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Going abroad with your pet

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The Pilot Scheme for Pet Passports (which allows travel to most European countries) is now in place.

By Verite Reily Collins   

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have now introduced the pet passport pilot scheme allowing British dogs and their owners to visit Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway (not Spitzbergen), Portugal, San Marino, Spain (including Canaries but not Ceuta and Melilla) , Sweden, Switzerland and the Vatican.  Provided their vaccinations and papers are in order, they don't have to go into quarantine.

Now that pets no longer have to stay behind when the family goes off to the Continent, sent Rover the Roving Reporter off to sniff out some of Europe's best dog-friendly hotels. And he warns to make sure you book your ferry or shuttle place in advance; there is no 'turn up and go' with pets - they have to be pre-booked.  

On the Continent it is normal for families to take their dogs on holiday, as long as the weather is suitable. Continental hotels are eager to accept British dogs (and cats) and in France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Luxembourg almost every small country hotel welcomes well-behaved pets. But what happens if you want to stay in a city, or push out the boat for a celebration weekend?  

 pet friendly hotels

Pas de problem (Rover is becoming very European). In large cities and up-market resorts Rover has found hotels that think dogs are part of the family. It is usual to make a small charge for dogs - but food is often included in the price. At the Hotel des Thermes in Brides-les-Bains there is even a special 'Menu Chien' (dog menu card), and Rover spent hours deciding if he wanted his meat minced or in morsels, and should he have chicken, or beef, or fish - and did he want rice and carrots, or green beans. Decisions - decisions. Eventually he ticked all the boxes and room service delivered a huge meal.

You might think international hotel chains are very snooty and won't accept dogs, but Rover's dog bone classification gave top marks to the Hilton and Novotel/Sofitel chain hotels. Instead of impersonal modern decor, many of these chain hotels are built in old houses with lots of local character. If you are looking for something extra special, Relais & Chateaux hotels are a consortium of small, up-market owner-managed hotels; most are very dog friendly, and allow dogs everywhere except in restaurants.   

animal friendly hotels Most hotels in the countryside and mountain villages will take dogs; many have hotel dogs of their own. However, some hotels in our guide only accept small dogs. Others may have changed their booking policy and no longer accept dogs - so please check first. Rover says he managed to make himself understood at all the hotels, but they do speak English as well. 

Switzerland is very welcoming to dogs and dog owners, but there are penalties if you don't clear up after your dog - and Swiss citizens will ensure this is carried out. Don't forget if you go to Martigny in the summer to make time to visit the original Hospice where St. Bernard dogs used to rescue travellers. Swiss trains are an easy way of getting round the country, and dogs are welcome. Regulations say for each dog you would need to purchase a half price 2nd class ticket for your intended journey. If you hold one of the following: Swiss Pass, Swiss Transfer ticket, Swiss Card or Swiss Flexi Pass it is cheaper to purchase a second class version of that pass and in the space reserved for the passengers name you need to write "DOG". You can reserve a seat for the dog as well as yourself and the dog is allowed to sit on the seat as long as it has been covered with paper, a towel or a blanket.

Spain has always been very keen on paperwork, so make sure you keep your pet's papers with you at all times. Remember, it can be very hot there in the summer, particularly in the south. 

Readers might ask why is Spitzbergen excluded? Because it is a special area of Norway, with links with Russia, which has not been subject to Norwegian veterinary controls so cannot be guaranteed to be rabies-free. 

Rover is a great fan of Lesley Schultz in the Tourism Flanders office; she told him to call up WOEF, the Belgian dog magazine, on Her telephone number is 09001-887799 if you want more information about Belgium, one of the most dog-friendly countries in the world. The world's first Police Dog force was founded in Ghent, and in this town they have animal fountains; a tall column with drinking bowl on the top for birds, a trough at waist level for horses and a bowl down below for dogs.

Don't be surprised if you see dogs in restaurants, particularly in France and the Netherlands. As long as the dog sits quietly under the table, owners can bring them in to many places that serve food. 

So take Rover to the vet for his vaccinations and tests, then head off to Europe and try out some of the many dog-friendly hotels; there are all prices and types, and where possible we have put in email addresses.

