With increasing numbers of London hotels opening their doors to our canine companions, Rosie Paterson sniffs out the best pet-friendly deals in town.
Whether you’re in London for work, a weekend away or a longer break, it’s no longer necessary to leave your dog behind, as more of the capital’s hotels are introducing ‘pet friendly’ packages, with luxury extras to rival those enjoyed by their owners.
‘Peace of mind is one of the major advantages of travelling with your dog,’ says Beatrice Tollman, founder of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. That her group is one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to accommodating dogs is, no doubt, due to the fact that Mrs Tollman doesn’t go anywhere without her two long-haired dachshunds, Honey and Hanzie. ‘The expense and stress of kennels and dog-sitters aside, in a city like London, taking the dog with you provides an extra incentive to get out and explore,’ adds Mrs Tollman.
With this in mind, we’ve tracked down five of the best hotels and B&Bs where your dog will be as welcome as you are, right in the heart of London.
The Milestone Hotel, W8 (pictured above)
And where better to start exploring than this Red Carnation establishment, which borders Kensington Palace Gardens, where The Duchess of Cambridge regularly exercises her black cocker spaniel, Lupo. The hotel’s ‘pampered pet’ package includes a doggie welcome hamper and, to ensure everyone looks their best, a massage for two (humans) in the Milestone’s spa and a grooming session for pets at nearby Pet’s Perfection. Come bedtime, the personal turndown service features a doggie bedtime treat, fresh mineral water and a custom-made Milestone bed for your dog to sleep on. A dedicated pet concierge is also on hand to arrange dog walkers and sitters if needs be.
Rooms from £842 per night (020–7917 1000; www.milestonehotel.com)
St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, NW1 (above)
The St Pancras Renaissance is no stranger to visiting dogs, as several scenes in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians sequel were filmed there and the nearby station, but the hotel has only recently opened its doors to man’s best friend for overnight stays. Now, four-legged guests are welcomed with a ‘woof box’ of tasty treats, grooming products and eco-friendly chew toys. Rural rovers are well catered for, too, thanks to the hotel’s partnership with City Dog — run by former NASA physicist turned dog trainer Nicole Scott—which offers in-suite lessons on coping with city life and public transport. It’s also possible to book skateboarding lessons for your pooch or to learn how to take a ‘pet selfie’ on an iPad.
Rooms from £740 per night (020–7841 3540; www.marriott.com)
ME London, WC2
The unapologetically avant-garde and innovatively designed ME London is yet another luxury London hotel that’s leaping onto the dog-friendly bandwagon. Perfect for pint-size pets that love to be pampered (only those under 5kg (11lb) are allowed), its new dog-stay experience is every bit as glamorous and extraordinary as the hotel itself. Each dog is assigned an ‘aura host’—a personal dog concierge—for the duration of its stay in order to help tailor grooming sessions and walks and the doggie dining experience—fillet steak and terrine of bone marrow were on the menu last time we checked—is guaranteed to make even the fussiest canine connoisseur drool.
Rooms from £384 per night, plus £50 per dog (0808 234 1953; www.melia.com)
Rosewood London Hotel, WC1 (above)
In the two years since it opened, this stylish establishment, complete with a neo-Classical façade, has established itself as one of London’s leading hotels, thanks to its opulent interiors and popular resident pooch, Pearl. What’s more, guests’ dogs and cats are invited to stay for free, as long as they weigh less than 15lb. While owners relax in the hotel’s tranquil Sense Spa, canines can crunch happily away on complimentary dog biscuits from the Holborn Dining Room Deli. There’s no need to worry about missing out on — whisper it — w-a-l-k-i-e-s, either, as pets receive a letter on arrival listing local parks and walking routes.
Rooms from £380 per night (020–7829 9888; www.rosewoodhotels.com)
Russell’s of Clapton, E5
Russell’s of Clapton is something of a rare gem in London: a stylish and dog-friendly B&B. Tucked away in a residential Hackney street, it’s perfect for both car-shy canines and owners who need easy access to central London. The B&B’s two resident whippets, Reggie and Dora, might reign over the sitting-room sofa, but there’s always room for guests’ dogs, and host Annette has plenty of recommendations for local restaurants, landmarks and walks along the nearby canal.
Rooms from £98 per night (07976 669906; http://russellsofclapton.com)