By Kathie Farnell
Photos by Jack Purser Jr.

The Hotel Monteleone sits just steps away from the Mississippi River in the heart of New Orleans’ world-famous French Quarter. On any given day the grand lobby, with its pillars and vaulted ceilings, is full of guests, some of whom may be enjoying lying on the cool marble floor.

No, we are not talking about something that happens during Mardi Gras.

The Hotel Monteleone is now a pet-friendly hotel complete with a four-legged guest amenity upon check-in, including a mat with water and food bowls and a bag of treats. For the human traveler, the hotel also provides a special pet-friendly brochure that highlights area attractions, such as restaurants and parks, where pets are welcome.

According to Andrea Thornton, Hotel Monteleone Director of Sales and Marketing, the decision to go pet-friendly was in part due to Hurricane Katrina. As Thornton explains, “Pets are such an integral part of a family and I think we learned a hard lesson after Katrina. After the storm, we had locals living here because their homes were destroyed and they had pets. We still have locals staying here while they are rebuilding their homes so we wanted to do everything we could to keep families together, so we allowed the pets and decided to continue with this policy.”

On check-in, guests who have a pet must sign a pet application that outlines specific rules and fees that are charged (a $100 non-refundable cleaning fee and a $25 per night “pet rate.”) There are no restrictions on which rooms must be used, so suites are available to guests with pets.

The Monteleone has joined a growing number of upscale New Orleans properties which now welcome pets.

On nearby Poydras Street in the bustling Riverfront area, the Loew’s New Orleans Hotel greets four-legged guests with a letter from the manager’s dog (I am not sure how this goes over with the feline contingent), and supplies feeding bowls, litter boxes, special treats, pet toys and even room service for pets. The dog menu includes everything from Iams Power Bark nutritional snack bars to the Bow Wow Tenderloin of Beef with eggs and brown rice. On the cat front, guests may opt for Iams Feline, or, for the supremely finicky, Kitty’s Salmon Supreme, a fresh filet of fish.

If you are going to go to all this trouble, you may decide to take your pet out to eat.

The Pet Friendly brochure provided by the Hotel Monteleone lists several restaurants which allow pets, including the popular beignet stop Café Du Monde, the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, and Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar on Tchoupitoulas Street.

If all you want is a little fresh air, some pet-friendly locales include the Piazza d’Italia, a park adjacent to Loew’s; Woldenburg Park along the riverfront; and the Cabrini Dog Park on Ursulines Avenue in the French Quarter—probably not your first stop if you are traveling with your cat.

Other high-end New Orleans hotels which welcome pets include the W Hotel and the Windsor Court. The properties are following a trend which shows more Americans traveling with their pets. A 2006 survey by BringYourPet.com indicates that 64% of travelers would be more likely to extend their stay if allowed to bring their pets.

With or without a pet, visitors to New Orleans will find that the French Quarter, which was never under water, is up and running with its usual exuberance. The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau has launched a new customizable website, 24NOLA, to help travelers plan their trips.

For more information on planning a trip to New Orleans, visit 24NOLA and the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For information on traveling with your pet, visit Pets Allowed Hotels for a list of pet-friendly hotels in New Orleans.

For more information or to make reservations at the Hotel Monteleone, visit the hotel’s website.

For more information or to make reservations at the Loew’s New Orleans Hotel, visit the hotel’s website.

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