The term ‘boutique hotel’ is thrown around a lot these days and most of the time it is used incorrectly. Some chain hotels even call themselves ‘boutique’ thinking that it will make them stand out from the crowd. Well what really is a boutique hotel?
Anyone that travels a lot for business or pleasure knows how impersonal and generic the service and accommodation can be at a large chain hotel. Every room is decorated the same, the bored staff ignore you after checked in, and there are none of the comforts of home in your cookie cutter style room. Travellers that have grown weary of this are now choosing to stay in a boutique hotel instead.
This phenomenon started in the early eighties when the first boutique hotel was created and since then they have steadily grown in popularity and can now be found all over the world. A boutique hotel has many characteristics that make it different from the large impersonal hotel chains such as unique architecture, fewer and themed rooms, individual service, and a friendly laid-back vibe.
They are usually found in exciting areas of the city or can also be a separate entity found in a large resort and their architecture sets them apart from the other buildings. This could be cutting edge and modern, or perhaps a heritage building that has been refurbished to incorporate the original features of the era that it was built in, or even an eco-friendly design that blends with its surroundings instead of being a blight on the landscape.
A boutique hotel is usually smaller and more intimate, having anything from 10 to 100 rooms. They are always decorated imaginatively, whether that is around a theme or not, they are designed to inspire. Rooms often contain exciting features such as hot tubs, stereos, docking stations, video games for kids, state of the art showers and do not forget the gourmet snacks and beverages on offer. The furnishings will be luxurious and the beds and bedding top notch, guaranteeing you a blissful night’s sleep. As for the facilities of boutique hotel itself, well expect to find such delights as bowling alleys and cinemas!
The staff should be warm and hospitable and will often call you by your first name if you so desire. You will receive individual service that makes you feel welcome, relaxed and important. There are no large, impersonal lobbies or massive check in desks that have long queues of guests checking in and out. But it’s the details that really count, those little extras that make all the difference, like finding the newspaper of your choice waiting at the breakfast table for you.
Boutique hotels come in a wide range of prices and they market themselves to design conscious and savvy individuals. So do your research and try and find somewhere a little bit different for your next trip…you won’t regret it!