The concept of a ‘boutique hotel’ originated in the US in the 1980s as a direct response to the proliferation of traditional large-scale ‘cookie cutter’ hotel accommodation. By combining ultimate luxury and comfort with an intimate atmosphere and idiosyncratic style in fashionable locations, a new market segment was born that took the world by storm.
Technically, there are no strict criteria of what can be considered a boutique hotel, however they all have some key elements that make them unique:
- Small, sophisticated hotel businesses
- Situated in desirable locations
- Distinctive buildings with unique characteristics
- Strong, artistic sense of style and interior design
- Meticulous attention to decor and detail
- Bespoke guest experiences and a personalised service
Brighton’s 19-room Hotel Pelirocco is a superb example of this quirky hotel genre. “Perfect for arty weekenders, Hotel Pelirocco offers tongue-in-cheek themed rooms with a retro-rockabilly twist. Think Fifty Shades meets Seaside Sauciness.
All rooms are individually themed to excess: Lord Vader’s Quarters is Star Wars-themed and has a Darth Vader costume and lightsabers, while Bettie’s Boudoir is a sexy leopard print homage to Fifties pin-up Bettie Page, and has a whirlpool tub and sit-out balcony. (The Telegraph)
Of course, ‘England’s most rock n roll hotel’ might not be what you’re looking for. But all boutique hotels should boast a strong USP based on their character and services. Whatever guest experience you desire, the boutique hotel you chose should be able to cater for it in the most memorable way. Here are three key areas to look out for when choosing the perfect boutique hotel stay:
Boutique hotels straddle that fine line between upscale B&B and full-on hotels, and you should look for ones that provide pampering and luxury for their guests in a very personal way. From the above mentioned quirky decor in a trendy central Brighton location all the way to the contemporary bothies at Inver on Loch Fyne in the Scottish Highlands, complete with an on-site restaurant to die for, there are plenty to choose from to suit every traveller’s style and budget.
The in-room guest experience should be a far cry from the standard hotel fare. Look out for the quirks that each boutique hotel has to offer and choose the one with the most unique extras. Be it artisan toiletries, roll top baths and fluffy robes, antique furniture and original artwork, bold colour schemes or renowned designers.
Moreover, the place you chose should incorporate local delicacies into its framework. Look for boutique hotels that provide a taste of locally sourced produce including chocolates, coffee, or wine, along with information on visiting the relevant local businesses. There should also be premium hotel service brochures explaining all the hotel has to offer and elegant dinner menus in sumptuous layflat binding to rival coffee table books and magazines.
The hospital industry is competitive, so you should expect exceptional customer service that is more than simply luxury or opulence.
If you are travelling to a boutique hotel for an experience such as a Honeymoon or Valentines’ day, look for packages that include complimentary champagne, rose petal strewn four-poster beds, his & hers bathrobes and the like. Choose a hotel that has a large choice of couples’ pamper treatments, romantic dinners and outside of the box activities to make your stay extra-special.
If you are travelling for business, look for flexible check-in options, on-demand WiFi, restaurant and housekeeping services, and pamper experiences to help you relax. And while space may be at a premium when it comes to looking for a swimming pool or spa facilities in a boutique establishment, look for places with smaller fitness or resistance pools which could be the perfect solution for aqua exercise.
No matter which type of traveller you fall under, one thing is universal: no hotel guest likes admin processes. From booking facilities to checking in/out procedures, accounts systems and more, this is where smart tech features can make all the difference.
Processes should be effortless and contactless, especially in the pandemic age. Expect hotels not only to keep up with the latest technology, but also ideally be at the forefront of it. Keep an eye out for hotels with mobile devices and apps, digital concierge software, online bookings and check-in procedures.
Whatever the occasion, utilise this handy list to make sure the boutique hotel you choose is a cut above the rest and ensure you have the best stay possible.