CAPE TOWN – Jurassic Bark, Pupeye the Sailor, Dogald Trump… these are just some of the creative names of suites at Cape Town’s most talked-about new hotel.
And as you might have guessed, the clientele is exclusively canine.
Boasting themed rooms, plush bedding, an a la carte menu, high tech toilets and even DStv, this establishment may well be the poshest pooch hotel in the country.
AtFrits Dog Hotel and Daycare only opened its doors on 1 December, but it is already firmly on the city pet owner’s map.
Boasting 20% occupancy before even officially opening or advertising, with bookings well into February, AtFrits owner Yanic Klue seems to have struck gold.
And if it looks like she has an uncanny knack for knowing exactly what her guests want, it’s no coincidence.
While studying for her MBA at Stellenbosch University five years ago, Klue saw a newsletter about new global trends featuring a dog hotel in Orlando.
She told a friend right there and then that one day she would open her own dog hotel.
“It was my dream ultimately – for five years that’s all that I’ve done or thought about, even though I had a real proper job as well.”
Her ‘proper job’ was in the hospitality industry and her five years of experience at a nearby hotel, combined with her passion for her own dogs, has resulted in her finally unleashing all her combined talents to create a pooch paradise.
WATCH: The furnishing and decor inside the AtFrits Dog Hotel is fit for four-legged guests with a taste for the finer things in life.
“The entire dog hotel is literally based on the business model of a human hotel,” Klue explains.
“It’s open 24/7, staffed 24/7, we do turn-downs every night at 7pm for the dogs, make sure that their beds are nice and comfy – really just to make sure that the hygiene of the human hotel is like the hygiene is at the dog hotel.”
But Klue’s passion for her six dogs – including hotel namesake Frits – is obviously the secret ingredient.
By understanding that owners miss their dogs and remembering her own requests for dog-sitters to send regular pictures, the visual link as a vital component to the mix.
“The aim of the dog hotel is to make sure that we look after other people’s dogs the same way that I would like people to look after my dog. And that’s the reason for the security that we have, for the cameras that we have.
“It sounds like a cliché if someone says a home away from home, but this is really a home away from home. If not sometimes better! Because everything here is about the dogs – the dogs are my guests and I speak on behalf on them and everything that we do in the hotel is on behalf of the dogs.
“What is important for us as well is to copy whatever is happening at home, so therefore we have a concierge service so you can have a one-on-one walk with your dog on Lion’s Head, or you can have a one-on-one walk with your dog on the beach…”
By this point you’re probably wondering whether this hound heaven has a price tag from hell, but Klue says there are different rates to cater for different needs – whether you’re looking for a day-long dog sitting service while you’re at work, or a long-term luxury stay while you’re on holiday.
“We made sure that in the hotel we have a price range that can suit everyone’s pocket, from a most basic rate in the dog dormitory that’s R250 per night, all the way up to the platinum suite, which is R500.”
Klue says current clients include people from all walks of life – some who simply take advantage of the daycare service while they’re at work, as well as overseas tourists who have checked in to a nearby hotel and pick up their pooch each morning.
Crucially, a dog behaviourist is on the premises to screen each animal in order to place it in the most appropriate playpen. Dogs deemed too aggressive are also not welcome.
Bookings may be streaming in, but Klue still has one more goal in sight – to make AtFrits’ five star status official and become the first graded dog hotel in the world.