So many posh hotels these days make a big deal of all the ways in which they cater to pets—the in-room “Best Friends” menu featuring burgers and bone-shaped biscuits at L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills, the poolside pet massage at Las Ventanas al Paraíso in Cabo among them. But make no bones about it: These are still hotels for humans. You know that. The hotels know that. And your cat, that sourpuss, she definitely knows it, too.
Now a new breed of European hotelier is putting pets first with luxury animals-only accommodations that rival your own. Nick Amsel quit his job in 2012 to run the Hayfields Luxury Dog Hotel in Northamptonshire, two hours north of London, which offers 11 private rooms and, soon, a doggy swimming pool. Ninety minutes west, on 12 acres of postcard-perfect Cotswolds farmland, Jenny Marriott and her partner, Tim, offer “luxury breaks for dogs” at their inn, The Paw Seasons. All overnighters sleep inside—they’re not animals—and, says Marriott, between “invigorating runs and walks along some of the 112-mile Cotswolds Way trail,” they can wander around the farmhouse and choose where to curl up, which, unsurprisingly, is often by the kitchen (Tim is a budding baker). Excursions might include a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum or Brean Sands for a midmorning swim. And while the resort sees a number of high-profile owners, Marriott says “the dogs are blissfully unaware of their importance, so there are no airs here!”
Where there are undoubtedly plenty of airs, however, is at The Ings Luxury Cat Hotel in Yorkshire, where even the fussiest felines—and show me a feline who isn’t—can find comfort in one of 12 woodland animal-themed suites that feature four-poster beds with down pillows, radiant floors, bespoke climbing trees and a room-service menu including such treats as sea bass and prawns (with a catnip garnish, naturally) and house-made “Meowgaritas.” Private balconies overlook acres of rolling hills, but with 42-inch flat screens that play wildlife scenes all day long, who can be bothered with actual wildlife? “Busy” days wind down with aromatherapy massages, warm towels and bedtime stories. “There is never a dull moment,” says innkeeper Jo Ounsley. “They never get bored.” And if they do, that’s what the in-room iPads are for.