Boutique Hotel and Lifestyle Hotel: How to recognize them?
Boutique Hotel is a term coined in the United States to indicate small Luxury Hotels, with an unconventional and intimate environment. The Boutique Hotel sector is constantly growing. Both independent hotels and large hotel chains are investing so much to establish a presence in this vibrant market sector, which has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon.
Often called “design hotels” or “lifestyle hotels“, the first boutique hotels were born in the early 1980s in big cities like New York, London and San Francisco, to then expand more and more.
But what exactly are the characteristics of these structures?
A hotel, to be a boutique hotel, must have very specific requirements.
Typically a boutique hotel is small (between 10 and 50 rooms, or even less). The size and the setting must recreate a feeling of intimacy, almost like making one’s guest feel inside a private residence, instead of an ordinary hotel.
Sometimes, in the international arena, the term “lifestyle hotel” is used (with a meaning very similar to “boutique hotel”), just to enhance the aspect of the guest experience, as well as the attention to detail.
The feeling that the guests must try is in fact that of being in a home, intimate and cared for.
A boutique hotel is an independent hotel and does not belong to large chains, or at least it gives that feeling. In reality it is not always so, there are today famous and renowned chains like the MGallery Boutique Line by Accor Hotels or the Atlas Hotel involving the boutique hotels.
In any case, he will propose something that is difficult, if not impossible, to find elsewhere. All aspects, from the interior design to the hospitality of the guest, must follow a harmonious design, with a distinct personality and some elements that unmistakably characterize the accommodation structure.
There is no boutique hotel without a strong personality. Often, this is born from the union between a historical context and a chic and elegant design, made of warm colors, refined fabrics and soft beds.
The boutique hotels are hotels designed with eccentric pieces of furniture from the world of architecture or art. Not only that, the attention to detail must also involve fabrics, products (example: the bathroom set or the features of the mini-bar) and the common areas (the restaurant).
Some have artistic environments, while others experiment with original solutions in design and technology. The constant is always the uniqueness of the style, the originality of the project and a strong personality.
Personality, style and refinement are the characteristics that make leverage in the target of guests that this type of structure intends to attract. The typical guest is in fact a person who likes to include these elements in every aspect of their daily life, and intends to keep them when traveling for vacation or work.
In addition to elegance and design, a boutique hotel tends to have an eccentric personality. They are elegant but also particular, trendy but always original. Each structure has its own personality, reflects a specific philosophy or a particular mission.
His style must be unique and absolutely unconventional.
5 Location and Environment
Usually, even the location where the boutique hotel is located, is one of the characterizing features. It can rise in the center as well as in the suburbs, in the countryside as well as at the sea… but always in historical, artistic, emerging or reserved areas. Even with regards to the location, in short, the boutique is asking for a place that should stand out for any reason from other eligible tourist areas.
A certainty – in the world of boutique hotels – the service is always personalized. This is the feature key for a boutique hotel. The staff is trained to treat the guest in a way that makes them feel “pampered“, adapting the service to specific tastes and needs. Each guest must feel “special”.
As the environments are not all the same, even the service adapts to the particularity of the guest, anticipating those that may be of the needs or the elements that can make the stay really pleasant. As a distinctive feature, some original and unusual elements are inserted (for example a “welcome” service, gifts, or the possibility of combining “experiences”, depending on the location and type of accommodation).
If a boutique hotel has a restaurant (or a bar), this will unique and exclusive. Authentic cuisine, unusual cocktails and a trendy environment are their prerogatives.
As an extension of a unique personality, boutique hotels often emanate the local atmosphere and culture, with a strong “sense of place” in which they arise, incorporating local materials or demonstrating their heritage through art, colors and decorations.
Some boutique hotels are “themed“, that is, the whole project, from decoration to service, revolves around a particular theme such as art, style, sport, nature. This accentuates the feeling of uniqueness and allows to meet the tastes of a selected clientele.
Often the character of the structure reflects the personality of the guest-type: people who love creativity, style and originality, luxurious settings and attentive service to details will feel at home in a boutique hotel.
The boutique hotels are now spread all over the world and some stand out for their spectacular and unique structures.
The fact that the boutique hotels are small, allows you to amaze your guests with the use of new technologies, with personalized services and with innovative ways of managing the customer.
Will it be the hospitality trend of the coming decades?