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Pets as guests

For a few days in December, the Comfort Inn Capital City played host to a monkey.

For a few days in December, the Comfort Inn Capital City played host to a monkey.

Nearly all of the pets that visit the hotel in Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County, are cats or dogs, but the facility has been known to make exceptions, said Director of Operations Raymond Hunt.

“I don’t want an elephant in here by any means, but everything is flexible,” Hunt said.

The property has allowed pets to stay on site since it opened in 1997. The hotel charges $25 per night for an animal’s stay to help cover the cost of deep cleaning, Hunt said.

The weight limit for a pet is typically around 25 pounds, but the hotel will work to accommodate special situations, including service animals, Hunt said.

While the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Dauphin County accepts service dogs, it does not allow any other kind of animal to spend the night at its facility. This has been the policy since the 167-room hotel in Swatara Township opened in 1987, said Candice Fry, the property’s sales manager.

“It’s a constant thing that they’re always looking into, but the biggest thing is the number of people that are allergic to animals. It’s hard to contain (pets to) a certain area,” Fry said.

The 64-room Comfort Inn designates eight rooms as those where pets are welcome to stay the night. This helps the hotel to accommodate guests with animal allergies by keeping them as far from those rooms as possible, Hunt said.

Because guests are traveling with their animals more often, pets stay at the hotel almost every night, Hunt said. He said the frequency has increased over the past two years, when pets used to visit once or twice a week.

“Pets aren’t considered just a thing you tie up outside anymore. They’re your family,” Hunt said. “More guests are going to travel with their animals. Either you take animals or you’re left out in the cold.”

Finding a hotel that is pet-friendly is hit or miss in the United States, said Carol Krzanowski, associate director of New Jersey-based The Cat Fanciers’ Association Inc. The association licenses cat shows for pedigree, or purebred, felines.

Most of the major hotel chains do allow pets, but some of those chains also leave it up to the local management at each hotel to decide whether to accept pets, Krzanowski said. It is harder in some areas of the country, such as New York and Atlantic City, to find hotels that are pet-friendly, she said.

“I think probably the issue that some of the hotels have is just the cleanliness issue,” Krzanowski said. “I can’t speak for the average pet owner, but people who travel with pedigree cats are extremely careful and clean.”

The Best Western Eden Resort Inn & Suites in Manheim Township, Lancaster County, became pet-friendly about four years ago, said General Manager Stephen Sikking.

“We noticed that there were a lot of guests sneaking their pets into the hotel,” Sikking said. “We looked at it closely and said that we didn’t see any reason we couldn’t accommodate pets in a restricted area.”

The 276-room hotel has nine pet-friendly rooms in the main building. Four of the hotel’s 40 residential-style suites, which are separate from the main building, are available for guests with pets.

The pet-designated rooms in the main building are on the first floor and have easy access to exterior entrances, Sikking said. Room attendants in that section of the hotel are trained to properly clean rooms that have been visited by pets, he said.

The hotel permits pets that weigh 50 pounds or less. Dogs and cats are the most common animal visitors, but an occasional rabbit or parrot will stop by, Sikking said.

There is a $15 fee per night for animal visitors at the Eden Resort. That fee is applied per room, not per pet. The hotel prefers that no more than two animals stay in a room at one time.

“The goal is to accommodate guests who travel but not make it uncomfortable for those here without pets,” Sikking said.

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