When your favourite travelling companion is canine, the only way to travel is by PJ. But where to stay once you land? Furs class correspondent Mr Sniff and his team of high flying hounds have snuffled the globe in search of the best kennels for perfectionist pups. Here are his tips for summer.
FOR RIVIERA STYLE
Try: Cap Estel, France
Who were you in your pre-canine life? If you’re convinced you were an old-school movie star à la Cary Grant or Brigitte Bardot (I was Noel Coward), then this is the place for you. Built in 1899, Cap Estel is situated on a secluded peninsula just outside the fairytale village of Èze in the South of France, and the moment you pad into the gated mansion, starry status rightly returns. Depending on your taste (and that of your human I suppose), choose between one of four areas: Le Lap in the main building; La Mer overlooking the beach; La Corniche, which opens into gorgeous gardens, and Le Parc with views of St Jean Cap Ferrat. There’s a private beach that’s perfect for off-lead lolloping, and if you need a change of scent, ask the human to hire a convertible Sunbeam Alpine and take a road-trip to nearby Nice or Monaco. Head back to collar-change for dinner in Cap Estel’s superb restaurant – choose an outside table with a bay view and sniff the sea air before heading back to bed to lose yourself in a Riviera reverie.
FOR SEASIDE STROLLING
Try: Cary Arms & Spa, England
When petspyjamas.com gave it a “Best for Walkies” award, I barked at the humans to pack my bones and bandanas and take me to ﬁnd this paradise. We jumped on a PJ to Exeter airport and headed to the gong’s recipient: the Cary Arms on Babbacombe Bay in Devon, aka the English Riviera. Owned by shipping entrepreneur Peter de Savary, this whitewashed inn is the perfect bolthole, combining an old-school British seaside stay with modern luxury in a location so enchanting that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would frequently row ashore from the royal yacht to take in the view. Dogs can either sleep in the main house, the suites adjacent to the hotel (I went for Shell), or in the amazing new Beach Huts with ﬂoor-to-ceiling picture windows and huge terraces. Fuel up on breakfast (great sausages!) before heading off on one of the lauded walks. We took the Babbacombe to Oddicombe stretch of the 630-mile South West Coast Path, hiking our way along secluded coves and snufﬂing through forests before returning along the cliffs. Back before dusk, I chose a terrace table for my Dog’s Dinner – beef couscous and gravy – as my two-legged companions washed down freshly caught ﬁsh with a crisp Chablis.
FOR DECADENT GRANDEUR
Try: Le Bristol Paris, France
Still the place to stay in Paris, Le Bristol has welcomed the bold and the beautiful since it opened its doors in the Roaring Twenties. Guests included Charlie Chaplin and Rita Hayworth, and although this institution on the iconic Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré is still the choice of the A-list, the staff greet everyone – two- and four-legged alike – as if they’ve just won an Oscar. Pure luxury is in Le Bristol’s DNA: canine clients are provided with a handcrafted bed and matching monogrammed mat, chilled Evian in a silver bowl (so shiny I could use it to straighten my whiskers), and special cookies printed with the hotel crest. The in-room Fine Dog Dining Menu even included my favourite grilled steak and roasted baby vegetables. If you’re burned out from barking and bounding, then this is the hotel for you – although the resident Burmese cat, Fa-Raon, still has a little too much power for my liking…
FOR SPACE INVASIONS
Try: Kameha Grand Zürich, Switzerland
The Kameha Grand is the newest kid on Zürich’s hotel block, and the coolest. Opened two years ago in the business district, it set out to prove the city had a quirky side – which of course includes welcoming us design-loving dogs. There are 12 suites to choose from but my absolute favourite is the Space Suite. Who hasn’t silently hankered to be an astrodog since Belka and Strelka, the terrier and German Shepherd who were sent into space by the USSR in the 1950s and ‘60s? Designed by German artist Michael Najjar, the suite immerses both canine and human cadets in the atmosphere of a space station with rocket sculptures, universe motifs, and a bed designed to look like it’s ﬂoating. And to stop us canine crew members coming back down to earth with too much of a bump, there’s an out-of-this-world pet package: a Bob & Lush biscuit box, alongside a menu that offers not only three main-course options but also a beef starter and (alien to me) something vegetarian.
FOR SEA DOGS
Try: Danai Beach Resort, Greece
Had enough of city life? Need two weeks chilling by a pool? Try this beautiful former private home and now luxury family-friendly resort with private beach, poolside cabanas, huge daybeds, and state-of-the-art spa. Combine this relaxed vibe with exquisite attention to detail and your humans won’t want to leave, which is very good news for us: Danai Beach really knows how to pamper a pup. There are three sizes of beds available, spring water is served in crystal bowls (why drink water ANY other way?), and the turndown includes gourmet treats. There’s also a dog-walking service and a selection of fantastic toys but best of all is the personalised catamaran dog tour. Ask your human to choose the length of your trip depending on your sea paws, then prepare to ride the waves. Hello sailor!
FOR COUNTRY PURSUITS
Try: Gleneagles, Scotland
One of the UK’s best-known country estates, this magniﬁcent hotel is set in 850 acres – making it the place to go when you simply must roam the countryside. There are so many activities to keep you and your human happy, with falconry, ﬁshing, golf and tennis all on offer. Gundogs will love the shooting, of course, and there’s a new Espa spa to stretch out any aching muscles. The recently refurbished Gleneagles loves canines: all of the 232 rooms are dog-friendly, including the suites, and come with a welcome travel pack, feeding bowls, and a super-comfortable cushion. For those of us on the larger side or who need our own space, there are also luxury kennels with king-size dog-beds and loving attendants ready to wait on us 24/7. “Another ear-rub, sir?” Oh, go on then.
FOR A SENSE OF MYSTERY
Try: Pera Palace, Turkey
With a guestbook featuring notorious dog-lovers Ernest Hemingway and Edward VII, Istanbul’s Pera Palace has been a magnet for celebrities, writers and royalty since it was built in 1892 for passengers disembarking the Orient Express. It still conveys the sense of intrigue that drew Garbo and Mata Hari through its doors, and its exceptional service is as intact today as it was then – especially for us hounds. Last year the hotel redeveloped its food offering for dogs with the Four-Legged Luxury Menu: lick your chops at dinners ranging from poached ﬁllet of salmon to chopped ﬁllet of beef, all devised under vet instruction. And the wonderful thing about the Pera is it partners with an animal welfare charity working on projects to raise money for the neighbourhood animal shelter. Luxurious and compassionate, what’s not to like?
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