Whether it’s cold, wet and miserable or sunny, dry and bright, you simply can’t beat a cosy, country getaway. However finding a luxury retreat which is dog-friendly as well as stylish, cute and comfortable is often problematic. But I am here to tell you it does exist, and it’s in Hertfordshire!
Who would have thought that nestled in the pretty village of Cottered, near Buntingford, are two quirky, peaceful hideaways. Welcome to Bethnal & Bec; two luxury self-catering retreats, beautifully furnished and offering everything you could possibly want from an overnight break, and I mean everything!
Fletcher, my husband and I checked-in on a wet and stormy afternoon. Entry was by code and easy to navigate from the instructions I’d been emailed. Fletcher squealed with excitement.
We were in the property less than 30 seconds before Fletcher demanded to go in the fenced garden, home to a firepit and hot tub. Beyond this is a 1.5 acre and relatively secure field which he thoroughly enjoyed running around.
We stayed in Bethnal which ticked all the boxes for an overnight stay; think warm and cosy, a crackling log fire, freestanding bubble bath, vinyl record player, comfy bed and Netflix. It’s self-catering but essentials are supplied such as bread, milk and eggs. The fridge, freezer and pantry is fully stocked if you wish to purchase more. There’s also a dine-in menu available by pre-order. In addition there’s the option of a private chef, in-room beauty treatments and celebratory hampers.
Fletcher was fully catered for too. On arrival there was a box full of everything you’ll need for your pet; towels, bed, bowls, treats, a toy and shampoo should your pooch get extra muddy on one of the surrounding country walks. There’s also a shared portable doggy shower. Further items such as Pawesco and dog beer can be purchased from the dog-friendly pantry section.
Fletcher wasted no time devouring the dried fish snacks. A treat I’ve bought him in the past that he refused to eat, but Bethnal & Bec’s offering was far tastier. However it wasn’t long before he turned his attention to the box of sticks and kindle for the fire. It’s no secret Fletcher is obsessed with sticks and he generally thought they had been provided for him to chew on. He was in heaven!
Once we’d wrestled a log out of his mouth, we settled for an evening in front of the fire and watched a film. Despite the frightful weather, we popped on our bobble hats, poured a glass of wine and had a dip in the hot tub – bliss!
During the evening I let Fletcher outside into the garden…only for him to disappear. My husband had the left the gate open. He blamed the gale force wind. I panicked and ran, screaming, bare foot and in my pyjamas, into the dark and pouring rain to find him. Luckily he hadn’t gone far and was busy sniffing nearby – phew!
Fletcher safely indoors, we turned in for the night. Understandably dogs are not allowed on the bed (unless you bring your own bedding by prior arrangement), but Fletcher was allowed on the sofa if covered by the towels and throws supplied.
If Fletcher sleeps in the room with us, he thinks it’s acceptable to play ball at 3am. Both my husband and I were woken up by him desperate to play in the early hours of the morning. We kept our eyes firmly shut and prevented him from jumping on the bed. He retired back to the sofa with a huge huff and puff. Then kicked off the cushions in protest.
In the morning we had breakfast while looking out across frosty fields. Fletcher had a final play in the paddock, before he decided to gatecrash my shower. He pushed the sliding bathroom door open and hopped in the double walk-in shower. Honestly, you can’t do anything in peace with a spaniel around!
Bethnal and Bec prices vary, starting at under £150 per night for a 4 night midweek stay, and £165 per night for a 3 night weekend stay. Two medium and large, or up to three small dogs are allowed at £30 per booking.
For information on Bethnal & Bec visit www.bethnalandbec.com