The Hog Hotel, Pakefield | www.thehoghotel.co.uk
Sally Jones writes about her dog friendly hotel and the continuing problem of no shows
‘Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong’ – WR Purche (Author of The Canine Commandments)
Well, I am afraid at The Hog Hotel we beg to differ! As a boutique hotel with rooms that allow dogs, (and a dog of our own in the form of Jazz, General Manager Cathy’s long in the tooth mutt) it makes us a popular choice for people travelling with their furry friend, but it doesn’t come without its challenges.
We have been open now for four weeks and the single most difficult problem we have had is with blinkered pet owners! Now don’t get me wrong – 90 percent of them have been fabulous. They understand that we only have five outfacing rooms that we allow dogs in, and only one dog per room at that, that the main hotel is a pet free zone, and that we have to charge a nominal amount for the dog to stay.
Cleaning up after a pet has been in the room takes twice as long as we have to be especially careful due to allergies, but let’s just say, some of these canine cuties have left us with a little more of a goodbye gift than we had hoped! Cathy was aghast when a gentleman turned up with four large dogs to stay in our smallest room, assuring her they would be no bother. Dogs are a bit like children, no parent ever admits that theirs are naughty or likely to trash the joint. Please note we do charge for extra children to stay too! Sadly, we don’t allow dogs in the restaurant or bar (but the garden is fine) and truthfully we spent far too much money on the refurbishment to let them loose in there yet, but it may come in time.
It seems the British staycation is really kicking off. The hotel is at 100 percent occupancy over the weekends aside from the odd cancellation which resells quickly, and we are having to hold a wait list for the restaurant. It is no secret that the hospitality industry has been hit hard by staff shortages since May 17, and we are no exception. Frustratingly some staff have taken the furlough pay throughout and then handed in their notice as soon as we reopened having found other work for higher rates (there is a bit of Dutch auction feel to it!) or they have retrained outside of the industry, or simply found other jobs with better hours than we can offer as now no-one wants to work every busy shift.
It is an issue across the country, and we will get through it but means that we have had to limit bookings at each service and hold a wait list, as well as limit service to certain days of the week. We too have had no shows; last weekend three tables didn’t turn up, too late to contact those waiting, so we missed out on revenue, staff missed out on tips, food got wasted and so on. So sadly, we have had to put a refundable deposit on bookings to try and discourage people block booking – indeed we heard of one family who had booked up every restaurant in nearby Southwold for six people, so he could pick and choose on the evening with no recriminations. However, for those who do dine or stay with us, the feedback is great; everyone so grateful to be back out and about in a safe environment, long may it continue.
- For room enquiries or table reservations please call 01502 569 805.