The original building was constructed in 1852 for a surgeon at Addenbrookes hospital and was used as a family home until it was purchased by Cambridgeshire County Council. The building was then known as the Country Centre, offering a range of classes such as needlework, ballroom dancing and home economics.
The building was bought and converted into a hotel by the current owners in 1992 who carried out huge renovation and refurbishment works, creating Hotel Felix - the first four star, boutique hotel in Cambridge.
Hotel Felix takes its name from Saint Felix of Burgundy who was Apostle to the East Angles and the first person to introduce Latin Christianity to Cambridgeshire during the 7th century. Saint Felix also founded a number of schools in the area including The University of Cambridge.
The sculpture of the dog at the Hotel’s entrance was found in a dilapidated state within the grounds of the hotel. It is believed to be a reproduction of a Molossian dog and thought to be connected in some way to a civic monument in Epirus in North-western Greece. Similar sculptures around the world have been christened ‘The Dog of Alcibiades’ on account of its missing tail. It was the Athenian statesman Alciabiades who cut off the tail of his dog to give the Athenians something to make fun of other than them!
A similar reproduction of the dog has also been the focus of a successful campaign by the British Museum. There were fears that the marble sculpture would be taken abroad by a private collector until the National Art Collectors Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund raised the money needed to ensure the sculpture will stay in Britain, where it has been for 250 years.