Unlocking London’s well-travelled, worst-behaved miniature dachshund

June 1, 2021

There are not many search terms that haven’t yet been typed into Google, but ‘dog-friendly holiday Oman’ may be one of them. Five-year-old Buddy, fit as a flea physically, suffers from severe separation anxiety which means holidays can’t not include him.

We thought we finally had it sussed when we discovered the Sausage Dog Hotel in Berkshire. Doyen of dachshunds Phil has two sausages himself, Stanley and Ollie, and takes in up to 16 other sausages at a time. Each is given individual care; they have a large, enclosed garden to frolic in (plus their own paddling pool when it’s sizzling); and they sleep wherever they drop off in his sitting room.

Buddy in his car seat

Unfortunately, Buddy’s honeymoon period at said hotel was short-lived. Reluctantly he towed the line initially, but it was unsustainable for him long-term and he has, quite understandably, since been blacklisted for bad behaviour.

Before this happened, we had started planning a trip to Oman. Now logistically we could get Buddy there if we went via Amsterdam; KLM and Lufthansa are the only airlines that will allow dogs in the cabin (no way we’d send Buddy in the hold, his nerves wouldn’t take it). But it wouldn’t be fair or safe to subject him to that heat, however much he worships the sun. Plus, it was doubtful our pet insurance would cover sunstroke if caught in the Middle East.

Another mode of travel when Buddy’s little legs get tired

So Buddy hasn’t made it to Muscat but he has been on some rather nice holidays. He’s sampled five-star life – both in hotels and self-catered accommodation – across the West Country, plus in Yorkshire and Suffolk. He has travelled through France, walked the shoreline of Lake Lugano in Switzerland, lunched in Luxembourg, trotted around Mons in Belgium, and been swimming in Lake Como.

Buddy by Lake Como

A year stuck at home under Covid restrictions, without any restaurants to review, let alone any travel, Buddy’s frustrated wanderlust has made him a little melancholy. Between his challenging behaviour and the ongoing travel ambiguity, holidaying in the UK is our best current bet. To cheer the old boy up we’ve booked a getaway at a five-star hotel not too far from home. Details below, plus three more of Buddy’s best dog-friendly UK bolthole suggestions:

Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire
Here’s where Buddy’s heading next – a post-lockdown hurrah if you please. Five-star Luton Hoo, set in over 1,000 acres of splendid countryside in Bedfordshire, is only an hour or so from central London. Buddy will be staying in one of the dog-friendly ground floor Parkland rooms which have patio doors opening onto the grounds, and we will gladly be joining him. The impossibly majestic mansion house, reached via a sweeping driveway, retains an elegance often dismissed these days in favour of contemporary coldness. Here the past and its high standards are celebrated and for Buddy this promise is palpable. There’s one thing he’s a little put out about: that the new option of open water swimming in the lake is only available to humans. He’s an experienced lake swimmer and will be talking to the management on arrival.
Doubles from £196. Pet package £30 per pet per night including dinner, bowl, bed, ball or toy, and treats.

Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire

1 Woodheads, Lake District
Being partial to lakeside living since his time at Como, Buddy is keen to visit the Lake District and has spotted a Regency-style villa that ticks all his boxes. 1 Woodheads (sleeps four, plus one dog) is a magnificent first floor apartment, nine miles from Lake Windermere, with views towards Morecambe Bay. A year-round dog-friendly beach is only half a mile away, promising sand between the toes (which is fine by him so long as it’s dusted off delicately afterwards). He is imagining balmy evenings back at base, the veranda doors all opened wide; one of his humans teasing out some tunes on the piano and, after an aperitif, perhaps offering him some chicken or smoked salmon.
A three-night stay costs from £176 pp (£702 total). £20 supplement for a dog.

1 Woodheads, Lake District

Bovey Castle, Devon
Never has fear been so apparent in Buddy’s beady eyes as when he watched an enormous falcon swoop back and forth across the hotel’s balustraded garden terrace. The bird was around five times his size from its curved beak to its curled toes. Thankfully, the thoughtful falconer advised us before he began his show that Buddy should observe from inside, lest he be lost as prey. That trauma aside, Bovey Castle is by far Buddy’s favourite five-star in the West Country. A sprawling stately pile, standing in 275 glorious acres on Dartmoor National Park, is absolutely befitting, break-wise, for a dachshund whose show name is Black Morrow Diamond. Buddy has heard that Bovey Castle now has a ‘Pooch Parlour’ where he could be showered, shampooed and have a hair-do, he’s been dropping some hefty hints about heading back asap.
Doubles from £179. £25 supplement for a dog.

Bovey Castle, Devon

Malmaison, Leeds
Buddy tends to opt for elegance over trendiness but the Malmaison in Leeds – an overnight en route to the Dales – proved an exception. Set in an imposing Victorian former office block, the hotel’s interiors are dramatic and moodily-lit, somewhat Manhattan-esque in their loft-likeness. But it was the Chez Mal Brasserie that really swung it for Buddy. Not knowing whether dogs were allowed into dinner, we didn’t risk asking and he came in under an arm draped with a spare jumper, both his diminutive size and the aforementioned lugubrious lighting paying dividends. Buddy’s patience paid off too. Lying low on the velvet banquette, he was delighted that little pieces of fillet steak, and truffle and parmesan fries, made their way to his muzzle.
Doubles from £75. £20 supplement for a dog.

Malmaison, Leeds