Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pet owners find more hotel doors open during aftermath

Rex is one of about 100 pets staying at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. KATHERINE SNOW SMITH / Times

Rex is one of about 100 pets staying at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. KATHERINE SNOW SMITH / Times

A greyhound named Rex strolled down the wide front steps of the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club early Thursday morning. Not far behind him came Greta, a German shepherd. The calm canines were just two of the many pets staying at the 91-year-old luxury hotel.

General manager Barbara Readey estimated 100 or more animals have checked into the historic landmark, which normally only allows service animals, since it reopened Wednesday after losing power during Hurricane Irma.

Chains such as La Quinta Inns & Suites and Days Inn are known for welcoming pets at all times at almost all locations, but a random check of 25 local hotels and motels found 10 waived no-pet policies or pet fees during and after Hurricane Irma.

"On Friday last week we probably had close to 50 pets running around the hotel, and we're a small hotel, 137 rooms," said Kevin Scott, general manager of the Epicurean Hotel in South Tampa. It normally doesn't allow animals. "We wanted to do the right thing for people already stressed to their max. We've seen everything from chihuahuas to a bull mastiff. My sister was here with a 110-pound Native American Indian dog that looks like the direwolves on Game of Thrones."

The Watergarden Inn at the Bay in downtown St. Petersburg welcomed guests with pets when it reopened Monday.

"We previously didn't allow pets. We felt compelled to ensure that everybody is safe and comfortable throughout this whole thing," said manager Julie Will.

The Postcard Inn at St. Pete Beach typically allows pets but is waiving the $75 fee it charges for guests.

After three days without power, Christina Hostetter began calling hotels Wednesday and found most would charge $75 to $100 if she brought Greta, the family's German shepherd. So she made plans to leave the dog with friends who had power and check into the Vinoy with her husband and two daughters.

"We pulled into the Vinoy we saw a half a dozen dogs coming in and out of the hotel. I didn't know when I booked it that I could bring her," she said. "It's one less thing for me and Greta to have to stress about. She's seen us packing and unpacking and she's been miserably hot."

Pet owners find more hotel doors open during aftermath 09/14/17 [Last modified: Friday, September 15, 2017 9:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Canterbury head of school to step down as board 'works to regain trust'


    Mac Hall, the head of school for Canterbury School of Florida in St. Petersburg, will step down from his role of 13 years at the end of the school year.

    Canterbury School of Florida's graduating class of 2010 walks towards St. Peter's Episcopal Church before their ceremony in downtown St. Petersburg. Their head of school, Mac Hall, will not return to the school next year.
  2. Bucs snapper Garrison Sanborn looking forward to return to Bills


    Throughout his eight seasons with the Bills, whenever former players would come to Buffalo for a game, Garrison Sanborn remembers the place to take them for a reunion dinner was a popular Italian …

    Garrison Sanborn enjoyed just one winning season in eight years in Buffalo. [AP photo]
  3. Tampa moves to put freed slave Fortune Taylor's name back on historic bridge


    TAMPA — City Hall has agreed to return a long-lost honor to the memory of Fortune Taylor, a freed slave who amassed more than 30 acres near downtown Tampa after the Civil War.

    The Laurel Street Bridge over the Hillsborough River was once known as the Fortune Street Bridge in honor of Madam Fortune Taylor, a former slave and businesswoman who amassed 33 acres on the east bank of the Hillsborough River after the Civil War. The City Council voted Thursday to put Taylor's name on signs posted at the foot of the bridge and seek a historical marker telling her story. SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times (2016)

  4. Bucs' Mike Evans, Bills cornerback E.J. Gaines could face off again


    Bucs receiver Mike Evans has gone up against four Pro Bowl cornerbacks in five games, and on Sunday he could be lining up against a corner he has a history with in Buffalo's E.J. Gaines.

  5. Tie in Clearwater downtown development board election causes runoff

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — The Oct. 10 Downtown Development Board election for three open seats did not result in the historic dynamic it had the potential to create.