Limo service and mud masks… for dogs

Pamper your pooch at this five star pet hotel, where furkids can get ‘pawdicures’, swim in bone shaped pools and sleep in orthopaedic faux leather memory foam beds

Image from The Straits Times

Stepping into The Wagington lobby, guests are greeted by plush leather chairs, a sparkling Egyptian crystal chandelier, faux marble flooring and a light floral scent.

If not for the paw print merged with the letter W in the logo at the entrance, you may think you have just entered a five-star hotel or exclusive spa.

And that is true, except this is no place for humans. It is a luxury hotel for man's best friend - and cats are also welcome.

The 4,317 sq ft The Wagington Luxury Pet Hotels & Resorts had its soft launch today. Located in Loewen Road, the renovated 1920s black-and-white colonial two-storey bungalow is nestled among a contemporary arts museum and upscale restaurants at Dempsey Hill.

Not your run-of-the-mill pet hotel, owner Estelle Tayler sought to create a "five-star premium luxury experience in a central location" for pets to reside in while their owners are out of the country.

"We have a clean beautiful home, a comfortable bed when we are away - your best friend should be left in a place that's just like home. If we deserve the best in life, shouldn't your most loyal companion deserve it equally?" she points out.

Ms Tayler has an English bulldog, Bobo, and it is the mascot and inspiration behind The Wagington, with bulldog statues and portraits scattered throughout the hotel.

There are no cages or kennels on the premises. Instead, the hotel has 27 air-conditioned suites - 24 for dogs and three for cats.

Each pet will be able to rest in comfort after a day of play in the roomy suites that range from 15 to 96 sq ft, which can house up to three dogs depending on the size of the canine.

Image from The Straits Times

Faux leather orthopaedic pet beds made of BioMedic memory foam, blankets, pee pads and water bowls are available in each room.

For owners who demand nothing but the best for their "furkid", there is the Royal Suite - the equivalent of the presidential suite in a hotel for humans.

The largest room at 96 sq ft, the Royal Suite is adorned with royal blue baroque wallpaper and a crystal chandelier adds a touch of grandeur. There is a 32-inch LED television for pets inclined to watch animal films such as Hotel For Dogs.

Owners are expected to provide whatever food their pets will eat throughout the stay, though they can also browse through an in-room menu for gourmet meals that include kangaroo, rabbit and frog meat.

Image from The Straits Times

During the day, pets can socialise in a 1,600 sq ft garden laid out in synthetic hypoallergenic turf or take a plunge into the bone-shaped swimming pool outdoors.

Owners can also indulge their pets in spa and salon services, including an aromatherapy facial and head massage, "pawdicure" and four types of mud masks to suit different skin types. The facilities are available to any pet customers and not just hotel guests.

With premium service comes a premium price.

The cheapest room for a dog, the Junior Suite, starts at $115 and the cost stretches up to $350 for a night's stay in the Royal Suite.

This is at least double the minimum cost of housing a dog in other pet hotels islandwide.

"We are catering to a more exclusive market willing to pay more to ensure the best for their pet," says Ms Tayler, who is Singaporean and the director of an events company as well.

Forking out about $700,000 for the establishment, the 31-year-old chose not to scrimp on necessities such as ionisers and filtration systems to ensure a stink and dirt-free environment. The ventilation system was the most costly expense at $83,000.

Not just any pet is allowed in though. Prior to checking in, Ms Tayler and her seven-man staff will ensure that pets are vaccinated and free of fleas, ticks and mites. Dogs will have to undergo a temperament test too, as there is a strict no aggressive-dogs policy.

In the past few weeks, a number of nearby residents walking their dogs had popped by to take a look and already have plans to use the facilities, shares Ms Tayler.

One such pet owner, Ms Aileen Lane, "wouldn't mind staying in the hotel" herself.

"It's just beautiful, and since it used to be a house, my two pet dogs will be able to run around in the garden freely and go for a paddle in the pool. We usually struggle with finding a place for our dogs when we travel as most of the other hotels house them in kennels," says Ms Lane, who is in her early 40s and has two miniature dachshunds.

Fellow pet owner Tan Qing Hui, 26, however, thinks the steep prices are needless.

"Paying over $100 a night for my pets is just too much. They are not going to appreciate the fancy decor and grandeur of their temporary lodging.

"All I need is for my dogs to be safe and well taken care of when I'm away," says the research writer, who has two dogs, a schnauzer and a mixed breed.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on November 5, 2014. For similar stories, go to You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.