By Ellen Hardy December 2 2015
Are dogs taking over the world? As of 2015, our canine companions can date, vote, job share and even follow architectural trends. In London, a city where some humans will consider paying to sleep in a tent in someone’s living room, others happily shell out for doga and designer dog wear. Surely it’s only a matter of time before a pup ends up Prime Minister.
So it’s perhaps no surprise that dog-friendly holidays are fast becoming big business. But in the interests of good doggie karma, just how much can you pamper your pooch? I enlisted the help of Selkie, my spritely young Border Collie, and PetsPyjamas, a luxury east London-based pet lifestyle and travel company, and went to find out.
Not merely purveyors of a hip Pawditch dog outfit range and edible birthday cards, PetsPyjamas launched a travel service in 2014. As well a dog-friendly hotels, the company’s dedicated Pet Concierge (yes, we want that on our business cards too) can build a complete bespoke package including restaurant meals, local dog-friendly activities, visiting groomers, puppy picnic hampers and much more.
For Selkie’s stay, they selected the Belgraves Hotel, a chic boutique affair a bone’s throw from Hyde Park. One look at its velvet sofas and cowhide rugs makes one wonder whether a dog can do more damage than Keith Richards, and sure enough, the £250 damages waiver you sign at Belgraves when checking in your mutt must give even the most dedicated doggie owner paws for thought. However, the hotel staff seemed genuinely delighted by a flighty furball shaking down in their gorgeous lobby and hanging out in their superb restaurant.
Luckily, although Selkie’s vices include chewing things, shredding things and weeing on things, her most rock ‘n’ roll moment involved drinking all of the water from a flower arrangement then throwing it up on the bed (sorry, housekeeping). But otherwise the fabulous suite with its elegant fixtures, plush window seat and divine bathtub survived unscathed. Perhaps the waiting array of bowls, toys and artisanal dog treats in personalised gift boxes put her on best behaviour.
Then there was the dog reiki practitioner (yep, you read correctly) who came to the hotel to give Selkie’s chakras the once-over. With a soothing manner and dedicated belief in the life force flowing through her hands, if nothing else half an hour with Georgiana Monckton put Selkie into a relaxing sleep, if not a higher state of doggy consciousness.
According to the PetsPyjamas CEO, Gracia Amico, people are becoming more and more willing to spend on their pets ‘the kind of money [they] might spend on their children’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there have been a few outlandish requests made of the Concierge service – a lady with five Chihuahuas wanted them all in matching caramel outfits, and a guy made an urgent request for a hotel that would accept his pet ferret.
In the end, the verdict rested with one person – or rather, dog. Did Selkie think a luxury hotel stay, truckloads of treats and a session of spiritual healing was, well, overdoing it? Her adorable furry face, soon to be canine cabinet minister, read clearly: ‘Bitch, please.’