As much as I love a seven-star oceanfront suite in Bali or a perfect boutique hotel with 10,000-count sheets, I also have a fondness for the classic American motel thanks to a childhood road trip to Disneyland. The problem is, many of the motels that sit along America's highways look like they haven’t been updated since my family made that long drive from New Jersey to Florida in the '70s.
For several weeks, my wife and I have been driving cross-country with our dog. While we've been fortunate to find small owner-operated inns and B&Bs that accept our mutt, sometimes it's impossible to avoid the chain hotels. (By the way, they don't call themselves "motels" anymore. The hotel and lodging industry officially abandoned the portmanteau of "motoring" and "hotel" in 2000.) The results have been mixed. At a certain dog-friendly national chain in Beaumont, TX, we were greeted by an incompetent and rude front-desk worker. At a different chain hotel in Charleston, WV, our room was way too shabby for the $99 per night price tag.
Luckily, when facing the same line-up of glowing logos off the highway in Lubbock, TX, we chose Red Roof Inn, one of America's stalwart hotel brands. Not only are Red Roofs dog-friendly nationwide, many are undergoing complete overhauls. But even the older properties are holding up. Our room in Lubbock was clean, comfortable and spacious. The hotel itself is a throwback in the best sense: the lima bean-shaped pool sits inside the covered courtyard, just steps away from the koi pond near reception. The adjoining sports bar serves cheap, cold bottles of Shiner Bock, the local favorite.
What's more, we actually saved a few bucks by bringing the dog. Now through April 30, Red Roof is celebrating Pet Owners Day (April 18) with discounted rooms for guests traveling with their dogs. Just refer to code 605422 for a 15% discount when making your reservation or checking in.
Jeff Koyen is a freelance travel and culture writer. Follow him on Twitter: @jeffkoyen.