There are many different types and styles of hotels around the world. I often hear the term boutique with regard to hotels. So what does it really mean and why do people refer to hotels as boutique?
To discover the fact that people refer to hotels as “boutique” I looked at the origin of the word to help find out the true meaning.
A boutique is defined in the dictionary as a small luxury hotel that offers excellent services, often in a modern location, and another definition clarifies that the word originated from the United States of America and is used to describe hotels that provide a luxurious and unique environment for guests. They usually provide the guest with a more intimate and customized experience when compared to the larger, less personal chain hotels.
Although there are many different variations of a definition, there is a set of attributes that are repeated in most definitions. These characteristics are:
There are between 100 to 150 rooms, where the word "boutique" indicates that these hotels are very small. The size of the hotel helps encourage some other traits, such as the level of personal service.
Boutique hotels are separate or part of a small chain, so Hilton and Marriott cannot be included. They also have freestanding self-catering restaurants. This is completely different from traditional restaurants by leading chefs and serving high-quality food in a unique setting so that even locals can go to them.
Elegant and exotic design hotels often have a more distinct personality. Sometimes they will have a theme that works throughout the hotel. They are often decorated to reflect where they are, for example they may have artwork from local artists or food well known in this field.
A higher level of personal service, often knowing the names of their clients and most of them trying to get a distinct service advantage to stand out from the major hotels.
Most boutique hotels are directed towards middle-income travelers who are in their early twenties to mid-fifties.
It is believed that boutique hotels were invented in early 1890, with two of the world's first boutique hotels opening their doors to the public in 1981: The Blakes Hotel in South Kensington, London (designed by famous designer Anouska Hempel) and Bedford in Union Square, San Francisco ( First in a series of 34 boutique hotels currently operating under the flag of one of today's leading boutique hotel players, the Kimpton Group).
The number of boutique hotels will only increase, as many travelers start searching for hotels and prefer to stay in boutique hotels. It has been said to be the fastest growing category in the hospitality industry. Since they're doing a good job, all the bigger known chains are rushing to create their own brands.