Where Guests With Four Legs Are Pampered

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Dog is man's best friend until it comes time to take the family on a vacation. That's when you have to either limit your travels to places that accept canines or pack Fido off to a kennel or dog-sitter until the party is over.

But these are dog days for hotelkeepers, and as lodgings compete with one another for the family business, a growing number are making an effort to be more dog friendly. The American Hotel and Motel Association estimates that more than 20,000 U.S. lodgings now accept pets — some of them in great style.

At the Beverly Hills Hotel, for example, guest dogs are escorted by clerks to their rooms and always greeted by name by hotel staff. Canine guests get custom-made beds, inscribed ceramic water bowls and personalized dog treats. At Loews Hotels, V.I.P.s ("Very Important Pets") are welcomed with a letter from the general manager with a map of nearby scenic, dog-friendly walks; owners get a "puppy pager" when they leave their pet behind so they can be reached in case of emergency.

The Peninsula Chicago offers pet massages, dog-walking services and pet-sitters — not to mention a just-for-pets room-service menu with treats ranging from rawhide to steak tartare. The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Md., specializes in gourmet dog biscuits. And if your dog takes a liking to the designer doggie bed at the posh Hotel Lancaster in Paris, the management will ship a replica back home.

Ready to start planning your next family trip? A new guidebook series, The Dog Lover's Companion (Avalon Travel Publishing, $18 to $22), offers the inside scoop on where dogs are most welcome across the U.S. Dog-friendly restaurants, shops and hotels are listed, along with such amenities as dog runs, parks and beaches. The books also rate standard tourist attractions for doggie value: the Lincoln Memorial gets four paws for the photo ops by the "stunning" reflecting pool.

For more pet-friendly places, visit www.petsonthego.com