Philippe Leboeuf, general manager at Mandarin Oriental, Paris, talks about his ‘hotelier’ pet dog, Archie
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Archie Lewoof, my Border terrier, is always at Mandarin Oriental, Paris at least one day a week, on a Friday. He’s a lot of fun and we have guests asking when he will be around. I live about 15 minutes’ bike ride from the hotel and Archie knows how to follow me. He’s quite athletic and has no problem running along on the leash in the cycle lane.
First thing at the hotel I have the morning briefing. Archie sleeps at 9.15am, but then he comes with me to the bar. I let him off his leash and he sort of does the first ‘quality check’, because he goes around the entire space, and if there is one tiny piece of bread left, it will go! After that, I don’t have much time, so he is usually picked up by a dog-walking service. It’s quite a fancy one and he goes on a walk for three or four hours. Among his pals is the dog of fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa. I didn’t know that until I was invited to his house: he has three dogs and we talked and discovered we used the same dog-walking service. We looked at a video this service provides and there they were, walking along together. It was so cute. He has play dates with the best puppies in Paris!
Archie then comes back and I often have meetings, so he’s in either HR or with my PA; the two ladies, Stephanie and Sophie, kind of fight over who will have the dog. He is so adorable, like a little teddy bear. As well as members of staff, he sometimes interacts with the guests dogs, but Archie is very proprietorial and thinks he owns the place. However, guests’ dogs are extremely welcome: there is a welcome card that comes from Archie, which tells them the code of conduct; what they can and cannot do; that they are welcome everywhere except for The Spa and Sur Mesure, the gastronomic restaurant of Thierry Marx; and where to go for a little ‘jog’ in the Tuileries. We are only steps away from the gardens and also the Louvre. It’s a very pretty area for dogs from out of town and we are in the heart of the shopping district. If they make a left, they can go to Hermès to buy a new leash. Or there’s Goyard, where Archie got his beautiful collar.
We call our special room-service menu for dogs ‘Thierry Barx’ [officially, it’s The Posh Dog’s Menu]. Archie initially tasted all the food. We did make a few mistakes at first, though. We cooked the food [as if it were] for guests, a bit too hot for a dog, and Archie as the taster was not happy! At night we provide a little mat with the name of the guest’s dog embroidered on it. I have had clients sending me letters about how they love the this service.
On the menu – which follows on from the children’s menu (because a dog is like another child to us) – we have chicken breast, filet de boeuf, traditional Parisian ham and side orders such as basmati rice (that’s the one they cooked too hot!). If dogs like pasta we have penne, and if they are on a diet we have steamed seasonal vegetables or carrots. My chefs are very happy to cook all of that. It’s a dog’s life… and so it should be.