Jet set pets
LUXURY LIVING may have taken hit from the recent downturn in the global economy, but one curious trend that seems immune to bad news are pet services. Going on holiday with your beloved pets was once unthinkable and tearful goodbyes at the kennel or cattery was the norm, but now a whole host of airlines and hotels are catering exclusively to your furry loved ones.
The sky used to be the limit for pet owners with draconian restrictions on bringing Fido and Chairman Meow on board, or worse, subjecting them to the ignominy of riding cargo. Fortunately, some forward-thinking companies have spotted the massive potential for 'pawsengers', with most major airlines including Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France instituting a more enlightened policy of allowing cats and dogs into the passenger cabin.
Pet Airways has taken things a step further with the world's first dedicated pet airline. Currently only available in the US, it's a specialist transportation service that ferries your animals in luxury. It is pets only, with specially designed seat-less cabins that include a professional pet handler on board to cater to the inflight whims of the very special passengers.
Once our furry friends have landed, it might be an idea to take them somewhere to unwind after all that flying. Pampering services at hotels used to be few and far between, but nowadays most luxury hotels have realised the huge numbers of super-wealthy guests who can't be parted from their pet.
Paris, the home of the most sophisticated pet owners in the world, has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to pet-friendly luxury hotels. The new Hotel Fouquet's Barrier is the epitome of class and indulgence - a grand Hausmann-style Parisian hotel where you and your pet are served by a private butler, and your furry one can enjoy specially made deluxe beds, special toys and specially cooked meals using the finest ingredients, all served via room service for no extra charge.
Across the Channel, Flemings Hotel Mayfair prides itself on offering the best pet services to guests in London, offering a range of pet-pampering services including pet spas and dog walking services around Green Park.
The French and the British might be offering refined sophistication, but it's in America where your pet can enjoy untold luxury. Miami's luxurious Epic Hotel offers a VIP - Very Important Pet - service and top-class amenities that include everything from cosy beds, gourmet treats, pet massage and dog-walking services. The hotel group's 'hospetality' policy makes no restrictions on the size of the animal, or indeed the number, and charges no extra fees or deposits for their furry guests.
Over in Beverly Hills, the land of the beautiful and famous, a stay at the Peninsula Beverly Hills would get even the most pampered tails wagging. Monogrammed robes and towels, gourmet room service served on the finest china as well as five-star pampering, where pets are just as important as two-legged guests, are all part of the service at the hotel salon.
The Raffles L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, meanwhile, has created the most lavish pet menu found anywhere in the world, with such treats as tuna tartar, caviar and hard-boiled eggs. New York's Union Square W Hotel has specially made pet hamburger and pet steak options, while the Affinia chain of boutique hotels offers a Jet Set Pets programme that includes all the standard pampering amenities but also a unique pet psychic service, where an 'interspecies psychic' can help troubled pets in more unorthodox ways.
Gourmet food, salon and spa treatments, deluxe beds; it seems nothing is too expensive or too extravagant for our feline and canine friends. With an ever increasing number of luxury hotels offering an array of specialist services, often at no extra cost, it might not be just humans who get the holiday blues upon returning home.
Prada Dog Collar & Leash
Made with saffiano leather, this collar features a stainless-steel buckle and a plaque which can be engraved. The leash is also made of saffiano calf leather and features a polished steel clip and charm.
Paul Smith Dog Collar & Leash
Paul Smith has joined the growing band of designers with collections for pets, and his accessories feature the British designer's signature striped pattern.
Louis Vuitton Suhali Dog Collar
Made from supple Suhali goat leather, this classic collar features golden brass nails like the ones used in Louis Vuitton trunks. It's lined with buffed nubuck leather for extra comfort and comes with a tag which can be engraved with the dog's personal information.