Bed & Biscuits is a luxury hotel in Bahrain. For dogs!
Time Out Bahrain staff
Dog lover and pet hotel manager Julija talks to us about her newest venture in Bahrain, Bed & Biscuits.
Bed & Biscuits, Bahrain’s first ‘pet hotel’, is such a novel idea. How did you come up with it?
We always dreamed to have something related to animals as we’ve always been raising them and caring for them. For Bed & Biscuits in particular, and the name itself, we want to let people know that we are not a kennel for animals; we simply provide their pets with a hotel experience. What also encouraged us is the feedback of people and the appreciation of people when we care to our own pets, the way we treat them, the way we live with them and they live with us, we thought that there is a demand for us in the market, so we jumped in.
Tell us about the launch process. How easy or hard was it to get everything up and running?
Mostly, the biggest challenge is security and hygiene. We were actually ready to open in the beginning of summer but we did not because we wanted to test the place. We brought our own dogs here, friend’s dogs and cats and so on. We tested every little detail – the drains, the air conditioning, the swimming pool, the fences. When we saw that everything is ready for a proper launch, we launched [in mid-October 2014].
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? In training, many dogs are coming with extreme anxiety due to having been previously abused or abandoned or taken away from their mummy at an early age. Those situations are the most challenging ones and, gladly, we have succeeded in many of them.
You offer many services from boarding to grooming, vet care to pet relocation – which service is most in demand? We were surprised with the high demand in training. In fact, Bed & Biscuits training school had to stop taking bookings just two weeks after launch, particularly as our prices are very reasonable. Also boarding demand is very high and it’s worth noting that the Bed & Biscuits capacity is not very huge for one reason – being huge means less time for each pet. Being reasonable in capacity means more care and time and love for pets. We want the pets here to have fun, to enjoy their stay, to go back home wagging their tails.
What does the accommodation package include? It’s not a crate, it’s not a kennel. Each dog room or cat room has either a private balcony or a private window with a view to the playgrounds, classical music is played in the background at all times, all dogs have their playtime, agility practise, they socialise with other dogs, they have grooming and bath time, swimming time and more. The diet includes the highest quality pet food in the market and for pets that refuse to eat due to the stress of being away from their owners, we provide them with special care and vitamins to open their appetite. The bottom line is that each pet is treated based on the pet’s needs.
It can be difficult for owners to leave their pets. How do you put peoples’ minds at ease? We often update owners about their pets, daily or once every two days. We send them photos, videos, updates about their feeding, their health issues, their new friends and so on. We don’t wait for owners to check on their pets.
How do you ensure a safe and eco-friendly environment? CCTV, 24/7 attendance, we use pet-friendly pest control products that we import from the UK, we use virus disinfectants every day in the facility, and to add more power to the security team, we have deployed three of our highly trained German Shepherd dogs.
What kind of team have you put together? Anyone who has direct contact with pets are professionals of many years. The trainers are the ones who handle all dogs that are boarding; our trainers are from India, well known and have degrees from the Dog Whisperers training school. Even cleaners have three months of training with us and the rest of the team is us – myself, my husband and the owner of the place Jassim. We simply can’t hand over this job to anyone. Al Burhama, Block 354, Road 5415, Building 398, firstname.lastname@example.org (1740 2350).