Family vacations over the holidays are perfect for making special memories with loved ones—and for pet parents, that includes furry family members. But if you want to bring your pup to the slopes, you’ll have to book a room in one of your destination’s pet-friendly hotels.
For those pet parents who want to try out a new skiing lodge with their snow-loving pooch by their side, we’ve compiled a list of top ski destinations that double as pet-friendly hotels so you can share the best possible vacation with your pet.
Sundance Mountain Resort in Sundance, Utah
Sundance has amazing skiing—and the resort welcomes guests with up to two pets of any size. Sundance Mountain Resort is all about preserving untouched nature for the surrounding communities. The property is both stunningly scenic and convenient and has 42 runs of beginner to expert terrain spread over 450 acres. Fun fact: It’s owned by Robert Redford, the founder of the Sundance Film Festival.
The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado
The Little Nell is dedicated to making your stay with your pet nothing short of luxurious. Among the plentiful amenties available is a pet menu that offers your four-legged friend a healthy and filling meal. They even provide a puppy jet lag kit to help pooches acclimate to the area’s altitude, which is an astounding 7,900 feet above sea level. All rooms have fireplaces and heated bathroom floors, offering a cozy retreat for canines and humans.
When it comes to skiing, the Little Nell is right at Aspen’s main lifts and offers ski-in/ski-out access, making it convenient for you to travel to and from the slopes whenever you please. There is also a ski concierge available to facilitate your skiing experience to make it the best possible.
The Knob Hill Inn in Ketchum, Idaho
When choosing between pet-friendly hotels, you will be comforted to know that staff at the Knob Hill Inn are considered to be a community of dog lovers who will welcome your furry companion with open arms, along with a few doggy gifts. Upon checking into the hotel with your four-legged friend, you will receive a travel bowl, canine first aid guide, a dog-friendly energy bar, waste bags and an ID collar. If you’re feeling generous, the Inn will match a donation in your dog’s name to the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley to help rescue dogs.
Your dog is also welcome to join you on your outdoor adventures. The hiking trails in the Sun Valley area are pet-friendly, and your pup can even trot alongside while you snowshoe.
There are a ton of pet-friendly activities you can do in the town of Ketchum and in Sun Valley. If you like Italian food, we recommend Rico’s on nearby Main Street, which offers a discount to all dog parents.
Viceroy Snowmass in Snowmass Village, Colorado
Viceroy Snowmass is a LEED Gold-certified resort 6 miles from Aspen/Pitkin Airport. Upon arrival, pups can snag a gift bag with a dog leash, waste bags, a bandana and a cookie treat. Plus, a pet bed, food and water bowls, and a canine room service treat menu will be waiting in your room. For times when you can’t make it back from the slopes in time for your pup’s walk, their concierge will locally source a dog walker for your convenience.
Waldorf Astoria in Park City, Utah
This pet-friendly hotel is at the base of the largest ski resort in the country, Park City Mountain Resort. As far as dog-friendly hotels go, the Waldorf Astoria staff strives to give their pup guests the same treatment as they do for any other guest. Expect a pet bed, bowls and homemade, personalized dog treats in your room when you arrive. They even employ a Director of Pet Relations and a canine masseuse.
How to Choose the Best Vacation Spot for Your Family
So how do you choose between all of these amazing pet-friendly hotels? We caught up with Alisha Prakash, editor for the hotel review site, Oyster.com (known for sending investigators to each and every pet-friendly hotel it rates) to offer advice. Here are her best tips for choosing the right hotel to ensure that your holiday ski vacation will be as enjoyable for your pet as it is for the rest of the family.
First and Foremost, Get on the Phone
You need to speak to a hotel staffer directly to determine what their pet policies are. In fact, much of your vacation research is going to involve old-fashioned phone calls, says Prakash. Whether you’re trying to get information on the hotel itself, a particular restaurant, a local dog park or a doggy daycare in a nearby town, “Policies could have changed over time, so it’s best to call rather than simply checking websites, which may have outdated information,” explains Prakash.
Clarify What They Mean by “Pet-Friendly”
Keep in mind that pet-friendly resorts or dog-friendly hotels may still have rules in place governing what type of pet you can bring, so it’s worth clarifying any size and breed restrictions, and whether you need to bring proof of your pet’s up-to-date vaccinations.
Understand the Pet Fees
Ask about any additional fees for pets when researching pet-friendly resorts. These can add up quickly. If you are quoted an extra fee to bring a pet, ask if the amount is per pet, per night or for the entire stay—and if a refundable security deposit or cleaning charge is required.
Ask if Your Precious Pup Will Get Any Perks
Find out what amenities the pet-friendly resorts offer for dogs. Is there a grassy area for your pup to run around? Will there be dog treats, pet beds, and in-room food and water bowls? While those kinds of little extras aren’t going to make or break your trip, it can be nice to know what you need to pack and what you can leave out. (If you do need to bring your own, the Petmate Travel Bowl collapses for easy packing.)
Find out Exactly Where Your Dog Is and Isn’t Allowed
Ask whether there are any areas that are totally off-limits for pets, like restaurants or the pool area. While you likely can’t bring your dog skiing, it would behoove you to find out if the hotel allows you to leave your pet unattended in the room. If not, ask about the possibility of arranging pet-sitting services. Even if you’re permitted to leave your dog alone in the room, they should be crated. (The Frisco Fold & Carry Crate is easy to travel with.) Leaving even the best-behaved dog both alone and loose in a strange hotel room is asking for trouble.
Check out the Surrounding Area
Look at the overall destination from a dog-parent perspective, advises Prakash. Call restaurants that interest you to find out if you can bring your dog inside. (Some restaurants call themselves dog-friendly, but that only means you’re welcome to sit in an outside area.) If you’re trotting your pupper out to a restaurant in a posh ski resort area, you may want to make sure he’s dressed for the occasion. The Frisco Dog & Cat Parka Coat has a faux fur trim hoodie, perfect for keeping any stylish dog warm. A sportier option complete with a safety light is the Kurgo North Country Dog Coat. Don’t forget your pup’s paws; the Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots will prevent your pup from slipping while out and about.
Remember: Your Dog’s Safety Comes First
Check if the destination has cross-country or hiking trails that welcome pups and whether they are required to be leashed. Don’t bring your dog on any trail that isn’t cleared for canine use. Even on trails approved for pups, you should keep an eye out for wild animal tracks, urges Prakash. If you have any suspicion that, say, a bear or moose may be lurking about, head back, no matter how beautiful the weather is! And don’t forget to make sure your dog is wearing a tag with your contact information, as well as the name of your hotel, in case you lose track of your pet.
Christina Vercelletto is a pet, travel and lifestyle content specialist and a former editor of Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child and Woman’s Day. She lives on Long Island with her Chiweenie, Pickles, and 20-pound Calico, Chub-Chub.