Sultan, Tin Tin, Barney, and Leo seem to be enjoying the comforts of velvet beds, televisions, private balconies and a swimming pool. That these labradors, pugs, Huskies and mixed breeds live in twin-sharing rooms and suites is telling of how clients are growingly searching for better engagements for their pets. Critterati, the first five-star pet hotel in Gurugram, within 12,000 sq ft, spread across six floors, has a lounge, a restaurant, a salon and 24-hour medical facilities for canines.
As we make way into one of the 26 rooms, comprising family and balcony rooms, priced between Rs 999 and Rs 4,400 (inclusive of food and taxes), the sound of the television is palpable. “We wanted to recreate a homely atmosphere that these dogs are accustomed to,” says Deepak Chawla, founder of Critterati. The restaurant has a human-friendly cafe, with a separate eating area for dogs.
Day boarding for the pets is at Rs 199 an hour, for people who have important appointments. The in-house salon offers fancy haircuts, spa treatments and hour-long massages. A store dedicated to dog food and accessories is another highlight, with wedding clothes, such as Nehru jackets, lehengas, tuxedos, denim pants and frocks for dogs.
They have a staff of 42, including handlers and groomers. “Every dog handler and trainer working with us is a dog owner and the first question we ask them is whether they are dog lovers,” says manager Aditya Narang. The idea to open the luxury hotel struck Chawla, when Blackie, his German Shepherd, passed away after a skin infection from a blade during a grooming session. “I want to change the pet culture in India. The way people treat pets is not right. When people go out with them on the roads in the scorching heat, they wear shoes but take their dogs out barefoot. We will also be holding workshops in the future to equip pet owners with such knowledge.”
Last month, when undergraduate student Meher Luthra, 19, returned from the US, to travel with her parents in the country, she didn’t know where to leave her eight-and-a-half-year-old pug Tin Tin. “We faced problems every time we had to go out with the family. But Critterati has given us an alternative. The staff sends us photos and videos, and are available on call,” says Luthra. By popular demand, the hotel plans to open a floor dedicated entirely to cats. Until then, the dogs can rule the roost.