It took us a while to find Rivington Pike "dog hotel" as its at the end of a long, potholed country lane. It has a nice view, but that's about it.
On arrival it looks just like a house with some kennels in the garden. There is no obvious reception area and the gate to the front door was adorned with a sign saying "I can make it to the gate and jump over it in 3 seconds. Can you?" Alongside a picture of an aggressive dog. Welcoming or what?
Just as we were debating whether to ring the door bell, a guy appeared looking like he'd been sucking lemons. I smiled and said: "hi, we'd just like to have a look around the kennels if that's ok?" He scowled and replied with "You'll have to be quick because we're closed". Wow, how's that for customer service? The Rivington Pike Dog Hotel website says they're open 9-5 on a Saturday and that "You are of course very welcome to visit us for an inspection before making the important decision of which boarding kennels your pets will stay at while you're away."
Really? Then why are you looking at me like I've just shit in your garden, Mr Brindle?
So, we decided we'd view the kennels after the effort it took to find them, but if this is how the owner treats potential customers, how does he treat the dogs he's meant to be looking after?
We opened the front gate and were "greeted" by two huge Dogue de Bordeaux. The owner had already disappeared round the corner, leaving the dogs basically blocking our path. No way were we taking our tiny dog onto their territory while the owner wasn't there to control them. So again, I stayed outside while my girlfriend viewed the kennels.
She came back after only a minute, shaking her head. The owner had basically pointed at the kennels and said "There". The indoor section of the kennels was in darkness with no artificial or natural lighting. They were also very narrow, only the width of the door. There is no secure outside area where dogs can be exercised. I assume they are taken on walks on the potholed dirt track we'd driven on. In places this is only just wide enough for one car, so not really safe for dog walking.
This is assuming that the dogs are walked at all, as they seemed to get hysterical (much more so than at the other kennels) while my girlfriend was looking at them.
The Rivington Pike boarding kennels website claims that they include "radio and TV to recreate your family environment". We saw absolutely no evidence of this.
While I was waiting outside, a gentle breeze coming from the direction of the kennels brought the pleasant scent of...urine. So not particularly clean then either.
We beat a hasty retreat to the car. The owner and his wife then appeared and approached their car, looking as if they were about to drive off somewhere and leave the dogs unattended. Bizarrely, at this point, the owner started berating his wife over something and she disappeared back inside the house.
As i turned the car around, Mr Brindle just kept staring at us. I looked at him, shook my head and drove off down the lane, with his eyes burning into the back of our heads.
If you didn't read all that, then let me just say this. If you care about your dog, please don't take it to Rivington Pike boarding kennels/ dog hotel. The owner is so surly to humans, I dread to think how he is with dogs. The kennels are much smaller than others we have seen and are not well lit. It's not particularly clean. There's no proper area for exercise of your dog and the dogs did not seem happy at all.
Read my review of Glenbrittle boarding kennels.