They say a dog is a man’s best friend, but now they’re shaping up to be the ideal travel companions too.
According to research by Holiday Cottages (www.holidaycottages.co.uk), 90 per cent of dog owners would consider changing their travel plans to accommodate their animal, and 72 per cent said they consider their dogs as family members when booking a holiday.
Even more impressive, a quarter of those surveyed said they would pay the same amount to take their dog on holiday as they would to take another adult.
This growing power of the ‘puppy pound’ is highlighted by an anecdote from the general manager at Italy’s Hotel Splendido in Portofino, who tells the story of a wealthy American couple who spend a month in a suite each year at the hotel with their dog, Lambchop.
On the first night, after flying to Liguria in a private jet so Lambchop could travel in the cabin, rather than the hold, they almost moved out of the hotel when their prize pooch found the bed too high to jump into.
The hotel manager, quickly realising this was business he didn’t want to lose, had a staircase on wheels made for the dog, who’s been back (with his owners) 14 times since, enjoying grooming sessions and even a Swedish massage twice daily (45 euros per session).
Anyone who wants to replicate the experience (perhaps minus the private jet) can do so through Classic Collection (www.classic-collection.co.uk), which offers dog-friendly packages to the same hotel.
Even at the lower end of the market though, hotels and cottages are seeing the potential for accommodating four-legged friends.
The Best Western hotel chain (www.bestwestern.co.uk) now offer dedicated rooms for guests travelling with dogs in a number of their properties, and also proudly claim to have invested in the latest vacuum cleaners designed to cope with pet hairs.
Premier Cottages (www.premiercottages.co.uk) have also noticed a growing demand for taking pets on holiday, and many of the property owners within their portfolio have even compiled details of dog-accommodating pubs and walks in their local areas.
It may sound like an extravagance, but taking a pet on holiday can actually make financial sense.
Research by Holiday Cottages found that, on average, leaving your dog in kennels for a week might cost £140, compared to approximately £20 to bring them away on a UK trip (staying in self-catering accommodation).
Of course, there are the more pricey options too.
The Milestone hotel in London (www.milestonehotel.com), voted number one UK property in this year’s TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, even has a dedicated pet concierge who can help with grooming, dog sitting and dietary needs. They can provide pet bathrobes, arrange taxi services and even organise turndown treats. Their Pampered Pet package costs £704.40 per night.
Even this has yet to reach the extremes of hoteliers in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, who stunned (and amused) the world’s press when they opened a dedicated ‘love hotel’ for amorous dogs - promising to help owners find the perfect mate for a pet. It’s a trend that hasn’t caught on here yet...