Megan LevyDecember 9, 2010
Rooom service! A fresh bone with your filet mignon sir?
Fancy a night in a two-room suite, with a spa bath and views overlooking the park? And all that for $70 in Melbourne?
The only catch is, you must be four-legged and furry.
Melbourne's well-heeled pets will be given the full VIP treatment at a $4.5 million luxury animal hotel due to throw open its doors in Port Melbourne on Monday.
Despite not being open yet, the pooch retreat, the Pets Hotel, is heavily booked over Christmas.
The hotel is billing itself as an oasis for the modern urban dog and cat.
Animals are able to recline on designer bedding and feed on bed-time snacks in temperature-controlled surroundings.
They can have a relaxation massage, a photo shoot, pampering in the salon or socialise with their furry companions in an indoor dog park, called Central Bark.
The top-of-the-range, two-room presidential suite comes with a flat-screen television and a patio overlooking the park, and a spa bath on check-out.
A chandelier even hangs in the hotel's foyer.
The hotel, in Phillip Court, is the brainchild of business owners Yvonne and Alan Hill, who own Elcho Park Pet Hotel, Lara, and Dennis and Vicki Cleghorn, who run Abba Boarding Kennels and Cattery in Melbourne.
Mrs Hill, the managing director, said next week's opening was the culmination of a plan five years in the making.
''It's really marketed for people who have a bit of money to spend on their pets, or as they would tell you, their furry children. But that's not really the way it started off,'' she said.
Mrs Hill said in the past five years developers had been buying up land previously occupied by kennels for housing development around Melbourne, meaning pet owners had to travel further and further away to lodge their pets.
''People are finding great difficulty in finding places to put their animals when they go on holidays,'' she said.
''So we said: 'Let's bring it back into the town'.''
They travelled to the US to investigate how pet hotels were operated, and brought those ideas to Melbourne.
Prices at the Pet Hotel start at $40 a day for the dogs in a classic suite, ranging up to $70 a day for the presidential treatment.
Discerning pet owners can check in on webcam to see how their pampered pet is faring in the park, or those on extended holidays can sign up for MiPet: a premium email and text message service providing updates, including photos and a behaviour report.
''Certainly, trends show that people are prepared to spend money on their pets and treat them differently to how they used to,'' Mrs Hill said.