Welcome to the next instalment of our pet friendly travel feature with the lovely Juliette Foster and her dog, Socrates. Over the next few issues we will be taking a tour of different pet friendly hotels and areas across the UK. In this issue Juliette travels to Kent!
There’s something rather odd about reviewing a hotel which says it openly welcomes dogs. I’m so used to not seeing them in pubs and restaurants I assumed they were barred from hotels as well. When we adopted Socrates, our German Shepherd cross, we thought he would have to be left in kennels or with an understanding friend every time we went on holiday. How wrong we were. Nestled in Canterbury and about ten minutes away from the centre of this historic Kent city, is the Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel, a very dog friendly establishment.
Built as a private house in the nineteenth century, the hotel is an interesting fusion of gothic flourishes and twenty first century extensions.
History smacks you in the face (but ever so gently), with the arch shaped windows, elegant roof top spires, reminiscent of an eighteenth century chateau, and gilt framed copies of Holbein masterpieces. The hotel has a warm, snug atmosphere which gives it a sense of home from home, and we immediately felt relaxed. To the front of the main building is a large circular lawn, fringed with neatly clipped greenery. Perfect for walking the dog we thought, apart from one slight drawback. The Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel is in front of a busy main road so make sure you keep your dog on a lead! And could the person responsible for canine facilities organise a doggie bin? It doesn’t need to be somewhere obvious but it’s helpful knowing one’s there.
Does the Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel live up to the dog friendly hype? I would say so. The staff were extremely friendly and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. It’s the little things that count. A duvet had been placed near our bed for Socrates to sleep on, while a bowl and a mat had been provided for him to eat his meals. Unfortunately there was nowhere to store his food as the room didn’t have a fridge. I suddenly had visions of pulped chicken and beef rotting in their packets, but I needn’t have worried as the staff put the food in the hotel fridge. How’s that for service?
The room itself was comfortable and after a fractious first night, (he was outside his normal comfort zone), Soc began to settle in really well. There was enough space for him to move around, the inbuilt furniture units were high enough to stop him assaulting our room service dinner, and there were no sharp edges on the free standing furniture, which meant he couldn’t injure himself. It’s a small but significant detail that’s easy to overlook. Sharp corners are as big a hazard to pets as they are to children. We had to leave him behind when we went to the restaurant but we knew he would be safe in such an ergonomically and sensitive environment.
Access is also important when you have a dog. Soc wasn’t happy using the lift but he was in his absolute element on the stairs, which happened to be next door to our room. As far as we know there were no complaints about a black and tan dog happily bounding along the second floor corridor and stairwells. It would have been nice to have made more of Abbot Barton’s facilities but unfortunately most of it was out of bounds because there were two weddings (why do people always get married over a Bank Holiday?)
All in all we had a really pleasant weekend, (even the lousy weather couldn’t spoil it), and we would thoroughly recommend this hotel.
Essential Pet Travel Supplies: Recommended by K9 Magazine
K9 Magazine Would Like To Thank…
The team at Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel. Rooms are available from £89.25 for a double room / £106.25 for a double room including breakfast. For further details visit online at www.bestwestern.co.uk or telephone 08457 76 76 76.
Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel
26 New Dover Road