A Dog’s Vacation. Filming Locations for the Hit Movie Hotel for Dogs

Hotel for Dogs is a 2009 American family comedy film directed by Thor Freudenthal. It is based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. The film tells the story of two orphaned siblings named Andi and Bruce who, along with their dog Friday, secretly take in stray dogs at an abandoned hotel. When the novel was adapted into a film in 2009, it starred Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin as Andi and Bruce, as well as a cast of talented animal actors. Hotel for Dogs was released on January 16, 2009 by DreamWorks and Nickelodeon Movies.

Plot Summary

Hotel for Dogs is a 2009 American family comedy film based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. The film follows two orphans, Andi and Bruce, who secretly take in stray dogs at an abandoned hotel after their latest foster parents prove unable to handle them.

The orphans gather neighborhood dogs and a crew of their friends to refurbish the old hotel into a warm, stylish dog-friendly establishment. However, the hotel attracts the attention of a sanitation officer, who comes close to discovering the secret dog hotel. In the end, a wealthy philanthropist helps the kids purchase the hotel, allowing it to officially open for business as a refuge for stray dogs.


Hotel for Dogs was released in 2009. The film was directed by Thor Freudenthal and written by Jeff Lowell, based on the 1971 novel by Lois Duncan. It was produced by DreamWorks Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.

The film stars Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillon and Don Cheadle. Roberts and Austin play Andi and Bruce, siblings who secretly take in strays at an abandoned hotel after their new guardians ban pets from their home.

Hotel for Dogs boasted an accomplished production team. Director Freudenthal previously worked as a story artist at DreamWorks Animation on films like The Road to El Dorado. Meanwhile, writer Lowell penned the script for Disney’s Over the Hedge.

Filming Locations

Hotel for Dogs was primarily filmed in Los Angeles, California. According to the IMDb locations page, principal photography took place at the following spots around LA:

  • The apartment building used as Andi and Bruce’s home is located at 620 S. Virgil Avenue in Koreatown.
  • koreatown apartment building filming location

  • Scenes at Camp Bow Wow were filmed at the Hansen Dam Dog Park.
  • The Griffith Park Carousel was used for scenes of Andi and Bruce taking the dogs to the fair.
  • The old Linda Vista Hospital stood in for the animal shelter exterior.

Other filming locations included Pasadena for various neighborhood shots, as well as some shots around the LA River. The crew also filmed at Warner Ranch in Burbank. Overall, the movie showcases dogs and kids having adventures around the city of Los Angeles.

various la neighborhoods used for filming


The main cast of Hotel for Dogs includes:

  • Emma Roberts as Andi
  • Jake T. Austin as Bruce
  • Kyla Pratt as Heather
  • Lisa Kudrow as Lois Scudder
  • lisa kudrow as lois scudder

  • Kevin Dillon as Bernie Wilkins
  • Don Cheadle as Officer Carl

Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin play the lead roles of Andi and Bruce, two orphaned siblings who secretly take in stray dogs at an abandoned hotel. Kyla Pratt plays their friend Heather who helps them care for the dogs. Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon play humorous supporting roles as the bumbling dog catchers trying to find the kids’ secret dog hotel. Don Cheadle plays the police officer investigating the case.

The young actors Roberts, Austin, and Pratt were praised for their performances and comedic chemistry in what was considered a family-friendly and heartwarming film. More established actors like Kudrow, Dillon, and Cheadle rounded out the cast.

Interesting Facts

According to IMDB trivia, nearly 70 dogs were used for the making of Hotel for Dogs, many of which were rescued from animal shelters. Several of the dogs were even adopted by crew members after filming completed.

The film’s director, Thor Freudenthal, revealed in an interview with HowStuffWorks that Hotel for Dogs was largely shot in downtown Los Angeles, standing in for an unnamed east coast city. Freudenthal said, “I wanted it to feel not clearly defined. It’s a mythical city where Dogs live.”

director discusses filming locations

Wikipedia reveals that the film’s two main dog characters, Friday and Georgia, were played by ten different dogs combined. The roles were split up to capture all the specific behaviors and tricks required for the film. The dogs who played Friday were referred to as the “Fridays.”

Critical Reception

Hotel for Dogs received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 54% approval rating based on 110 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site’s critical consensus states, “Hotel for Dogs delivers warm messages about generosity and sticking with seemingly impossible goals. There are worse ways to spend a winter afternoon than with this earnest puppy tale.”

Among the positive reviews, Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4, calling it “a sweet, innocent family movie.” On the negative side, Claudia Puig of USA Today wrote that the film “lacks imaginative writing and convincing acting.”

While the critical response was mixed, audiences seemed to enjoy the film much more. On Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score is 61%. On IMDb, Hotel for Dogs has a 5.4/10 rating based on over 45,000 user votes. Overall, the family film found an audience with younger viewers, even if critics were more divided.

Box Office Performance

Hotel for Dogs was a box office success, grossing $117 million dollars worldwide against a $35 million budget according to Box Office Mojo. It opened at number 3 at the U.S. box office in its opening weekend grossing over $17 million. The film went on to earn over $73 million in the domestic box office and over $44 million internationally for a worldwide total of $117,000,128. This made Hotel for Dogs one of Nickelodeon Movies’ highest grossing films.


Hotel for Dogs continues to hold significance as a beloved family comedy over a decade after its release. The film has retained a strong fanbase of viewers who were children when it premiered in 2009. Its story of orphaned siblings finding a home for stray dogs and transforming a hotel into their secret canine sanctuary resonated with audiences. Kids especially connected with the charming adventures of Andi, Bruce, and all the dogs.

The movie presented positive themes about compassion for animals, ingenuity, and resilience. Though not a critical success, its heartwarming premise earned devoted fans and spawned a sequel film in 2011 titled Hotel for Dogs 2. While the sequel did not live up to the original, the franchise remains popular on services like Netflix for family movie nights. The lighthearted story and memorable canine cast help Hotel for Dogs endure as a family-friendly comedy that continues to delight viewers.


Hotel for Dogs is a heartwarming family comedy film that follows two orphaned siblings who secretly take in stray dogs at an abandoned hotel. With an all-star cast including Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin, it’s an entertaining movie for both kids and adults. Filmed on location in Los Angeles, the movie features the iconic Hotel Barclay and other LA landmarks. While it received mixed reviews upon its initial release, Hotel for Dogs has gone on to become a modern children’s classic with its charming story, loveable dog characters, and messages about family, friendship, and compassion. Ultimately, Hotel for Dogs is a feel-good film that reminds us to open our hearts to animals in need.

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