WHILE I can see what London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is trying to do by imposing a ‘bed tax’ on the Capital’s hotels, I tend to agree with Ufi Ibrahim the Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, that a bed tax in London would be an “absolute folly” and said that it would add additional costs for tourists, as well as harm already hard-pressed hospitality and tourism businesses, making it even harder for them to compete with overseas operators. Already one of the most expensive cities in the world, London could lose even more of its’ competitiveness.
ON THE OTHER SIDE of the coin, there is a restaurant in Madrid that really lives up to its’ name. The Robin Hood. Its mission is simple — to charge the rich and feed the poor. Paying customers at breakfast and lunch foot the bill for the restaurant to serve dinner to homeless people, free of charge! The restaurant opened in early December, and is run by an 80-year-old Catholic priest, Ángel García Rodriguez, whom everyone knows simply as “Padre Ángel.”
Outside, there’s a sign listing the house rules: Patrons are allowed to sing as they please, as long as it doesn’t disturb other customers. They can use the free wi-fi and borrow a cell phone if they need to make a call. They’re free to bring their own food and order only drinks, if they prefer. Or they can take over the kitchen for a birthday party or other special celebration.
WHO SAID IT WAS A CAT’S LIFE?
Among services being offered to cats (yes cats!) at Malaysia’s Catzonia – the “world’s first” five-star hotel for cats are Spas, Grooming services and temperature controlled rooms! Manned by feline-loving staff, the 35-bedroom cattery in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur promises to pamper pets while their owners are away. They even offer a ‘dating service’ for the female species!
These pampered pussies can stay in one of four room categories, including a VVIC (Very Very Important Cat) room – the hotel’s most luxurious offering. The VVIC room can fit up to 10 adult cats (or one mother cat and her kittens) and comes with three “king”-sized beds, a mini-playground, and a separate toilet. These special suites also come with CCTV, allowing anxious cat owners to monitor their pets 24 hours a day by using a phone app.
There are ‘lesser’ rooms, which can accommodate between three and seven cats, which come with either a “queen”, “double” or “single” bed and up to three feeding and cleaning sessions per day. Some have shower facilities.
The VVIC and VIC can also indulge in a range of grooming options including a “medicated grooming” service, which uses a special shampoo that help cure cats’ skin and clear out the fleas.
The cost of a stay between three hours and a year at Catzonia is priced from £4.50 per night.
A catalogue of services is of course available and every whim will be catered for. Prices vary according to category of room. This could be the catalyst for many more feline hotels to come. I wonder if they will open one in Cataluñya? (This column is not just thrown together dear reader)