Hotel Chains

Hilton  0800 856 8000  
Kempinski 00800 426 313 55
Leading Hotels 0800 18 11 23 
Meridian  0800 317 006 
Radisson 0800 191 991  
Relais&Chateaux 0800 960 239
Sheraton 0800 35 35 35
Steigenberger 0800 89 88 52
Trust House Forte O800 40 40 40

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Austrian Hotels

Gruner Baum  Badgastein  
Arlberg Hospiz  St. Christoph   Extra cost for dogs
Gasthof Post Lech in Arlberg  
Schloss Seefels Portschach    
Schloss Fuschl  near Salzburg

A .Sch.180 per dog/day

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Belgian Hotels

De Snippe Brugge  
De Tuilerieen Brugge
Sofitel> Brugge
Conrad Hotel Brussels bruch/
Sofitel Ghent
New Hotel De Lives Namur
Hostellerie St. Roch Comblain (Liege)

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Danish Hotels

Hvide Hus Aalborg 00 45 98 13 8400  
Plaza Hotel  Aarhus 00 45 873 2 0 100 
Admiral Hotel Copenhagen 00 45 33 74 14 14
Ascot Hotel Copenhagen 00 45 331 26000
Copenhagen Star Hotel Copenhagen 00 45 33 22 11 00
Sonkerho Kro Island of Fano
Falsled Kro Fyn
City Hotel Odense 00 45 873 20 100

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Finish Hotels

FINNISH COUNTRY HOLIDAYS   Allow dogs in all their hotels, holiday centres and camping areas
RESTEL Hotel group 37 Hotels All accept dogs
RIVOLI HOTEL Espoo group Various  
SCANDIC HOTELS Almost all their hotels accept dogs

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French Hotels

Domaine de Belesbat Boutigny sur Essone
Grand Hotel des Thermes Brides les Bains (very dog friendly with a special menu)  
Royal Champagne Epernay royalchampagne@relais&
Chateau de la Bourdaisiere Montlouis sur Loire
Hotel de Crillon Paris 0800 18 11 23
Pont Royal Paris
Chateau de Montreuil Pas-de-Calais montreuil@relais&   A lovely hotel near Calais and Channel Tunnel
Hotel de la Plage Plonevez, Finistere  laplage@relais& Extra charge for dogs
La Rosiere Le Relais du Petit St. Bernard The hotel owns several Saint Bernards
Auberge de l'Eridan Veyrier, Haute Savoie veyrat@relais&   Extra cost for pets
Imperial Palace 74000 Annecy 04 50 09 30 03  
Hotel Des Chenes Pujol
Extra cost for pets
French Self Catering Location Contact Comments
Alize Cottages Puivert,Aude
No restrictions or extra charges for pets, number to be agreed at time of booking

Chateau Hotel Mont Royal, La Chapelle en Serval 
Just a short drive from Paris is this hotel in the heart of the forest of Chantilly. Step outside its doors and there are walks galore in the woods; it is so dog-friendly that Catherine Maligne says many clients come here regularly for short breaks 'to give the dog a holiday'. One 82 year old and his sheepdog are regular features of the hotel.   

Hotel Ermitage, Evian
Built in what the French call the 'charming English country style', this hotel is surrounded by gardens, and famous for its restaurant.

Grand Hotel de la Reine, Nancy  
If you haven't visited Nancy, the main square of Place Stanislas is a treat in store, and the hotel occupies an 18th century palace on the corner. Stanislas was a King in exile, who made this city, and in particular this square, his pride and joy. Wrought iron gateways and fences surround the perimeter, gilded so that they glisten like fairy cobwebs. As the hotel says, its '48 rooms are lovingly furnished in the Louis XV style'.  00 33 3 83 35 03 01  

Lille makes a very good stop on the way to and from the Channel ports, and Vera Dupis, the Tourism Officer, is a member of the Whippet Club of Great Britian (00 33 3 20 21 94 21) and can recommend superb dog-friendly B & Bs with antiques, en-suite bathrooms etc. The following hotels are dog-friendly: 
Hotel Carlton 03 02 13 33 13
Mercure Lille Centre 03 20 147 147
Grand Hotel Bellevue 03 20 57 45 64
Hotel De La Paix 03 20 54 63 93

The Avesnois region is just outside Lille, within a short drive from the ports, and has wonderful dog-friendly scenery. Severine Humblet of the Tourist Board can book dog-friendly Gites (self-catering accommodation usually owned by private owners).

Contact her on
Tel: 03 23 61 48 48
Fax: 03 27 61 48 40.

