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Centara Testing Dog Holidays

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People love their dogs, and dogs love to romp in wide open spaces, so why don't more people take their dogs on holiday with them?

The answer of course is that hotel operators usually ban dogs from their premises. There are good reasons for this, mainly consideration for other guests and issues of hygiene, but in a villa-style resort and with responsible owners taking care of their pets, then maybe a doggie holiday is possible.

That at least is the thinking of Centara Hotels & Resorts, one of Thailand's largest hotel operators, who are piloting a scheme to gauge market response to those guests wanting to travel on a vacation with their pet dogs.

"This of course is not realistic with many of our properties," said Operations Manager, Paul Snow. "But we do feel that in certain of our beachside resorts, where guests are staying in ground floor accommodation that has immediate access to the gardens or the beach, it would be possible for dog owners to bring along their pets without causing any inconvenience to other guests ... We are therefore testing this out at two resort properties and if it works we may extend the concept to other resorts."

The two resort hotels that have been selected are X2 Hua Hin Kui Buri Villas, which stands in four acres of mature beachfront gardens near to Hua Hin and features just 23 villas, and Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat, occupying a pristine beachfront location with views across to Koh Chang.

Owners need to advise the resort during the booking process that they will be bringing their dogs, and the dog has to be shampooed before arrival.

Not all dogs are welcome however. The dog has to be a small to medium sized breed, weighing no more than 20 kilos, and should be well-trained. Owners must not leave their dogs unattended in their rooms, and the animal has to be kept on a leash at all times while within the resort. Dogs are not allowed to enter any restaurant, spa or other resort venue.

A fully refundable deposit of 2,000 Baht is payable in cash at check-in to cover any damage to the room, and the guest is responsible for cleaning up any "accidents" that occur within the resort grounds.

"The conditions are pure common sense and consideration for others," said Mr Snow. "If these are followed, then we feel that having their pet with them will enrich the holiday experience for dog owners ... A long walk with a dog through the countryside or along a pristine beach is thoroughly good exercise, and of course great fun for the children too, if this is a family holiday."

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