Animals first: Humans allowed in this hotel designed for pets

Jan 20, 2020

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If you count a dog or cat as a family member, you’ve no doubt spent a night or two in a pet-friendly hotel, like at a Kimpton that does such a great job welcoming four-legged friends. But, have you ever booked a stay at a hotel that was designed for your pet first and foremost and you — the human — come next? Enter Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile in southern Utah.

If you’ve wanted to visit some of the Southwestern United States’ most spectacular natural wonders with your dog in tow, Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile is the place to stay with your fur friends. The new hotel is near the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks in addition to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

Located in Kanab, Utah, the hotel is also just five miles south of the famed Best Friends Animal Sanctuary that takes in orphaned and stray animals and gives them a safe home-between-homes before they are adopted. Nearly 1,600 animals — cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, horses, goats, pigs and more — live at the refuge right now, spread across sections like Dogtown, Cat World and Horse Haven. Tours and volunteer opportunities are available at the sanctuary.

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But, this pet-centric hotel has been so well-designed for dogs and cats, you may have a hard time leaving the property for sightseeing. The complex has 40 rooms and suites, a fenced dog park, dog splash zone, washing station and a general store. A for-fee pet walking service is also available.

When booking, you can pick from a standard room, king suite or even a two-level suite, which sleeps eight humans. All rooms can accommodate up to four animals. Extra care was put into designing the rooms with pets in mind. For example, the hotel points out that its entry foyers were designed with “ninja door dashers” in mind. The layout helps keep your pets safe and in the room while you come and go.

Pets also have their own beds — on a neat slide-out platform from their human’s bed — or sleeping nooks.

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Photo courtesy of

While there’s no hotel loyalty program, lodging comes with a few nice perks like complimentary continental breakfast, Wi-Fi, shuttle transportation to the Best Friends Welcome Center at the sanctuary and self-serve pet washing and laundry facilities.

And, if you didn’t bring your pet along for the trip, you can “borrow” one from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and bring him or her back to the Roadhouse for a sleepover. Or, conversely, if you have an allergy to animal fur, the hotel has you covered with an allergen-free room for those that can’t travel with animals.

The complex also has an on-site Mercantile building. Head there for complimentary breakfast, and pick up some food and snacks while you’re there. Everything they serve is vegan and supports a plant-based diet. You’ll also find sundries, pet necessities that you may have forgotten and branded souvenirs.

Even more enticing than all of the amenities and special touches for dogs and cats, staying at Best Friends Roadhouse contributes to the goals of the Best Friends Animal Society. Staying here is good for you and for thousands of animals that are served by the organization. It’s working to make kill shelters a thing of the past in the United States by 2025. Staying at the Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile is just one way to help make that cause a reality.

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