Emmerdale actor opens boutique hotel for dogs in Highgate

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 April 2014

Jamie Belman in his new doggy day care shop in Swain's Lane. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Jamie Belman in his new doggy day care shop in Swain's Lane. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

An Emmerdale actor has given up the stage to open an exclusive hotel and members’ club in Highgate with just one catch – it’s only for dogs only.

VIP pooches will be treated like Hollywood A-listers at The Wag Club, a one-stop shop for all things canine. Owners can drop off their pets at a doggy day care centre while they work, or check them into the shop’s hotel when they go on holiday. It also offers dog grooming, pet photography and a dog walking service.

Jamie Belman, who played Michael Conway in the soap, opened the shop with business partner and cousin Steven Harris earlier this month.

“I was working over in the States for a while and I brought my little dog over there,” said Mr Belman, 33, of Hemstal Road, West Hampstead. “It’s a huge business there, especially in LA. But here we don’t really have anything like it.

“When I came back to London, I was doing some filming and I called a lot of places saying that I needed somewhere to leave my dog for a couple of hours, but with all of them, it was a categorical ‘no’.

“That didn’t work for me so I decided to do something about it.”

Taking its name from legendary Soho nightclub The Wag, the centre houses up to 10 dogs.

Dogs are looked after for as much, or as little time as customers need, and are walked twice a day on Hampstead Heath.

Staff will even pick up and drop off pets from home with their Wag Club taxi service.

Mr Belman, who has also starred in Shameless and The Bill, said he took a break from acting to open the shop after falling out of love with the job while working in the US a few years ago. With his business partner he then started looking around Hampstead Heath for the perfect location to start his doggy day care dream.

He settled on a shop in the Swain’s Lane shopping parade, which is due for redevelopment.

Despite the risk of being turfed out of the property if a planning application to demolish and rebuild the parade is approved by council planners, he said the location was too good to pass up.

“I wanted to be near the Heath,” Mr Belman said. “I wanted somewhere where there would be lots of dogs around.

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