I often travel with my dogs, and I am hardly alone. In recent years Americans have spent record amounts pampering their pets, and increasingly treating four-legged friends like human children, including on the road. Pet travel has increased steadily for the past 20 years, and a 2020 survey found that 45% of dog owners took their pups on a trip of at least two nights. But this all got pumped up during the pandemic, when dog ownership hit new highs, and driving road trips become more popular.
I’ve written extensively on pet-friendly luxury hotels for many different magazines and publications, and you can find some of my favorite properties – and some of the nation’s best – here.
But many top luxury hotels that claim to be “dog friendly” have misguided size limitations, high fees and unwieldy rules. Many such hotels are more accurately “tolerant of some pets” rather than pet welcoming. But there are pleasant exceptions, and long before COVID-19, Kimpton Hotels carved out a reputation as one of the most pet friendly hospitality brands in the world, quickly becoming a favorite of globetrotting pet owners. In fact, Kimpton has been pet friendly since its creation in 1981 when namesake founder Bill Kimpton would bring his dog, Chianti, to work.
As Kimpton’s website explains: “OK, we admit it. We have an animal attraction. Can you blame us? At every Kimpton boutique hotel, we invite you to bring your furry, feathery or scaly family member – no matter their size, weight, or breed, all at no extra charge. If your pet fits through the door, we’ll welcome them in. There’s more to our pet-friendly policy than just a no-fuss check-in and scratch behind the ear, though. We’ve got all the goodies you need to keep your pet pampered.” Unlike most hotels, they also have no limit on the number of dogs, just in case you are driving cross country with your sled dog team. Amenities include loaner dog beds, bowls and mats, and each hotel keeps a list of nearby parks, pet friendly restaurants, groomers and poet boutiques.
But today the brand took that another dog friendly step further by announcing an exclusive partnership with Wag!, a mobile platform that connects pet owners with professional caregivers for pet boarding, sitting and walking. Wag!’s motto is “Any day, any time pet care,” and Kimpton claims to be the first major hotel brand to offer on-property walks and drop-ins through a pet service provider like Wag!, for guests staying at any of their more than 65 properties in the U.S.
Wag! in turn claims to have been the inventor of on-demand dog walking and has been at it since 2015 with more than 11 million services completed. Using 5-Star rated local dog walkers, Wag! offers both one-time service when you are visiting hotels, or recurring regular walks at home, as well as drop-in play visits and other services.
Kimpton guests will receive a complimentary month of the normally subscription fee-based Wag! Premium with every stay. This in turn gives 10% off every pet service, waives booking fees and includes 24/7 access to advice from credentialed veterinary professional. To kick off the new KimptonXWag!, the duo is also gifting 1,000 free 20-minute services (either walks or drop-ins) for guests staying at a participating properties.
“With the emergence of remote work, guests are used to spending more time with their pets, and so it’s not surprising that as travel picks up, our guests are opting to bring their pets with them,” said Kathleen Reidenbach, Chief Commercial Officer at Kimpton. “We understand how hard it is to leave pets behind, so we are thrilled that this partnership with Wag! will take some of the stress off our guests, allowing them to make the most of their travels while ensuring their furry family members are well taken care of on the road or at home.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with Kimpton Hotels to make it easier than ever for guests to take care of their pets when they travel,” said Garrett Smallwood, CEO of Wag!. “Both the Wag! and Kimpton teams live by the adage that ‘pets are family,’ and we know that Kimpton pet parents feel the same. With access to 24/7 veterinary advice during your stay and support from local Pet Caregivers through this partnership Kimpton guests can have a stress-free vacation knowing Kimpton and Wag! have all their pet needs covered.”
Guests can redeem one of the 1,000 free walks (available while supplies last) by reaching out to @Kimpton on Twitter or Instagram for a one-time-use custom discount code. But the benefits of the new partnership will remain long after the freebies are gone, as it is well worth the price of knowing that your best friends are being taken out for a walk when you are out for hours, and this program makes arranging that easier than it ever has been before.