner. Taking pets on vacation can help you avoid pricey boarding costs — and it can also ensure you don’t miss a day without your furry friend.
It’s not always clear, though, how to stay at hotels with pets. Many hotels that market themselves as “pet-friendly” aren’t really pet-friendly at all. "Pet-friendly" generally is used in the hotel industry to refer to rooms that simply allow pets. But even among hotels that allow the practice, many charge hefty pet fees, require a deposit or only accept animals under a certain size.
That said, hotels that allow dogs, cats and other pets are out there. We combed through the fine print, fees and policies of all the major hotel brands to not only find hotels with no pet fees or size limits, but also hotels that offer exceptionally delightful amenities, like pet room service, custom dog treats and more.
The official rankings
As part of our annual best hotel rewards program analysis, NerdWallet reviewed pet policies, availability and fees across Best Western, IHG, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Wyndham.
Here are the results.
So, which hotels are pet-friendly? The simple answer is IHG, Marriott and Hilton offer the best overall stays for travelers with pets in tow, according to NerdWallet analysis.
In general, among the major companies, you'll actually have the easiest time finding Hyatt hotels that accept dogs, cats and other pets; that said, you’ll also probably have to pay top dollar for it. Nearly 90% of Hyatt properties accept pets based on our analysis — far higher than any other hotel brand. But, it also had the highest average pet fees at $107, and inconsistent pet policies across brands. That's why it got dinged from the top 3.
Here's some additional data to help you plan for travel lodging with your animal companions.
% of hotels where pets are allowed
Average pet fee
Average pet fee as a percent of room rate
The average pet fee across hotels is $81.60, representing, on average, a 33.50% fee as a percent of the overall room rate. You'll find lower average pet fees at brands like Best Western, IHG and Wyndham, whereas Marriott and Hyatt typically charge more.
» Learn more: Pro tips for hotel travel with pets
Most pet-friendly hotels in 2023
IHG won by a landslide, and that’s due in large part to one brand: Kimpton.
Best pet-friendly hotel chain under IHG: Kimpton
Kimpton’s pet-friendliness has its roots back to 1981, when founder Bill Kimpton insisted upon bringing his own dog, Chianti, to work. Naturally, you can easily bring your pet to Kimpton hotels, too.
There’s no additional pet fee, and there aren’t any size restrictions beyond that your pet must fit through the door (so presumably no pet elephants). You can also theoretically bring the whole menagerie, as there’s no limit on the number of pets allowed.
Kimpton hotels also provide pet-friendly amenities, including plush pet beds, bowls, mats, waste bags and door hangers to alert other guests and staff that a pet is in the room.
Bringing pets to other IHG properties
Kimpton is easily the best brand among the large hotel companies for pets, but a few other IHG brands are pretty good, too. Staybridge Suites accepts pets, across all its locations, that are under 50 pounds, though fees vary and there are some restrictions around where pets can roam.
Candlewood Suites accepts pets under 80 pounds, though it also charges a fee (up to $75 for stays of six nights or fewer).
Still, many IHG properties aren’t pet-friendly. About a third (35%) of the IHG properties we reviewed don’t accept pets.
Marriott has a wide range of brands that will accept pets. But unlike our winner, policies within those brands can be inconsistent. While one location might accept a larger dog, other locations of the same chain might have a weight limit.
Fees can also range, leaving for a confusing experience if you’re used to rules being one way from a past experience at one property, only to find they are different at another property. And some of Marriott’s “pet-friendly” brands only actually accept dogs.
Of all the hotels in our analysis, 63% of Marriott properties accepted pets in some capacity, though they are a mixed bag in terms of offering.
Best hotel chains for pets under Marriott: Aloft, Element Hotels
Marriott tied with Hilton for second place in our list of best hotels for pets. It has a number of pet-friendly brands, including:
Aloft Hotels: Aloft Hotels markets to dog owners with its Animals R Fun (abbreviated as ARF) program, which promises an Aloft bed, bowl, complimentary treats and toys.
However, while your dog is wanted, Aloft wants your money, too. Unlike Kimpton (which doesn’t charge pet fees), you may have to pay extra for pets at some Aloft properties. Fees vary, but we found one as high as $75 per night at the Aloft San Francisco Airport.
Additionally, Aloft restricts the size of your dog to 40 pounds or less (unlike Kimpton, which will take any size pet).
Element Hotels: The Element Hotels Love that Dog program promises a dog bed, food, water bowls, clean-up supplies and more. Like Aloft, there’s a 40-pound weight limit, and some properties charge fees.
