Upon arrival, a Loews guest with pet in tow is handed a map of the area listing dog-walking routes, pet-friendly restaurants, pet shops, and veterinarians. A toy, treats, food and water bowls, place mat, and room-service menu (bow-wow burgers, anyone?) await. After that, Fido can crash and watch a pet video, or go out for a walk with hotel staff.

At The Point in Saranac Lake, New York, a small Adirondack Mountains resort built by a nephew of John D. Rockefeller IV, dogs can romp the 10-acre grounds, swim in the lake, and sleep in Architectural Digest-worthy log cabins with their owners. "We say dogs don't go to heaven when they die, they go to The Point," says manager Tim Thuell, whose own two dogs live at The Point (800-255-3530), where rooms start at $1,000 per night, three meals included.

At the Grove Isle Club & Resort (305-858-8300), Miami's only Relais & Chateaux property, Fido can gobble up grilled sirloin and mushrooms with a side of bones or lap up milk on the outdoor patio. Of course, there's room service if Rover prefers to eat in. Louis Vuitton carriers and Coach leather collars are available for purchase for furry fashion victims, who sleep on Frette sheets with their owners, in rooms decked out with mahogany furnishings and Italian marble baths.

"Our guests are interested in the high-end, and are really enthusiastic about bringing their pets," says Grove Isle spokeswoman Rebecca Kollaras. "One brought a little froufrou dog every two months from the time it was a three-month-old puppy until it was a year old."

But don't forget the felines. Miss Thing, a cuddly 17-pound cat, slept in Super 8 motels with her owner from Boston to California. "Every single front-desk clerk cooed over her and wanted to come visit her in my room," says Fanny Whitestone, a San Francisco-based writer.

Still, pet policies vary widely. Dogs are favored - generally small ones, 20 to 25 pounds or less - but sometimes cats (and an occasional bird) are permitted. Fees generally range from free to $25 per night per pet. Some lodgings allow only certain breeds, or request a hefty deposit that's nonrefundable if the pet damages the room. At some hotels, pets can't be left alone in guest rooms unless they're crated or confined in a bathroom, and are off-limits in public areas like lobbies, restaurants, and lounges.

But it's those places that welcome animals with open arms that keep pet owners coming back. Consider Antoinetta D'Addio, a New York public relations executive, who took Lucy, her black Shih Tzu, on a recent Rome to New York flight. Says D'Addio, "I couldn't bear leaving her with someone else." And luckily, she doesn't have to.



McDonnell is the author of five nonfiction books, and has written for The New York Times and Specialty Travel Index among others.