Why luxury hotels are rolling out the red carpet for your dog

Taking your puppy on vacation can be cheaper than paying for a kennel – Anastasiia Cherniavskaia/iStockphoto

Four-poster dog beds, personalized tasting menus, puppacinos for breakfast – hotels are pleasing the Paw Patrol more than ever. But while Britain has long been a dog-loving nation, aren’t we going too far?

After all, not everyone is a fan of the hotel’s four-legged guest. Telegraph reader Penny Entecott from Middleton-on-Sea in West Sussex saw her mini-break with her husband ruined by wet dogs, spoiled dogs and marauding strays.

‘SIR – My husband and I recently stayed in a hotel for a three-night vacation. Sitting at the bar waiting for our room to be ready, we gasped in amazement when a couple walked into the lobby with two wet dogs (Letters, January 10) and headed straight to their room. We counted 12 other dogs that arrived with their owners. Dogs were not allowed in the main restaurant, but were allowed in the bar area, where food was served throughout the day. At one point, a pampered dog was in a chair across from his owner eating from a plate.

“The best part was when one dog in the restaurant took offense at another and a fight ensued, with both owners cooing to their dogs to calm down. Apart from the hygiene issue, the noise and smell spoiled the atmosphere for us. Checking the dog policy is now high on our list when booking hotels.’

However, Penny and her husband might be in the minority. With almost a third of UK households owning a dog (there are more than 12 million stray dogs) and 56 per cent of dog owners choosing to travel with their pets, more and more hotels are jumping on the accept dogs. According to Euromonitor International’s global travel market trends report, pet-friendly hotels could increase revenue by 30 percent a year, a figure not to be underestimated. The “pound of game” is estimated to be worth almost £10bn a year.

Puppy love or no dogs allowed?  It is the big question for hoteliersPuppy love or no dogs allowed?  It is the big question for hoteliers

Puppy love or no dogs allowed? It’s the big question for hotel owners – GK Hart/Vikki Hart/Getty

“There is no doubt that dog-friendly hotels are a big draw for guests, especially in rural and coastal areas where families are looking for breaks within the UK,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, the leading trade body. hospitality.

“Hotels want to make sure they can serve as many people as possible and allowing dogs can play a big role in that. “We always encourage guests to speak to hotel staff to discuss any concerns they may have, as feedback and dialogue are essential for businesses to provide the best possible experience.”

“We have always been pet-friendly at The Lanesborough,” says Stuart Geddes, general manager of the Knightsbridge luxury hotel. “We have regular guests who travel with their dogs and our team gives them a special welcome. In addition to our 24/7 butler service for all rooms and suites, we offer dog sitting and walking services, a dog-friendly menu, as well as personalized dishes and treats.”

Hotels like The Lanesborough offer a special menu for dogs.Hotels like The Lanesborough offer a special menu for dogs.

Hotels like The Lanesborough offer a special menu for dogs – IRYNA KAZLOVA/iStockphoto

During the Covid recovery, London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel focused on becoming a leisure hotel rather than a business property. “Given our location next to Hyde Park, allowing pets was an obvious decision and has been a great success,” says Alexander Henskens, hotel manager. “We have special floors for dogs and for hygiene reasons – and to respect the dining experiences of other guests – pets are not allowed in our restaurants. We have experienced little to no damage to any of our rooms or any inconvenience to other guests, as typically the dogs that visit us are used to travelling, well trained and well behaved.”

The cost of living crisis is also having an effect. When you add the cost of kennels or dog sitters, it may be a no-brainer to take your fur babies on vacation, too. “Having some dog-friendly apartments has really benefited us,” says Assumpta McDonald, general manager of Hyatt House Manchester. “For many owners, pets are part of the family and we would be alienating a large percentage of the population if we did not allow them. And while they don’t have free rein in public areas or indoor dining spaces, we welcome dogs with open arms and, in our experience, our guests do too.”

The Kennel Club’s ‘Open for Dogs’ survey showed that one in three dog owners are more likely to go on holiday if places are dog-friendly and a quarter of dog owners have canceled plans because they were worried about leaving their dogs. at home.

“Dogs make people happy. In fact, there are more Kennel Club statistics showing that other guests feel elevated and happier in a pub, restaurant or hotel when dogs are allowed,” says Lottie Gross, author of Dog-Friendly Weekends and Dog Days Out . “However, some guests are uncomfortable around dogs or have allergies or phobias, which can make having dogs on your premises a little more complicated. There has to be a middle ground with designated non-dog areas and rooms. Ultimately, dog owners are a great asset to hotels, but it is equally important that non-dog-owning guests feel welcome and safe too.”

But not all hotels are jumping on the surprise bandwagon. “While we absolutely love dogs (our CEO has three), we do not allow dogs to stay at Z Hotels, only assistance dogs,” says Gill Newsome, commercial director. “As a compact luxury brand, we simply don’t have the space.”

The Woolacombe Bay Hotel in North Devon is just a short walk from a dog-friendly beach; However, after an initial trial as a dog-friendly hotel, the owners decided against the idea. “The owners paid close attention and were uncomfortable with the impact that a few dogs had on their non-dog guests, and they are proud to have made the decision,” says Helen Laing, a hotel marketing consultant who works with the hotel. .

Dogs are still welcome in its self-catering accommodation and part of its beachside brasserie, but not inside the hotel. “They get a lot of complaints about this, but the owners have stood their ground, they don’t believe they can offer the luxury experience their regular guests expect with dogs around.”

In short, more and more hotels are installing red artificial grass for our four-legged friends. Offering everything from walks and grooming services to doggy afternoon tea, welcoming dogs can generate a whole new source of income for your hotel. Sorry Penny, it seems like dog friendly hotels are here to sit and stay.

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