31st May 2007

FIVE STAR KENNELS:
STAYING AT SPACE HOTELS WITH YOUR PETS

69 hotels in Italy where dogs and cats are welcome


Sixty-nine hotels of the Space Hotels group come to the rescue of Italians who want to go on holiday with their four-legged friends. Unfortunately, in Italy, there are many episodes of animal abandonment during the summer holiday season. At the opposite end of the spectrum, boarding pets has taken on a new twist in American kennels - such as the Woof Spa and Resort in Greenwich Village in New York - where animals are treated like guests in a fully staffed five star hotel that includes a massage service. In fact, a study by the authoritative Hotel Sales and Marketing Association has determined that pet hospitality is the new frontier of the hotelier business.

Many famous people always travel with their pets, such as George W. Bush and Paris Hilton in the USA and Marina Ripa di Meana, Maria De Filippi, Fiorello and Paola Saluzzi in Italy. One of the most well known dog trainers in Italy is Massimo Perla and many famous Italians take their pets to him. In Manhattan, Dominique Pilla, of Italo-american heritage, takes famous actors' dogs for a walk, including the pets of Jessica Parker-Jones, Hilary Swank and Matthew Broderick. There is also no lack of designer products for pets such as Gucci bags used as carriers and collars embellished with Swarosky crystals, as well as a long list of coats, blankets, couches and beds with matching dressers.

The 69 Space Hotels affiliates that accept pets are all located in important Italian destinations: in art cities (Rome, Florence, Venice, Bergamo, Padua, Vicenza, Treviso, Ferrara, Bologna, Parma, Pisa, Siena, Urbino, Perugia, Lecce, Catania); in business cities (Milan, Turin, Cuneo, Genoa, Padua, Aosta, Saronno, Novara, Piacenza, Modena, Pesaro, Ancona, Jesi, L'Aquila, Bari); and in resort cities (Como, Riva del Garda, Rapallo, Sanremo, Santa Margherita Ligure, Riccione, Rimini, Viareggio, Fiuggi, Pettenasco sul Lago d'Orta). They are all chosen by Space based on rigorous quality and service criteria and are both very welcoming and well kept. Many of them are decorated in earlier period styles as well as having gourmet restaurants, terraces with views, gardens, swimming pools and wellness centres.

Many of these hotels have large, fenced gardens or outdoor spaces where pets can be safely and relaxingly taken for walks (the Hotel President Giovinazzo, just north of Bari; the Piccolo Castello in Monteriggioni near Siena; the Hotel Federico II in Jesi in the province of Ancona). The Hotel Savoy in Pesaro and the Bonconte in Urbino have special menus for pets and supply information on: public parks where dogs do not have to be on a leash; pet-friendly beaches; veterinary clinics; pet stores; and restaurants that accept animals. Many hotels also offer dog-sitting and grooming services upon request. The Rizzi Aquacharme Hotel & Spa in Boario Terme offers pets a welcome kit upon arrival with a crunchy snack, food and water bowls and a lined basket. For a small, daily 5-euro surcharge, the chef of the Villa Pace Park Hotel Bolognese in Preganziol, just 2 km from Treviso, can prepare a menu suitable to dogs' tastes and habits. Dogs and cats have always been welcome in the Nyala Suite Hotel in Sanremo on the Liguria Riviera. They have a "Pet Hospitality" brochure that outlines all the attentive services available to their animal guests. There is also a "beauty corner" where human guests will find combs, brushes, wipes and grooming products for small animals. The Nyala also has a special Dog and Cat Sitter service that includes taking pets for walks.

The Hotel Eurogarden in Ozzano nell'Emilia gives discount coupons for a local pet store and offers picture taking for their exclusive "Pet Register". The front desk can organise pet walking, sitting and grooming services as well as a 24-hour veterinarian. They also have "Pet Room Service" with a special menu created and approved by a veterinarian that offers the ideal food to help pets deal with the stress of travelling. There are dry and wet food and vegetarian menus for both cats and dogs and a beverage list offering bottled water and milk.The Hotel Al Cappello Rosso in Bologna also offers discount coupons, pet walking, sitting and grooming services as well as a 24-hour veterinarian, a "Pet Register" and "Pet Room Service" with dry and wet food menus and a beverage list offering bottled water and milk.

The Hotel Palace in Bari has created the first ever "pet room" that offers a cot, combs, brushes and grooming products, hard and soft toys, an assortment of foods and wooden floors. At the Hotel des Nations in Riccione, Chiara - the resident cat - signs a diploma and gives it along with a take home toy to all pets who behaved well during their stay. There are three rooms with pet beds and a large terrace. The hotel is affiliated with a nearby restaurant that accepts animals and a groomer that, along with shampoos and cuts, also has a dog-sitter service and a delivery service for various brands of pet food and cat litter.

On the motorway with pets: the "Fido Park" initiative
For the fourth year in a row, at various motorway stops in Italy with Autogrill restaurants, there are rest areas for animals with running water and doghouses in the shade of a gazebo. Here pet owners can also receive free assistance for their animals and see a veterinarian from the Italian Veterinarians Association (Anmvi). This year, Fido Parks are open from 6 July to 26 August. The veterinarians are available all weekend and from 12.30 to 14.30 on weekdays.

Living and travelling better with your dog
The practical manual Why does my dog …? by John Fisher analyzes dog behaviour from A to Z and is available on the Internet at various bookselling websites. The book is actually structured from A to Z like a dictionary and explains why dogs behave the way they do and how to resolve unpleasant or dangerous situations. John Fisher is a veterinarian and the founder of the APBC (Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors) which has thousands of members worldwide.

Reservations can be made at the affiliates of Space Supranational Hotels through travel agencies. The website www.spacehotels.it indicates which affiliated hotels accept pets.The full list of hotels that accept pets is also available during work hours through Marina Tavolato in the Press Office of Travel Marketing in Rome. Tel: 06/82002158, Fax: 06/822426, Email: martav@rmnet.it, Website: www.travelmarketing.it

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