We visited the Luxury Dog Hotel in Broadway to see just how the pooch loving proprietor Simon Webb delivers a luxury and indulgent service for dogs.
Upon arrival at The Luxury Dog Hotel I'm greeted not only by the proud owner of the hotel but excitedly by all of his four legged guests. It’s a joyous welcome of wagging tails that instantly displays the happiness felt in the dog utopia that Simon has created for his visitors. After first introducing me to Jake, Brinkley, Toby, Albie and Harry, the Airedale, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, Shih Tzu and lovely mixed breed that make up the current canine crew Simon then quickly shows me around. Based in his current home in Broadway just a few glances around reveal just how he makes the Hotel all about his guests. Throws adorn the furniture for the comfort of the dogs, toys have a home in the corner waiting for any of the guests to select them and all leads are hung in an orderly fashion in the hallway awaiting each of the dogs favourite time of day.
Simon has been in this business for 25 years so knows exactly just how to engage any dog and equally just how to calm them. Always having had dogs himself and recalling the businesses early years in Portugal he remembers "I had three dogs whilst in Portugal and people would always ask me to look after theirs." His knowledge of caring for and looking after dogs grew into the luxury treatment he gives today and advice he can impart to their owners. This led him to pursue it as a business and he fondly remembers "I started and suddenly I was full of dogs."
Having moved back to the UK two years ago Simon thought there would be "Lots of people doing this sort of thing" but although plenty of people operate in a kennel like way not a lot seemed to be giving dogs the homely treatment and the unique care he offers. He explains "My philosophy is fun, take the dogs for longs walks, giving them exercise and give them time to play for fun." He qualifies this by expanding with one of his simple secrets "They can come here and do what they do at home, so if they sleep on the sofa at home they can sleep on the sofa. If they sleep on a bed at home they can sleep on a bed." An example of this he recalls is that "Just the other day I had a six month old Irish Wolf Hound visit with their owner and they jumped straight up on to the sofa and got comfortable, to which their owner noted she’s always first for her place on the sofa".
These meetings are what make you realise how Simon does such a remarkable job he seeks to learn everything about prospective new guests through their owners "I invite every client round as I will accept any dog but I have to meet them and their owners first." It's all part of the care he takes to meticulously tailor his service to each owner and dog. Whilst I'm learning of these methods one of his regular clients arrives to collect their dog, it's been another fun stay and the customer is delighted with the work imparting the fact that her dog is "Always excited and wagging her tail with excitement when she’s on the way to the Luxury Dog Hotel."
After these meetings with dog and owner Simon then takes in his guests offering a day care or a twenty four hour service. He maintains his thorough nature of work by always making himself available and keeping a regular contact with his clients. Even in my short time with him he gets a multitude of messages, sure that it's another thing that contributes to the great service he offers he tells me "I'm always here to talk to clients they call me about lots of things and I always update them on their dogs stay." Always striving to connect with his customers in a way that suits them he calls, emails and also sends pictures and videos through Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook meaning they can stay up to date with their dogs happy stay whilst they are on the go.
What is a marvel is how he keeps the fun tone perfectly balanced with the impeccable discipline the dogs all keep around one another. The formula he thinks lies in the routine "I get up, open the back door and they have fun in the garden they come in for their breakfast and then not long after we will go walking. They come back and play or do whatever they would like and eat again at around four. We then walk again and play before settling down later."
No job is too large when it comes to ensuring their happiness either from amusing quirks such as diets "I have plenty of dogs I cook for making them rice and chicken, nice fresh meals that they are accustomed to at home." or whether it be more serious "I have to give some dogs medication, including diabetes injections. It's good for me to do it as my experience means the dogs are not likely to experience any stress and I can tutor the owners on how to do it correctly." The Luxury Dog Hotel ticks all the boxes in care and indulgence. It's not long after Simon finishes up telling me these things that Jake the Airedale shows signs of unrest and lets out a bark. All under control as ever though he is let into another room and remarkably he's chuffed again. Even more remarkably is his host knows exactly why "He is used to sitting in a conservatory at home so gets to observe a lot of things. He can look out of the window now so he's happy." It's this attention to detail along with the luxury service and familiarity of home which makes it the perfect place to stay for any dog.
As I'm departing Brinkley the Cocker Spaniel turns to her host with a tennis ball nestled in her mouth. Simon takes it joyfully initiating a game of fetch by bowling it across the room and just like that tennis ball the luxury times are just going to keep on rolling here at The Luxury Dog Hotel.