Monday, April 5, 2010

Scenes from Atlanta

I took a few days off of work and blogging (shame on me for not pre-writing or getting guest bloggers) to go to a wedding in Atlanta. As has become our norm, we stayed at hotel that is part of the Kimpton family. I first heard about these hotels from people who worked for the company, but completely fell in love with them when I got Baxter. These hotels take pet friendly to a different level.

A typical "pet friendly" hotel is one that presents you with a document you must sign at check in that is borderline threatening. Some promise fines and expulsion if noise should happen to escape from your animal's mouth. I once stayed at a Crown Plaza that had "strikes" on the pet policy (strikes would be accumulated for barks).

"Pet friendly" also means that regardless of the size or temperament of your animal, a hotel can levy anything from a reasonable to completely insane (and non-refundable) fee for the privilege of keeping your pet crated and gagged during your stay. I've found the Marriott hotels to be the worse of all. Their pet fees are routinely around $150, even when the room rate is less than that. When Baxter was just a baby, I had to rush to New Jersey when a family member was facing an unexpected, major surgery. I was at the mercy of the Residence Inn closest to home. Despite the fact that Baxter took up the space of a shoebox (and slept for about 20 hours per day at that point in his little life), the staff at that hotel tried to charge me the $150 pet fee for each day of my stay. The room rate was $165. Needless to say, I won't even stay at a Residence Inn when I'm traveling for work because I was so upset by the conversations I had with them over that stay.

At Kimpton Hotels, pet friendliness is sincere. It is a total joy to approach a Kimpton as a pet owner. Just getting out of the car is great. I remember a door man at the Palomar in Dupont Circle calmly taking over the unpacking of the car (crate, dog bed, luggage, etc.) and ushering us inside while another pulled out dog biscuits for Baxter. The front desks always seem to have a welcome present. This time, at the Palomar in Atlanta, we were greeted by this:


How cute is that? Once inside, the house dog (who lives with the hotel manager) greeted Baxter and we got some treats. Check in took about 20 seconds and I kept getting things given to me. One of the cutest things was a Hotel Palomar dog tag with Baxter's name engraved on it. I have never seen such a nice gesture.


Now, I have to mention the design of this hotel. There were many elements that are popular with the design blog crowd right now: wallpaper, earthy tones, plenty of gray, and great upholstery. Right outside the elevators stood a mirror that many bloggers have fawned over:


I had to take a few pictures with a flash because the area by the elevators has more subdued lighting. The bottom of this second mirror is a big miss, but I like the top.



On Saturday night, there were Easter eggs at every door (when we stayed at another Kimpton at Halloween, we got bags of candy, so this seems to be a tradition). Inside was an invitation to an egg hunt for kids and some candy.


On Easter morning, we had breakfast in the hotel restaurant (Pacci) and mentioned that we had a dog while chatting with our waitress. At the end of the meal, she dropped this bag of treats on our table. Apparently, they are on the dessert menu and are meant for those who have dogs staying at the hotel. The chefs actually developed a biscuit recipe!




Baxter approved!




I should have taken more pictures of the amazing spaces at this hotel, but I hope you enjoyed just this little peek.

Has anyone ever encountered a hotel as pet friendly as these Kimptons are? I would love to know if there are others doing such nice things for animal lovers like us.
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6 comments:

  1. Thank you! I believe this is the best post I've ever read! Being a "dog" Mom, this is right up my alley. I truly believe that the best form of advertising is word of mouth! I'm sold, love your puppy!

    Jaye

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  2. How neat! My parents usually pet sit when we're out of town, but this would be a great hotel for our family trips to Dallas!

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  3. I hadn't heard of the Kimpton group until recently when I scored a room on Hotwire at the Hotel Monaco in DC. We loved this place. Very cool decor and fun attention to detail. We didn't have our dog with us this time (a rare kid/pet free night for us!), but look forward to another visit.

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  4. Wow, that place sounds wonderful. Shame on whoever put those cheesy people on that otherwise cool mirror! ha

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  5. We looove the Hotel Monaco in DC. Our 7 year old calls it the space hotel because of the design. I think he means futuristic, LOL?

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  6. WOW! I want to go here just so that Bailey can enjoy herself! It's so important that a hotel realizes how important pets are in our lives!

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