Staying With a Dog at the Hilton Key Largo in Florida USA
My bipeds like to dive. So it was only normal that, after 10 days in Naples Florida they’d want to switch things up and go east and hit so prime scuba locations. They settled on Key Largo because divers agree that it’s pretty darn good diving. By the long evening conversations; the play by play descriptions I got to hear, they were not disappointed in that regard!
Now the things about Staying with a dog at the Hilton Key Largo in Florida USA is that Key Largo is really not … a town. There is no center square, there is no boulevard, no boardwalk, and no public beach and there is no downtown area, there is … nothing; basically if you don’t dive your out of luck. In a nutshell, you have the highway in the center of a strip of land. Lining it on either side you have Key Largo. You have to drive to go anywhere, although they were building a bicycle path when we visited. You can’t leave the hotel to go across the way to get a coffee – nope, you have to get in the car and drive 5 min. No sidewalks … so not pedestrian friendly and as a result, not dog friendly either.
My bipeds chose the Hilton Key Largo based on the fact that it was advertised as pet friendly and had an actual (although tiny and man made) beach. We all checked in, and the bipeds filled out the prerequisite annoying papers that make them swear that they will pay for any damages I may make etc. Mom read the fine print and I could see by her body language she was already getting annoyed. This is why.
According to the rules, I was:
- Not allowed on the beach.
- Not allowed on the patio for drinks.
- Not allowed near the pool (not one of the two available)
- Not allowed to be in the room unattended.
Ummmm “hello??” how does that work? Basically I wasn’t allowed anywhere on the premises (other than hallways) but couldn’t be left alone in the room for them to enjoy the hotel grounds and activities either.
A little chit chat ensued. As long as I was quiet in the room with a “do not disturb sign” so that cleaning staff did not have to “deal” with me … they would look the other way if I was left in the room without supervision. But Mom was still furious. There was no official pet relief area – just the bit of gravel and grass that lined the parking lot; tension was rising. I heard Dad say “so – how exactly is this a pet friendly hotel?” …
The hotels saving grace is the lovely staff. The waiter at the restaurant found a solution so we could all dine together – when he realised that there was no “pet” policy for the lounge and bar area. He brought us menus and we ate there nearly every night. The food was really good, I recommend the fish. It was open to the outside air, we got to enjoy the evening breeze and the smiles from the bar staff who just couldn’t get enough of me! One young lady would even switch her station so she could hang out with us more. How sweet is that?
A young ground keeper also told us: “…you didn’t hear this from me but no one really uses the adult only beach …..” followed by a wink wink and a nudge nudge in my direction. He made sure we had some chairs, a hammock and we basically had a lovely time watching the sunset every night. I honed my sand digging skills on that beach!
Equally amazing and the highlight of the stay was the young woman working at the pool(s). There was hardly ever anyone at the pool, since we were there during off season. She had seen me a few times and when the bipeds arrived the first time “sans moi” she was flabbergasted. “Bring HIM!!” she practically squealed. So Dad went to fetch me. I spent my afternoons lounging under the pool chairs or learning how to swim and she came frequently to hang out with us. Not a single hotel guest minded my presence. The young lady that worked there regaled me with stories of petting and caring for Manatees and brought me cool water on the hour every hour. She brought extra towels to make a little soft fortress for me and keep me “out of sight”. She absolutely rocked!
The only place outside of the hotel that was happy to serve us as a trio – was the Starbucks. But that suited everyone just fine.
The point of this stop was to dive and the bipeds did that every morning, leaving me to sleep quietly in my pen in the room. Around lunch they would return. Shower and we would all go out for lunch at the “bar”. The room would get cleaned while we ate. Then we’d go back, grab our things and head poolside. Evening would come and we’d move to the little beach for our private sunsets. Then freshen up, dinner (either on our room balcony from groceries or back to the bar lounge)… some light reading and sleep. Next day repeat.
The bipeds got to see manatees off the hotel dock. They got to have some absolutely amazing diving. They would add that you can hear the trucks at night if you are not beach side of the hotel so – if you are a light sleeper keep that in mind and upgrade. All and all it was a good time.
In review: Staying with a dog at the Hilton Key Largo in Florida USA is a challenge. The policies are not really dog friendly by our standards – but the staff and employees most certainly are and make up for it. In fact, the employees of the Hilton absolutely “get” what pet friendly service is really all about. Senior management should take note.