Posted on September 06, 2021
For pet owners, especially families who own dogs, finding suitable vacation accommodation that allows you to bring your furry family member with you can be an exercise in frustration. So we’ve created an overview of pet friendly timeshare resorts so timeshare owners and guests can have a starting point from which to work.
My wife and I have owned dogs going back to 1998, so I understand what it’s like to look for pet-friendly accommodation. Finding websites showing these resorts is the easy part. The problem is that many of these sites are just plain wrong with their information.
This is a bigger deal for the hospitality industry than many people think. According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association, about 70 percent of American households, or approximately 90 million families, own a pet. Dog owners alone make up 69 million households, with nearly $104billon spent on our pets last year. That’s billion with a “B”.
If your choice comes down to whether or not a resort allows dogs, then resorts can be losing big money by not letting dogs onto their property.
Hotels have come a long way with adapting policies to allow dogs. However, for the most part the timeshare industry has not followed suit.
Keep in mind that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires hotels and resorts to allow trained service animals onto their properties. This does not equally apply to emotional support animals since ESAs are not generally trained to support people with specific disabilities.
If you decide to bring your dog to a resort under either of these categories, you’ll want to brush up on the ADA requirements so you know your rights when heading to your resort.
Timeshare resorts fall under the ADA requirements and all of the major brands have allowances for service animals onto their properties. What is surprising is the discrepancy between hotels and timeshare resorts when it comes to letting non-service animals into their facilities.
Maybe it is because of the nature of timeshare ownership, i.e., the resorts know you’re already committed so they don’t need to use it as an incentive to get you to come and stay. But most major timeshare brands do not allow pets apart from the ADA requirements.
I was so surprised that I did a search of the branded websites to check it out and found that of the major brands in the U.S., only Westgate Resorts allows pets across their timeshare resorts, with the exception of Harbour Beach Resort. Nearly all of the other brands have a no pet policy.
There are some exceptions, as some brands allow dogs at a few resorts within their networks:
1) Westgate Resorts – as stated above, they welcome pets at almost all of the resorts in their network so we put them at the top of the list.
2) Capital Vacations – this is a tricky one since Capital doesn’t have an overall pet policy and seems to leave it up to the individual resorts. Capital took over the former SPM and Defender Resorts in 2016 and these resorts are governed individually. Some of the SPM resorts previously allowed pets, while the Defender resorts did not. Best to check with your resort of choice directly to make sure about their pet policy.
3) Diamond Resorts – due to their international affiliations, you’ll find some overseas resorts that allow pets. However, it appears that many of the U.S.-based resorts do not allow them. You’ll see one exception below so best to check with individual resorts just to make sure, in case you have one in mind that you want to stay in for a vacation.
Remember that Diamond has been bought by Hilton Grand Vacations and HGV doesn’t allow pets so that could affect the Diamond pet policy.
4) Disney Vacation Club – none of the DVC resorts allow pets, but there are four hotels within the Disney network that do allow dogs on designated floors or units. They are Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort.
5) Grand Pacific Resorts – according to Grand Pacific staff, dogs are allowed at Tahoe Sands (in Tahoe Vista on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore) and Indian Palms Vacation Club (near Palm Desert, California).
6) Shell Vacations Club – there is no explicit pet policy so best to check with the individual resort just to make sure. But keep in mind that Shell is owned by Wyndham, and Wyndham has a no pet policy at their timeshare resorts.
If you don’t see your timeshare brand listed above, contact them directly for pet policy details but presume that they have a no pet policy.
So, here’s one possible work-around to the no pet policies. Many of the timeshare brands are affiliated with larger hotel brands and share loyalty points programs. Some also allow you to use your timeshare points to stay in affiliated hotels.
Hilton is one, as Hilton timeshare points can be used in the Hilton Honors program to stay in Hilton hotels. Check your timeshare ownership to see if you can apply your points to stay in a hotel in your brand’s network, then find a hotel that allows pets.
Also – exchange programs can be an option if you bank your timeshare or points with them. See if you can find a hotel or resort in their system that allows dogs and you could exchange your ownership to stay in that resort. Remember that not all resorts in an exchange network are timeshare resorts, so you may be able to make the swap and bring your dog with you.
The good news for dog lovers is that there are some pet friendly timeshares out there, but most are independent or considered legacy resorts. You may want to check with your exchange provider to see if they have any suggestions.
Here are a few:
If the resort suggestions above don’t meet your vacation needs, let one of our licensed agents do the searching for you. Just click here or call 877-624-6889 and we’ll be happy to help.