Nowhere is traveling with a dog more fraught with confrontation than New York City. To misquote that Big Apple anthem Frank Sinatra voiced so well, “if you can make it there with a dog in tow, you can make it anywhere.”
However, with the new 2016 city ordinance allowing dogs on restaurant and bar patios with their humans, New York is becoming more welcoming to travelers with dogs, in summer at least. While the majority of hotels don’t allow pets, some open their doors to them and even offer home comforts like bowls, beds, treats, and toys. Some have leashes and food, just in case you forgot. But many have size restrictions and some fees, mainly for cleaning—as if your cute little pooch is anything but perfect and clean.
It’s often surprising which hotels are pet friendly and which are not. Some deluxe digs, well, dig dogs.
1. The Roxy
When it comes to welcoming dogs, The Roxy is top. Formerly the Tribeca Grand, this boutique hotel at the foot of the Avenue of the Americas in Tribeca has to be one of the most dog friendly hotels anywhere. There is no size limit and no fee. Not only can a dog enjoy a good night’s sleep in the funky, retro (think early 1970s) rooms, but the enormous lobby lounge is a fun place to run around. It helps if they enjoy top-class jazz in the evenings, because that’s when the lobby becomes a swinging jazz club—and howling along is fully acceptable. The hotel designates rooms on certain floors for doggie travelers and there is no additional charge. Treats from New York’s all-natural Bocce’s Bakery, bedding, food, bowls and doggy bags are offered. So as not to discriminate, cats are welcome, too.
2. LOTTE New York Palace Hotel
Photo courtesy of Maggie Parker
One of the fanciest hotels in NYC, the historic LOTTE New York Palace Hotel surprisingly allows pets. The hotel allows small dogs 25 pounds or less and a pet waiver is required at check-in. Your dog is sure to feel like the most pampered pooch ever as this place.
3. New York Hilton Midtown
Further uptown on sixth avenue, the New York Hilton Midtown allows a maximum of two dogs in a room and the weight restriction is 75 pounds per dog. There is a $50 non-refundable fee, but the hotel provides really comfy dog beds of all sizes upon request. Like the Roxy, cats are also allowed. Should your dog treat the room as a chew toy, or run amok and cause damage, you can expect your credit card to reflect it. But that’s the same with any human-friendly hotel.
4. The Gregory Hotel
The words Midtown should strike horror in any dog-in-tow traveler’s heart, especially in summer when the heat island effect makes the area unbearable and even dangerous for furry fellows. Just off Herald Square, The Gregory Hotel is an oasis of cool and calm. It allows one dog per room up to 50-pounds, but the weight limit is mainly to avoid what the hotel thinks might be an aggressive breed. Odd, because some pit bulls are no larger than that, and Chihuahuas are more aggressive, generally, than English mastiffs, the most passive dog on the planet and among the largest. Still, little Chihuahua chops do less damage than the jaws of a large dog, so there is that point. There is a $50 charge and a $250 refundable damage deposit.
5. Hotel Indigo Lower East Side
Photo courtesy of Linda Clarke
Opened in December 2015, this swanky Lower East Side hotel has spacious rooms, some with large terraces and for those wealthy dogs, there’s a duplex penthouse you won’t want to check out of, ever. The 14th floor lobby has amazing views through floor to ceiling window walls. It’s interesting to watch a dog’s reaction to the wondrous sight: if they can’t smell it, it’s not all that real to them—until movement catches their eye. The Hotel Indigo Lower East Side allows one dog or cat per room. There is a 50-pound weight limit (that would be a large cat!) and a $50 charge, which is basically a cleaning fee.
6. NU Hotel
It’s amazing how many of the new hotels springing up in Brooklyn don’t allow dogs. However, like its sister hostelry, the Duane Street Hotel in Tribeca, this Smith Street boutique hotel caters to canines. It has a 50-pound size limit and there is a fee of $100. There are doggie treats in the lobby, and dog bowls and beds for the boudoir. Should you run out, poo bags are available. A big plus with the NU Hotel is that rooms are sizable—on a New York City scale, that is—and most floors are not carpeted, and therefore hard to stain. Dogs run hot, internally, and these two things can help them keep cool. Also, most rooms have windows that actually open to allow in real air.
Linda Clarke is a freelance travel writer whose work has been published in the Boston Globe, New York Daily News, and several other print and online publications.