Santa Paws: Kimpton Hotels offer free holiday pet portraits

Here comes Santa Paws! Take your four-legged friend to your nearest Kimpton Hotel on Saturday, December 11 and Sunday, December 12, 2010 for a gratis holiday portrait session and refreshments. Human companions are invited to bring their cameras to host Kimpton hotels to snap pictures of their pets with Santa amid festive decor while furry friends enjoy treats and toys in the hotel’s living room-style lobby.

“Santa Paws is bringing holiday cheer to our two- and four-legged guests and neighbors,” said Niki Leondakis, Kimpton’s president and chief operating officer. “Pet patrons always receive special pampering at Kimpton, which is why we want to offer them this special way to celebrate the season.”

In addition to providing a fun afternoon activity for pets and their owners, Santa Paws is also helping host hotels partner with local animal rescue organizations around the country. These partnerships include the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals, Washington Humane Society, Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Baltimore SPCA, Operation Kindness, Humane Society of Vero Beach and River County, PAWS Atlanta, Aspen Animal Shelter and Aspen Valley Horse Rescue, Ginger’s Pet Rescue, Oregon Humane Society and San Francisco SPCA.

Santa Paws will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in select hotel lobbies (see the full list below).

Participating hotels include: Alexis Hotel (Seattle, WA); Cypress Hotel (Cupertino, CA); EPIC Hotel (Miami, FL); Eventi Hotel (New York, NY); FireSky Resort & Spa (Scottsdale, AZ); Hotel Allegro (Chicago, IL); Hotel Marlowe (Cambridge, MA); Hotel Monaco (Alexandria, VA); Hotel Monaco (Baltimore, MD); Hotel Monaco (Washington, DC); Hotel Monaco (Denver, CO); Hotel Monaco (Portland, OR); Hotel Monaco (Salt Lake City, UT); Hotel Palomar (Atlanta, GA); Hotel Palomar (Dallas, TX); Hotel Palomar (Philadelphia, PA); Hotel Palomar (Westwood, CA); Hotel Solamar (San Diego, CA); Sir Francis Drake Hotel (San Francisco, CA); Sky Hotel (Aspen, CO); The Muse (New York, NY) and Vero Beach Hotel & Spa (Vero Beach, FL).

Owners will need to bring cameras to capture a photo of their pet in Santa’s lap. Best of all – this event is free!

Guaranteed on Board program gives pet owners peace of mind

Passengers flying with their pets have always had a rough time navigating the tricky rules surrounding pet carriers. And many have been frustrated to find that carriers that they thought were approved for travel in the plane’s cabin were deemed unsuitable by gate agents. When that happens, many pet owners find themselves out of luck – unable to board the plane, but not eligible for a refund on the flight.

To help, the Sherpa pet carrier company has teamed up with eight pet-friendly airlines to offer the “Guaranteed on Board” program, a sort of insurance policy for those traveling with their pets. The GOB website details the sizes and types of carriers allowed on each airline. Passengers who purchase an approved carrier can go online to register it (after making arrangements to bring the pet on board directly with the airline they are flying) print out the Guaranteed on Board certificate and bring it with them to the airport. If they are then refused boarding by an airline official due to the carrier, the program will reimburse them for the cost of the missed flight.

Airlines participating in the program include American, Midwest AirTran, Continental, Northwest, Delta, Southwest, and Alaska. American and Delta have even designed their own bags, which they sell on the Sherpa website. If your pet can’t fly on its own airline, at least you can have some assurance that your carrier will be up to spec, or you’ll get your money back for being bumped off a flight.

Gadling TAKE FIVE: Week of May 16–May 22

It’s been a week already since a bulk of Gadling writers descended upon Chicago. Now that Memorial Day weekend is upon us as a kick off to the summer, we’ve been gearing up to give you some tools for the road and ideas of where to head.

  • Sean, our newest Gadling blogger has graced us with a post on Oxford, England’s Pitt Rivers Museum. After it year of remodeling, the museum has reopened. Check out the gallery he’s included and details about the shrunken heads. The post is part of a new series Museum Junkie.
  • For anyone who has traveled with a pet, particularly a canine, finding a hotel that is happy to have Fido can be problematic. Annie’s post on the top five pet friendly budget hotel chains is a handy guide. I can vouch for La Quinta Inns, one of the suggestions. Staying there with our dog this past December was a breeze and it didn’t cost us one dime more.
  • Kraig, an adventurer to the max has been writing posts about his travels to the Amazon. The one on Iquitos, Peru covers what makes this region of the world so spectacular and is a starting off point for finding out what he discovered.
  • If you’re a “where did the film this scene?” kind of person, there’s a map designed just for you. Scott’s post on Where It’s At, a web site focused on pop culture landmarks is interactive. People can add the landmarks they know to help it grow.
  • As part of our budget summer travel series, Brenda suggests a trip to Molokai from Honolulu. It sounds simply fabulous.