Browsing the Facebook page of Hotel do Cão, a pet hotel nestled in the countryside in Vale da Rainha, on the road from Portimão to Monchique, we find hundred of pho- tographs of happy pooches of all breeds and sizes playfully stretching their paws in an idyllic fenced area. Looking at the sheer number of photo albums, it’s no surprise that 48-year- old Miguel Maia Costa, a former agronomist engineer, has had to ex- pand his dog hotel, which was opened in 2011, from eight pens to the current 50. While leaving their beloved pets at a hotel can be an unsettling experience, both for dogs and their owners, at Hotel do Cão the proof is in the pudding: dogs are relaxed when their owners come to pick them up, and tails are set wagging as soon as they approach the gates for another stay. “Some dogs enjoy staying with us so much that some owners often leave them here for a weekend as a reward, simply because they love it,” he says. And figuring out why dogs are eager to return to Hotel do Cão is not that difficult: covering 30,000 sqm, the hotel is a true haven for our four-legged companions, with its two lakes, comfortable and spacious boxes (with underfloor heating and a water mist system to keep dogs cool in the scorching summer heat), and a number of outdoor grass areas, where the pooches are walked or left to sunbathe for a couple of hours every day. Furthermore, to make pets feel truly at home, there is TV ambient sound throughout, with smaller dogs being kept in wood and glass enclosures, which replicate house windows.
The success of Hotel do Cão is not only a product of its facilities, but also of its completely personalised approach. As Miguel explains, the hotel’s loving team tries to keep the animal’s routine as normal as possible: owners are encouraged to bring their pet’s food and treats (to avoid undesired stomach disorders from adjusting to a different kibble), dogs are walked on their own leads, preferably, and are fed the same number of times they would be at home. Twenty-minute walks take place at least twice a day, and the pooches are also left outside for two hours a day to enjoy the Algarve sunshine and safely socialise with other dogs. For added peace of mind for owners, the pens and walk areas are divided according to the pet’s size – small, medium and large – and dogs never share accommodation, unless they belong to the same person. Such care and dedication have made the hotel’s clientele grow by leaps and bounds since its inception in 2011, ranging from visitors who flock to the Algarve on holiday and want to be close to their pets, expats who have to temporarily return to their native country, and local residents out on holiday or work trips. “Demand has been growing ever since we opened,” says the businessman and German Shepherd breeder, who initially built the hotel to accommodate his dogs. “People in the Algarve have changed their lifestyle and have begun to include dogs in their lives. There’s what we call a ‘dog culture’, they now care about training their dogs and including them in their social life,” he adds.
To meet the needs of these clients, Hotel do Cão was expanded in June to accommodate more animals (there are 50 dog pens), a large reception area, a veterinary consultation room and grooming services suited to the most pampered pooches, provided by an experienced local groomer.
Also home to a training centre, the hotel now has an in-house dog behaviourist and trainer, who only uses positive reinforcement methods. There are group sessions available for both puppies and adult dogs, as well as individual sessions for animals with behaviour problems or specific training for sports competition dogs.
Another new addition, which will open in the summer, is accommodation facilities for cats, which Miguel says have been in high demand from clients. “We will have wooden facilities built upwards, with several ‘floors’, because, while dogs feel safe in dens, cats feel more comfortable if they have a place to climb to. There will also be a sun room,” he explains.
For now, the price for a basic daily stay for dogs is €14, excluding food. Grooming and training services can be added as part of the package, as well as extra walks. All dogs staying at Hotel do Cão must have their vaccinations up to date (including kennel cough), and owners can bring their pets’ personal objects, such as toys or bed.
For a closer look at the hotel’s facilities – or a general cuteness overload -, the Hotel do Cão also has a promotional video on its Facebook page, a canine love story, which stars many of the hotel’s four-legged clients, the sequel of which will be released soon. Much like the hotel, the video is a hit, boasting nearly 190,000 views on Facebook – no wonder pups keep lining up for check-in.


Author: Inside Carvoeiro

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