A few weeks ago, Tom and I broke away for a few days and went up to Hot Springs, AR. Hot Springs is one of my favorite places to visit and it is just a quick 2.5 hour drive away from here. How can you not love a place that calls itself Spa City? And yes, I do take one of their famous baths every time I go there.
Like so many people, I love to travel with my two dogs (Dixie and her sidekick, The Bug). Our first Golden Retriever, Samantha, hated riding in the car. Dixie tolerates it and The Bug hangs out the window giddy with excitement the whole time (she can tolerate speeds up to 40 mph). In fact, The Bug goes everywhere with me. She loves a trip to Walmart. She thinks hanging out in the Lowes parking lot is a blast and I will save the incident at the bank yesterday for another day. Hint: they were out of dog biscuits.
No matter where we stay, I try and learn something new about this crazy profession of innkeeping. There are lessons to be learned at every type of lodging establishment. Just because I run a B&B, doesn’t mean that hotels don’t have a few hints and tricks to show me.
This trip, we stayed at a famous hotel in downtown Hot Springs that claimed to be pet friendly. I say they claimed to be pet friendly because they were not that pet “friendly”. What I learned is that just because you accept your guest’s pets doesn’t mean you are pet friendly.
When we checked in, we received a list of dog rules that we had to sign and agree to for our visit. Some made sense such as you have to pick up after your pet. We have this very same rule here at the Carriage House Bed & Breakfast and try and help our guests by providing complimentary waste bags. I left Dixie’s and The Bug’s poop bags at home by mistake. It was like pulling teeth at the hotel to get them to let me have some trash bags to use. We ended up at a pet store and buying some to use during our stay.
Others seemed a little strict like you can not leave your pet in their room unattended for any amount of time. I understand this rule. We struggle with this at our B&B but feel our guests know their dogs better then we do. Our guests know what there dogs can endure and would not let their dogs or another guest get uncomfortable. In our case, we brought Dixie’s nest and The Bugs crate so that they had their beds with them in the room. We wanted the girls to be comfortable and feel secure in this strange place. This rule made it very hard for us to enjoy our vacation. How do we go out to dinner if we can not leave the girls alone in our hotel room?
In case you are not aware, our innkeeping trade organization, the Professional Association of Innkeepers or PAII (pronounced pie -how can you not love a group whose name is a dessert) has been running a marketing campaign this year called A Better Way to Stay. This campaign’s focus is to show the traveling public that there are places better than a hotel. That a Bed & Breakfast or Inn is often times the Better Way to Stay. One of the things that makes the Carriage House B&B a Better Way to Stay is that we don’t just accept pets. We are pet friendly.
Here at the Carriage House Bed & Breakfast, we want ALL of our guests to feel welcome. We have room packages that are designed to help our two legged guests unwind and get romantic such as the Naughty and Nice package and the Love and Devotion package. These two people packages help our two legged guests enhance their Carriage House B&B experience and make their visit at our Bed & Breakfast a Better Way to Stay. We also have a Pampered Pooch package to help our cold wet nose and four legged friends feel comfortable and have a Better Way to Stay. You love a massage. They love a massage. You love a day at the spa. They love a day at the spa. You unwind and decompress. They unwind and decompress. Like I said, it is a Better Way to Stay.
By the way, we did have a blast in Hot Springs! Dixie, The Bug, and I went hiking back in the National Park every day we were there. It was awesome. I have no idea how many miles we went each day but the girls were no problem in the evening. They were exhausted! Dixie, the Golden Retriever, is a bit like an over loaded 18 wheeler. She would have to kick it in low gear to get up the mountains but went into free fall on the way down. The Bug is more like a sports car. She only had one speed…90 mph.