A new hotel with private suites, temperature-controlled flooring and a state-of-the-art spa has opened – catering only for dogs.
Bellslea Hills Pet Hotel and Spa in Ayr is based on facilities in Beverley Hills and Hollywood, and is unlike traditional kennels, staff said.
Rooms cost £29 a day and dogs can make use of an indoor artificial grass play area – said to be the only one in the UK – a sauna, a bone-shaped splash pool and specialist showers that “massage as they clean”.
Run by 22-year-old Will Aitken with his mother Nannette on their family farm on the outskirts of Ayr, it is hoped dog owners will check their pets into Bellslea when they go on holiday.
For people who can hardly bear being separated from their dog, each of the 28 rooms is fitted with webcams allowing owners to keep an eye on their pets online while they are apart.
TVs in the rooms also have a two-way audio system meaning owners “can talk to their pet too”.
Meals are specially prepared to the particular tastes of the dogs – from traditional dog food to cooked chicken.
Chihuahua Ruby, cavalier-poodle cross Rosie and Labrador Lily were at the centre today for treatment.
Mr Aitken said: “I’ve had animals all my life. Horses, dogs, cats, cows, you name it, so it’s something I’m quite familiar with and I thought it was something I’d really enjoy doing.
“It’s a state-of-the-art establishment, one of the first of its kind as far as we’re aware, for people who are willing to pamper their pooches. We’ve never seen anything like this. Other dog kennels out there are not up to this standard.
“Each suite is all tiled, with 75% heated flooring and there’s 25% there for a wee cold spot if the dogs like to cool down a wee bit.
“They also have TVs if they want to watch daytime television. It also has a log fireplace that crackles away, just to give a bit more of a warm effect.
“There’s also webcam in each so that if you’re lying on a beach in Hawaii or skiing in the Alps, you can log onto our server and check in on your dog.”
It cost £500,000 to renovate an agricultural shed on the farm and build an extension to house the facility.
“It’s been a big investment for the family but we’ve looked at it and thought to ourselves ‘it’ll work’,” Mr Aitken said.
“It’s a family business. My brother and sister are both at school and I know my brother is keen to get started, so he could be using this as a weekend job. He loves animals probably even more than I do.
“Later on we’ll get more staff in, when we think it will be busier later in the year.”
Since opening this week there have been “dozens of inquiries” from dog owners from across Scotland, Mr Aitken said.
“Dogs are part of the family for many people, they are treated like children by some people.
“There’s a lot of tourism in Ayr and it’s popular for weddings so maybe we’ll get a lot of clientele from there.
“The response has been crazy so far.”