THE BEST DOG-FRIENDLY GUIDE TO LONDON, PAWS DOWN!
SUPPORTING DOG-FRIENDLY LONDON AFTER A RUFF START TO THE YEAR!
After months of lockdown, July saw restaurants and hotels re-open. Although it has been a few months since venues across London and the country re-opened, they still need our continued support to ensure our dog-friendly hot spots in London continue to thrive, for us all to enjoy.
Aneka spoke with the team at Mama Shelter, London, to hear more about their re-opening journey and what pups and pawrents can look forward to when visiting.
ANEKA TALKS TO SAM at MAMA SHELTER LONDON
Aneka: Congratulations, you’re back; how did you feel about re-opening?
Sam: We were anxious to open to support the industry and start the work as early as possible to support our team. It was heart-warming to see the feedback and engagement on social media, as our loyal guests and fans counted down the days to our re-opening. It was a positive thing to re-open, and it was great to see regulars and new guests coming through the doors.
Aneka: How did you spend your time in lockdown?
Sam: I personally have been creating and maintaining a herb garden. I have also spent a lot of quality time with my Yorkie, Hugo, which has been the best part of lockdown. I have the good fortune of having a garden, front terrace, and two parks a stone’s throw away, so Hugo got his walks, and I got my fresh air. There was also a lot of cooking.
Aneka: Tell us about Mama; what is the story behind the brand?
Sam: Mama is brought to us by the Trigano family, who are no strangers to hospitality as they were behind the original Club Med. They have the flagship Mama Shelter in Paris, then followed with other cities and then across the pond to South American, the West Coast, and London. Mama aims to provide a home from home, focusing on comfort and fun.
Aneka: What safety measures have you put in place for customers visiting you, and how will this change the experience?
Sam: We are exercising social distancing, no paper menus as QR codes take you online, all the staff wear masks, sanitise surfaces continuously, and have dispensers dotted around the building for public/staff use. We leave spaces between bookings to ensure a full, deep, clean, and space-out room allocations for bedrooms. We also have zero contact room service available. I don’t think it changes the experience, as this has become the new normal for everyone. I think what would be more noticeable is if we didn’t put these safety measures in place.
Aneka: Why did Mama Shelter decide to become a dog-friendly hotel?
Sam: This is the policy for the entire group as the owners love dogs. Furthermore, you cannot be in East London and not be dog-friendly. I live 10 minutes away and experience that daily. It is a complete surprise to come across a non-dog-friendly spot in our area, and I would certainly say they are missing out big time. Plus, there is nothing lovelier than dogs in the building; it puts a smile on everyone’s face.
Aneka: Tell us about your pup!
Sam: I have a little 6-year old Yorkshire Terrier called Hugo. He was re-homed with me when his parents (a very old couple) passed away last February. He is the sweetest and most lovable dog. People are surprised how well behaved he is and that he is not yappy at all. His favourite food is roast chicken breast, chorizo and he likes carrots too.
Aneka: What is your favourite dog breed, and why?
Sam: Well, he is the second dog I have ever been around. As a child, we had a Jack Russell, called imaginatively, Jack. So, I guess I like small dogs full of personality. My Yorkie is the one for me, and at some point, I will likely adopt another.
Aneka: Are all sized dogs welcome and any other dogs house rules we should know about?
Sam: Dogs up to the size of 12kg are welcome, only because that is what we feel is comfortable for the dog with the room size. Owners know their dogs and their behaviour, so we trust them to exercise common sense on whether they will be comfortable being in a hotel or not.
Aneka: Any little perks for dogs visiting with their humans?
Sam: We have a package called Dogcation, which includes all the perks for the pooch. Dog bowl for water, a bedroom dog bed, a pack of treats, and toys to borrow to play with in-room or in the public areas.
Aneka: And finally, any new products or exciting things coming in the future?
Sam: We are focussing day-to-day on ensuring the team, and our guests are kept safe. As there is no concrete evidence that the virus will continue to subside and things will return to normal, I think it would be naive to start planning big things at this stage. For now, we will just continue to love what we do and hope others love it too.