When Snow, a 5-year-old German Shepherd-Huskie mix (hence the name), checked into the Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis, a plush dog bed awaited her, along with bowls filled water and food, and, for the discriminating dog — which she is — a scarf to tie around her neck bearing the hotel's name.
After all, what well-groomed canine doesn’t want the world to know where she is staying?
Pet-friendly places abound in Indianapolis, says Nate Swick, communications coordinator for Visit Indy, who offered a long list of restaurants and hotels that cater to pets, including The Alexander Hotel and The Omni Severin Hotel, which, like the Conrad, are located downtown.
Of course, Snow and other pets don’t want to just hang in their room but also want to get out and see the sights.
The 33 Wisemen in Broad Ripple has a dog-friendly patio plus a menu with dog food from Three Dog Bakery — a local establishment.
Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee is 100 percent pet-friendly both inside and out, and West Fork Whiskey, where all the spirits are 100 percent distilled from Indiana grain, is dog-friendly inside.
Also on the pet-friendly list are Shoefly Public House with its massive lawn adjacent to the building with picnic tables and table service. Metazoa Brewery donates 5 percent of its profits to animal and wildlife organizations, has a massive dog park and one of the best views of the Indy skyline from the patio.
There’s a caveat, though, when it comes to pet-friendly. It is indeed a dog’s world, and pooches seem to have the most options when traveling with their owners.
However, “Conrad allows all sorts of pets,” Swick says of his hotel. “We’ve even seen birds here. Metazoa, the brewery, allows cats, too — as they have one of their own.”
West Baden and French Lick
Elsewhere, a dog could get spoiled at West Baden Springs Hotel in West Baden Springs, the beautiful restored resort that first opened in the early 1900s.
Not only do they get to luxuriate indoors with some rooms overlooking the 200-foot-diameter atrium and a fireplace that burns 14-foot logs and ordering off the pet menu, but there also are great walking trails connecting West Baden Springs Hotel to the equally magnificent French Lick Springs Hotel, in French Lick, which also is pet-friendly.
All pet-friendly hotel rooms have rules, though. At West Baden and French Lick, only dogs 75 pounds or less and de-clawed cats are allowed, and the maximum number of pets to a room is limited to two. Pets must be on a leash or in carrier when in common/public areas and kept in a crate when left unattended in the room. Also, there’s a $75 nonrefundable deposit.
“Wilstem Ranch is pet friendly as well," as are the French Lick Cabins at Patoka Lake Village, says Kristal Painter, executive director at Visit French Lick West Baden, noting the ranch offers up-close animal encounters available on site, as well as horseback riding, ATV adventure tours and zip-line tours.
The unique Sleeping Bear Retreat with its tepee campground also is pet-friendly, as are Comfort Suites and Legend of French Lick, Painter says.
Ohio River area
In historic Rising Sun on the Ohio River, the Empire Hotel allows three pets of any size for no additional fee. Both dogs and cats are welcome, and additional pets may be allowed by request.
Tuggles Folly Bed & Breakfast sits on 15 acres overlooking the Ohio River, and Anderson's Riviera Inn, located next to the Grand Victoria Casino and situated on the Ohio River, are both pet-friendly as well.
“If you ever get hungry in Fort Wayne, there are quite a few restaurants that accommodate pets in their outdoor seating areas,” says Kristen Guthrie, vice president of marketing and communications for Visit Fort Wayne.
“The Dash-In on South Calhoun Street has tables on their patio, which allows you to enjoy a nice pint or meal while your pet lays at your feet. Mad Anthony's Brewing Co. and Trubble Brewing also have very large and accepting patio areas and will even provide water for your pooch while you enjoy some of their handcrafted, locally brewed beers and food.”
Dogs, cats, lizards, birds — and even hogs — are among the many pets accepted at Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham in Fort Wayne, though there’s an extra charge for room cleaning.
Hilton Fort Wayne at the Grand Wayne Center in the downtown features kennels, beds and bowls and is within walking distance to local attractions and restaurants and is just a 15-minute walk to Headwaters Park.
Both hotels charge a $75 pet cleaning fee. Pets are welcome at the Ramada Plaza Fort Wayne Hotel & Conference Center. And there’s no extra charge for two dogs or less at the La Quinta Inn and Suites.
Bloomington and Nashville
As one might expect, Bloomington has a plethora of pet-friendly options. Hyatt Place Bloomington accepts dogs under 50 pounds and charges a $75 non-refundable deposit. Dogs up to 80 pounds can stay at Candlewood Suites for an extra charge as well. The newly opened Graduate Bloomington Hotel right near the Indiana University campus also welcomes pets.
Restaurants welcoming animals include the venerable Nick’s English Hut, which opened in 1927, and Farm, where James Beard Foundation semifinalist for 2015 Daniel Orr is the executive chef. The Tap, with 400 beers to choose from, has lots of outdoor patio seating for animals, and you can lounge outside and eat artisan candies at BLU Boy Chocolate.
Farther afield in Nashville, the Abe Martin Lodge in Brown County State Park is open to pets, as is the Story Inn. There’s porch seating available for pooches at the Farm House Café and Tearoom, a few miles outside of Nashville.
The Hotel Indigo Columbus Architectural Center in nearby Columbus accepts two pets weighing up to 80 pounds for an additional of $35 per stay. Be sure to bring their vaccination records, which are required at check in. Well-behaved pets can be left unattended for short periods of time.
In the historic downtown, Tre Bicchieri Italian Restaurant has outdoor seating for pets, and the local Starbucks serves free puppuccinos — an espresso-shot-sized paper cup full of whipped cream — just for dogs. Sorry, cats.
If you’re looking for more options, Bring Fido is a great website for finding information on pet-friendly hotels and restaurants throughout the United States. It also rates each one according to customer surveys. Just type in the location of your destination. Ratings are in bones; bringfido.com