Moxy Hotels: Pets are welcome across all Moxy Hotels, and they're offered a bowl and bed during their stay. However, Marriott is pretty inconsistent in terms of pricing, pet size and number of pets allowed. One Moxy hotel we looked at limited pets to two per room, weighing no more than 100 pounds each. But another property had a cap of two pets per room with a combined maximum weight of just 70 pounds.
Westin Hotels & Resorts: Mid-size and smaller dogs (typically defined as 40 pounds or less) can stay at Westin hotels, though fees vary. Some — like The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square — let you bring pets for free, while others will charge you for the privilege. For example, the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa charges $150 per stay, with a maximum of two pets per room. Fee or not, dogs visiting most Westin properties (except those in the Asia-Pacific region) are granted use of a plush dog bed at no additional cost.
Other brands: The Marriott brands listed above guarantee pets are allowed — at least in some capacity — at any location. But that’s not to say other Marriott hotels outside of those brands won’t also allow pets.
For example, at The Clancy in San Francisco, there are no size restrictions on pets (though there’s a cap of two per room). Pets are offered a doggy robe, on top of other local dog treats. Head to the outdoor lounge for “Yappy Hour,” where you can even purchase dog cocktails — which is actually just bone broth in a cute serving container.
Hilton was actually among the lowest-scoring hotel brands in last year’s analysis, but it has quickly climbed the ladder of most pet-friendly hotels. That’s due to a number of changes it has made over the last couple of years to devise more transparent, consistent pet policies, and also to add extra amenities for pet owners — including establishing a partnership with Mars Petcare.
Hilton has seven pet-friendly brands, which basically means that any property within these brands will accept pets. However, the terms with which they’ll accept them (species, maximum weight, number of pets per room and Hilton pet fees) can vary, which can make for an inconsistent experience.
The two exceptions are Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites, both of which have consistent pet fees starting at $50 per stay.
Hilton’s pet-friendly brands are:
Canopy by Hilton: While pets are allowed at all Canopy locations, exact rules vary. However, a $50 fee for your entire stay, and a weight limit of 75 pounds is fairly common. You’ll be able to use dog beds, food, and water bowls, and you’ll get to take home a "bark bag" filled with toys and treats.
Embassy Suites by Hilton: While all Embassy Suites accept pets, the Hilton pet policies vary by location. However, a fee of $75 for stays of four nights or fewer (or $125 for stays longer than that) is pretty common. Most also limit pets to just dogs and cats.
Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton and Tru by Hilton: These properties are newcomers to the pet-friendly hotel game. While some individual locations may have long allowed pets, it was only as of April 2022 that they consistently joined the ranks of hotels where pets are allowed. Note that each property still has individual restrictions around species and weight, and pet fees vary.
Homewood Suites by Hilton: As of January 2022, Homewood Suites by Hilton is 100% pet-friendly across the U.S. and Canada. However, each individual property has its own rules around fees, size limitations, etc.
Home2 Suites by Hilton: Home2 Suites by Hilton was one of Hilton’s pet-friendly brands long before pandemic puppies became popular. All locations within this brand accept pets in some capacity, though again, exact policies vary.
Hilton’s partnership with Mars Petcare gives guests at any of those aforementioned hotels access to virtual support from the Mars Pet Expert Team, which can answer questions about your pet’s health, wellness and behaviors.
Other pet-friendly options
We only ranked the biggest hotel chains here. But, many boutique hotels and small chains are extremely pet-friendly. Other hotel brands to check out include:
Red Roof Inn: Pets are free
Excellent for pet owners on a budget, one domestic pet under 80 pounds at Red Roof Inn and Red Roof Plus+ locations, and under 40 pounds at Red Collection locations, can stay for free per guest room at most locations (and sometimes more than one pet, per management discretion).
You’re usually only charged if your pet damages the hotel property. There may be some limitations, including that pets may not be left unattended and they aren’t allowed in some areas, such as the pool deck.
While many Loews properties charge pet fees, Loews offers posh amenities at some properties, including a room service menu designed especially for dogs and cats. Pets will also receive leashes, collars, litter boxes, litter, litter scoopers, place mats and water bowls.
Plus, hotels provide customers with local dog-walking routes (and doggie pick-up bags for the walk). Proof of up-to-date vaccinations are required.
Pet-focused boutique hotels
Other hotels are specifically designed for people who want to travel with their furry friends. Here are some incredible, pet-focused hotels:
Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile: If you’re exploring the Utah and Arizona national parks on a road trip, stop at the Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile in Kanab, Utah, which specifically encourages travelers with pets. Rooms have built-in dog beds, and you can expect amenities like complimentary self-serve washing facilities and cleaning products, and a fenced-in park.
