This article first appeared in The Times SA on 6 December 2017
I couldn’t resist the Tweet. “We love animals” it said, “so much so that RED is a #PetFriendly hotel.” So I called them on it, scooped up Franky the Frenchie and checked into Radisson RED, the stylish new bastion of anti beige in the swanky Silo District at the V&A Waterfront.
Pet friendly travel is a thing
Stats have shown that travelling with pets has grown exponentially in recent years and comprises one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel industry. Over the past decade, Americans have dropped upwards of $50 billion on their animals, and budgets have been boosted to include pets in the vacay plans as more and more people the world over opt to take their four legged companions along for the ride. Hoteliers, marketers and PR’s have tweaked accommodation offerings and even curated tour packages, realising that if they accept an owner’s pet, they’ll have a patron for life. It’s one of the best ways to build brand loyalty.
Ask around in Cape Town though and it quickly becomes evident that not everyone is keen on having beasties for sleepovers. Finding an establishment that will accept a reservation that includes Fluffy is more challenging than finding a flea on a llama. Fortunately, Radisson RED has stepped up, gone for the glaring gap in the market and smartly upstaged the competition.
It’s a Dog’s life!
When Franky’s little bulldog butt waddled into the rouge reception, Baxter the Boston came bounding across the floor, resident terrier, hotel mascot and the cutest canine concierge you’ll ever meet. (RR supports the Boston Terrier Rescue Network as well!). After initial puppy posturing and nose to derrière formalities were out the way, he retired to his studio apartment for a dog nap in a designer bed in a room with killer views across the dry dock, Signal Hill and Table Mountain. All the comforts a mutt could wish for were laid out for him, from biltong and biscuit treats to toys and a dog menu for his Mom to peruse from the OUIBar + KITCHN. As Curator Dale Simpson put it, “we are proud and excited to be pet friendly and to meet all the furries and fluffies!”
Radisson RED is a statement in vibrant innovation. Architecturally, it sensitively considers the surrounding Dockland’s industrial heritage and structurally relates well to adjacent buildings like BOE and the striking Zeitz MOCCA Museum that share the prime real estate that is Silo 6. The vibrant interior showcases the handiwork of top innovators like Cameron Platter and Haldane Martin and appeals to a target traveller demographic and in-crowd with a millennial mind set and an eye for sophistication sans pretension. Employees, called Creatives, work the floor in black sweaters emblazoned with a red stag, and porters are styled in denim kilts, a sexy throwback to the chic G&V Hotel in Edinburgh where Simpson used to be GM.
With an easy-to-navigate App and super fast complimentary WiFi, RED living is easy and every need is met at the tap of a gadget. Tech is king, but if it’s personal interaction you want, it’s personal interaction you’ll get.
Before you pack you pet though and head downtown, peruse the house rules that will ensure mutual respect from fellow guests and management, and win many a pat of approval. Size counts and potential doggy customers must weigh in at no more than 8kg. Dogs can’t be left in their suites alone – after all this is a hotel, not a canine kindergarten – and when out and about for walkies, they should be on a leash at all times. Gentler, sociable breeds are preferred, and should be obedient to a point where Barbara Woodhouse would be proud. Number Ones and Twos happen off-site on the lawn opposite the RED and if your pooch poops, accidentally or on purpose, remember to scoop. If all this is manageable to you, then you may enter RED confidently with your VIPet and there’ll be a warm RED welcome waiting.
“Radisson RED embraces freedom, flexibility, fun…” If there’s one more ‘f’ to add, it should be fur right? All things considered, at RED it’s a dog’s life after all.
Until next time,