Thursday, 10 November 2011

Its a Dog's Life in Yorkshire

Yorkshire is about to become a dog’s best friend as the county’s latest luxury hotel unveils plans to open the UK's first dedicated dog hotel and spa.

Raithwaite Hall in Sandsend, North Yorkshire, a £30m refurbished country house retreat, opened its doors to human customers two weeks ago but its plans are to extend its luxury offering to pampered pooches across the world allowing owners and pets to holiday together.
A new 28-room dog hotel will be built on the 80-acre site with dedicated spa facilities and luxury extras for their canine guests, including hydrotherapy pool, grooming, obedience classes, kennelling and even a luxury food menu for their owners to choose from.

Guests staying in the separate house, called The Keep [pictured], due to open next autumn, will enjoy the same luxurious standard of fixtures and fittings as the main hotel, but each room will include a special area for dogs to sleep in, allowing man’s best friend to holiday with their owners rather than being left behind in kennels or with family or friends.

Paul Ellis MD of the Skelwith Group, owners of the Raithwaite Hall estate explained: "We have now opened a fantastic hotel for humans and want to be able to offer the same guest experience to dogs too.  When people are choosing hotels it is often easier to find venues that cater for their children but not their dog. Dogs are often a massive part of the family so we want to cater for these travellers too."

Skelwith is part of US firm West Paces Hotel Group and it was a business decision to make provision for a dog hotel as dog holidays are well catered for in America. The firm plans to market heavily in the US to attract an established audience. 
The market for dog holidays is relativley untapped in the UK as many places do not allow them to stay with their owners. That is changing but the potential for holidaymakers to take their dog on holiday could be a rich new source of income for savvy hotelliers and guesthouse owners. Pets are a billion pound industry with pet food alone worth £1.8bn in Britain, without taking into account vet costs, toys and other pet-related paraphernalia.

And the momentum is definitely with dogs. The number of households with dogs has overtaken cats for the first time in the last five years with an estimated 8.3million dogs in the UK and almost a quarter of homeowners sharing their life with a dog in 2010 (22.9%: Source: Mintel for Pet Food Manufacturers' Association). It is predicted that dogs will outnumber cats in the UK for the first time too during the course of 2011.

Raithwaite Hall, once the retreat of a former shipping magnate, backs onto public footpaths which lead to the beach as well as inland towards the moors so there is plenty for dogs and their owners to explore and f
or those wishing to recreate an iconic canine moment they can take the short walk from Sandsend to Whitby where in Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Count Dracula first set foot on English soil, disguised, rather appropriately, as a dog.