Staypineapple: Staypineapple — a brand of 10 upscale, boutique hotels in Boston; Chicago; New York City; Portland, Oregon; San Diego; San Francisco; and Seattle — allows pets for an additional fee. You can purchase extra pet packages that include extras like water bowls, dog beds and treats.
Hotel pet policies to watch out for
When considering which hotel to book, it’s not enough to just consider whatever hotel has the lowest fee. There are a few other policies and amenities to watch out for.
Which pets are allowed? Breeds, size and type can matter
Not all hotels allow the same types of pets in each of their properties; often, these policies and allowances vary by property.
It may be wise to call your intended stay ahead of booking to double-check that your furry (or feathered) friend is welcome — sometimes prior approval is even required.
For instance, Best Western's pet policy states: "Best Western pet friendly properties will allow up to two domestic dogs per room, with a maximum size of 80 lbs per animal. Other pet types such as cats, birds, monkeys, snakes or other animals are allowed at the discretion of each property and require prior approval."
This may mean that you have to leave your Bullmastiff behind. And Ross from "Friends" wouldn't have been able to bring Marcel the monkey to the hotel without advance consent, either.
Can you leave the pet unattended?
Some hotels allow pets, but only if they’re with you at all times. If you can’t leave your pets unattended, that could be a problem if you’re heading to a show, theme park or restaurant with a no-pet policy. Others let you leave your pet unattended, but only if they’re contained to a crate.
Pet owners who want a few hours of vacation from their pet should consider hotels that allow pets to be left unattended in the rooms as long as the “pet at rest” and “pet in room” signs are hung. That signals housekeeping to not enter if there is an animal present.
Can pets join in all common areas?
If you can’t leave your pet unattended, and you can’t bring it to the pool, will you really enjoy that hotel? Before booking, understand all the restrictions.
Is paperwork required?
Some hotels require proof of up-to-date vaccinations, veterinarian proof that your pet is flea-free or other health documentation.
Know what paperwork you need. And if you’re a spontaneous hotel booker, you might want to pack it just in case.
Hotels that allow dogs, cats and other pets, recapped
If you like the Kimpton brand specifically, pledge loyalty to IHG One Rewards, so you can guarantee extra amenities, plus no pet fees or other annoying limitations.
When it comes to finding pet-friendly lodging, you may not always have your pick of the litter, and instead may find yourself bound simply by whether or not a hotel allows pets. But many hotels are delightfully pet-friendly, which means it is possible to skip the pet boarding (or begging the neighbor to pet-sit), and bring your furry best friend on vacation with you.
Methodology for pet-friendly hotel rankings
We analyzed more than 100 hotels across six major hotel companies based on factors including whether pets are allowed, average pet fee both in terms of dollar figure and what it cost relative to the overall room rate, and whether the booking website had a pet-friendly filter to search locations.
Distinguishing hotel companies and their brands
The major hotel companies (e.g., Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott) don’t have standard pet policies. Instead, policies typically vary by sub-brand so expect a different policy at Candlewood Suites versus Staybridge Suites, despite both being IHG brands. And even individual policies can vary by location, which can make rules extra confusing.
Our rankings prioritize hotels with brands that have consistent policies nationwide, so you can expect similar service no matter where in the country you’re staying. Only a few brands had a consistent “yes” for accepting pets at all properties, and even fewer had consistent policies around size limits or cost of bringing them.
In total, we gave each hotel a score between 1-5 in seven categories, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. Some categories were given more weight than others (e.g., we gave the most weight to whether a hotel allowed pets at all). Then, we calculated individual category scores to determine an overall score.
Here are our complete rankings:
We looked at more than a dozen individual properties (and sometimes many more) across all hotel companies. Here are the factors we considered:
Allow pets: Whether or not they allow pets at all, in any capacity. Of the properties we looked at, we calculated what percent actually allow pets.
Fee: How much the pet fee was at hotels that allow pets.
Relative fee: To normalize for fancier hotels, we looked at what the fee was relative to the overall room rate.
Potential for $0 fee: Extra points for hotels with brands that explicitly don’t charge pet fees at all properties within that brand.
Search feature: If a hotel offered a user-friendly search feature to filter for pet-accepting hotels.
Consistent policies: If the pet policy was the same at every property, versus if there were variations in terms of size limits, price, etc.
Extra amenities: If a hotel offers amenities like bowls, pet beds or treats.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card