The hotels in the region are mostly small and run by the owners and their family. Amongst those that happily accept dogs are:

Les Paturelles 03 27 61 22 22
Chateau de la Motte 03 27 61 81 94
La Petite Suisse du Nord 03 21 61 64 60
Le Grand Hotel 03 27 64 63 16
Shakespeare 03 27 65 14 14
Hotel de la Poste 03 27 64 65 34
Hotel de Provence 03 27 64 79 30
Hotel du Marquais 03 27 61 62 72
L'auberge Fleurie 03 27 61 62 48

Chain Hotels:

IBIS 03 27 60 21 54
Formule 1 03 27 64 48 00
Comfort'Inn Prievere 03 27 62 15 00
Campanile 03 27 64 00 91

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German Hotels

Hotel Schlossberg Aizenau-Wasserloe 00 49 8023 1058    
Hotel am Schloss Alzey, Rheinhessen 00 49 6731 8658    
Goldene Krone Amberg 00 49 9621 22994  
Schlosshotel Arolsen, Sauerland 00 49 5691 8080  
Augsburger Hof Augsburg 00 49 821 314083  
Hotel Hanslehof Bad Durrhelm 00 49 7726 6670  
Hotel Tanneck Baden-Baden 00 49 7221 23035  
Hotel Adlon Berlin 00 49 30 22 61 10 02  
Kempinski Hotel Bristol Berlin 00 49 30 884 347 00  
Taschenbergpalais Dresden 00 49 351 49 12 500   
Kempinski Estepona 00 34 95 280 9501  
Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch Frankfurt 00 49 6102 5050  
Hotel Adler Hausern, Black Forest Extra cost
Eden Wolff Munich  
Vier Jahreszeiten Munich 00 49 89 21 25 2601  
Hotel Walters Hof Rottach-Egern 00 49 8022 2770    

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Gibraltar Hotels

Rock Gibraltar

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Greece Hotels

Although this country is in the scheme, it can be very, very hot and unsuitable for British dogs in the summer.  Many hotels are closed in the winter, but for up-to-date information phone 0207-734-5997.

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Icelandic Hotels

Hotel Holt Rejkjavik  

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Italian Hotels

Mulino dell'Opera Casetta, Vitiana
Hotel Mirandola Passo Tonale, Trentino Tel. 00 39 0364-903933
Sport Hotel Vittoria Passo Tonale, Trentino
L'Albereta Erbusco, Lombardy
Hotel Villa del Quar Pedemonte, Veron

Camping Levico
Camping Levico is an award winning camp site by the side of the Levico Lake, where guests return year after year. As you check in you see on the wall a large notice listing guests expected that week who are coming for their tenth time or more. The lake has every sort of water-sport, and of course good swimming, and is ideally placed for superb walks in the mountains, visiting the city of Trento, etc.

Self-catering - 00 39 0577 576 330
The Cuendet Agency specialise in self-catering farm villas, flats and even castles, in quiet areas. 60% of the properties have a swimming pool. According to owner Andre Cuendet, "our clients, above all, want peace and tranquillity". He and his wife have two Newfoundlands, and have produced a special DOgs Welcome brochure. Unlike most agencies they charge for their inch-thick brochure (£3) with a superb selection of properties. Each year Cuendet guarantees to plant trees equivalent to the amount used printing their brochure, and the companies' policy of charging ensures that people don't ask for a brochure just to throw it away. You can order the brochure by credit card.

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Hotels in Netherlands

Pulitzer Amsterdam
Landgoed Lauswolt Beetsterzwaag (Friesland)
Collse Hoeve Nuenen (Eindhoven)
Apple Park Maastricht
Koningshof Veldhoven
Manoir Inter Scaldes Kruiningen (Zealand)

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Norwegian Hotels

Bergen Hotel Bergen 00 47 55 23 39 62
Bergen Gjastohus Bergen 00 47 55 31 96 06
First Hotel Marin Bergen 00 47 55 30 80 00
Victoria Bergen 00 47 55 31 50 30
Hotel Bondeheimen   Oslo 00 47 22 42 95 20
Savoy Oslo 00 47 22 20 26 55
Radisson Plaza Oslo 00 47 22 17 10 00
Radisson Atlantic Stavanger 00 47 51 76 10 00
Scandic Hotel Stavanger 00 47 51 52 63 34  
Comfort Home Tromso 00 47 77 88 70 00
Grand Nordic Hotel Tromso 00 47 77 68 55 00
Scandic Hotel Tromso 00 47 77 67 34 00
Ambassador Trondheim 00 47 73 52 70 50
Astoria Trondheim 00 47 73 52 95 50

