Richmond couple’s warning to travellers with pet allergies

DJ Hutt and Trish Paez-Hutt say hotels need to keep allergic travellers in mind when crafting pet-friendly policies.

A Richmond couple is warning others with pet allergies to take extra precautions when travelling after one of them spent a Whistler getaway struggling to breathe.

DJ Hutt and Trish Paez-Hutt treated themselves to a weekend away at the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa in November 2018. But the mini-holiday went downhill quickly when Hutt’s severe pet allergy flared up in the hotel room.

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“For me, when the allergies go off I can’t breathe,” he said. “It’s not just a runny nose or itchy eyes.”

He’s dealt with the allergy all his life, and carries a puffer for it.

The couple ticked the “no pets” option when booking the room online, but suspected a family with a pet had recently checked out of their room.

whistler olympics
Whistler mountains. Photo by Cheryl Oakes/Flickr.

When Paez-Hutt phoned the front desk, she said staff informed her they do a deep-clean after having guests with pets and that things should be fine. They also told her that all the hotel’s rooms were pet friendly.

Hutt said he supports hotels offering pet-friendly rooms. But the couple is asking for hotels to book pets in certain rooms, and keep other rooms pet-free for travellers with allergies.

“Have designated rooms,” Hutt said. “Like, there’s pet friendly rooms and then there’s human friendly rooms.”

Aneesh Sodhi, general manager of the Hilton Whistler, confirmed all rooms on the property welcome pets and said they keep a record of which rooms animals stay in.

He said the hotel is happy to arrange a room that hasn’t had an animal in it recently for guests that are sensitive, but that staff need to know in advance. He recommended phoning at least a day before arrival, which he said Hutt and Paez-Hutt did not do.

“We do everything we can in our control to give them the best experience possible,” he said. “The more we know, the better it is for you.”

The couple said they didn’t see on the Hilton’s website when booking that all rooms were pet friendly, and would have stayed somewhere else if they had known.

One hotel in Richmond that is proud of its pet friendly services said it’s equally important to keep travellers with allergies in mind.

Ann Merenda, manager of revenue for the River Rock Casino hotel, said her hotel also records which rooms guests with pets check into. Then, they try to keep using those rooms for future guests with pets.

“It’s important we take care of all our guests,” she said.

As for Hutt and Paez-Hutt, they’ll be calling ahead in future to check a hotel’s pet policy.


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