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Portugese Hotels

Quinta das Lagrimas Coimbra

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Spanish Hotels

Caleta Park S'Agaro 00 34 972 320 012
Hostal de la Gavina S'Agaro 0800 18 11 23
La Gabina S'Agaro 00 34 972-321 100
Torre del Remei Bolvir (Girona)
Kempinski Resort Hotel Estepona 00 34 95 280 9500
El Fuerte Marbella 00 34 95 286 1500
Praxa Palma, Mallorca 00 34 971 731 640

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Swedish Hotels

Bomans Hotel Bomans 00 46 156 525 00
Halltorps Gastgifveri Island of Oland 00 46 485 850 00
Sunds Herrgard Nr. Jonkoping 00 46 36 820 06
Kragga Herrgard Uppsala lan

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Swiss Hotels

Hilton Basel  
Host. du Pas de L'Ours Crans-Montana  
Hotel Victoria Glion  
Hostellerie Alpenrose Schonried-Gstaad  
Victoria Jungfrau Interlaken  
Walserhof Klosters (Prince Charles stays here)
Ballances et Bellevue Lucerne S.Frs. 15 per night
Vieux Manoir au Lac Murten-Meyriez  
Grandhotel Schonegg Zermatt  

The tourist board in Lenk is so dog-friendly that they sponsor dog sled races every January, where guests can spend the previous week learning how to 'mush', and then join the novices in the races - leaving the top ones to the pros. Dogs walk up and down the streets, and there are wonderful walks in the mountains. Taking a cable car trip one summer's day, every family we looked down on had a dog with them. The following hotels can all be booked through the Tourist Board on 00 41 33 733 31 31. 

Sporthotel Betelberg
Has a reputation for good food amongst the locals, and prices are much less than in Britian. All of these hotels are dog and family-friendly, and have deals and discount cards for the Spa baths, cable cars etc. Lenkehof, Simmenhof, Wildstrubel, Krone, Residence, Waldrand, Mittaghorn, Zum Grade, Simmenfalle, Garni-Hotel Alpenruh, Garni-Hotel Alpina, Garni-Hotel Edelwriss. 

Hostellerie de la Vendee Petit-Lancy (Geneva suburbs) - 00 41 22 792 0411
Mr Jo Righetto, the owner, speaks excellent English with a lovely sense of humour. We fell into this hotel by chance, and luckily were too tired to go back into the centre of Geneva for dinner. Sitting in the Conservatory, all came right with the world when a bottle of delicious Swiss wine appeared, followed by a superb meal. Double with buffet breakfast £88. Dogs £6. There is a garage. 

Hotel Victoria-Jungfrau, Interlaken
This is one of the great hotels of Switzerland - and they welcome well-behaved dogs! It was build in the 19th Century to accommodate the British who came here to look at the mountains - and climb them. Stepping step out on the balcony you see what drew our ancestors: the view of the Jungfrau is spectacular. Apart from this, the hotel has a marvellous Spa with indoor swimming pool, indoor tennis courts, pianists playing in the background every evening as you sip your drink in one of the elegant bars, and the Terrace Restaurant with its famous  'Singing Waiters', each evening. The Terrace is fun, with delicious food and twinkling lights adding sparkle to the glass conservatory. If you want to be good they have a Spa menu with incredible low-calorie dishes. (Around £23 - £30 pp) but you must book. There are lots of individual touches, such as each room has a hand mirror you can take away with you - I am looking at mine now. And the hotel faces the Hoehematte where you can walk the dog. Definitely worth a visit.  Prices 420 - 640 Sfs for a double - twice the size of your ordinary hotel room.

Hotel Carlton, Interlaken  
Owner Werner Affentranger likes dogs and speaks perfect English.  The hotel has a welcoming lounge with English language books to read. Good buffet breakfast sets you up for the day. Moderate prices for a hotel in the centre and near to the Jungfrau Railway station.  33 822 38 21

Hotel Royal St. Georges, Interlaken - 00 41 33 822 75
With Tosca, who belongs to the Kurzen family, as resident 'guest relations manager', other canines are made very welcome. There is a lovely garden bordering the river, and the famous Hoehematte, the protected open space that was bought by the townsfolk, is within a minute's walk. It's elegantly furnished in turn-of-the century Art Nouveau style, and is run by the Kurzen family. There is a buffet breakfast, and children are also welcome. Double with bath 160 - 290 Sfs. 

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Other Useful Contacts

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0870 241 1710  
Eurotunnel 0990 35 35 35   
P & O Stena Line 0870 600 0600
P and O Portsmouth  0870-24 24 999
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