For travelers who are looking for a more unique and intimate experience from their accommodations, boutique hotels present a charming alternative to the big chain hotels. Likened to bed-and-breakfasts, these smaller, privately-owned inns can offer a comfortable and cozy stay while traveling for less money often than what the large hotels charge. They generally have more variety in character and are often referred to also as “lifestyle” hotels, as they can be designed for various specific lifestyles of their guests.
One difference between boutique hotels and regular, chain franchise ones is the size. Whereas the latter generally has larger, often resort properties that boast hundreds of rooms, boutique hotels tend to be on average around 100 rooms or less. The smaller size can lend itself to a somewhat more welcoming and cozy environment where each customer can receive more personal attention instead of being treated “as a number” as is the case in many larger establishments.
The price can vary as well between these two hotel types. Most often boutique hotels offer lower prices for similar-sized accommodations than the large ones do. On average, the room price comes out to about 20% less. This figure is based on a comparative price study that was done to contrast prices amongst 3-star rated hotels in urban areas of both types, however it was also noted that some of the higher-ranked boutiques are priced more competitively with the franchises. Overall though, these smaller inns tend to be more economical.
The originality and uniqueness is one key difference about this type of hotel that characterizes it above anything else really. Unlike the larger facilities that feature uniformity, it is hard to find any two of these places that are alike. They usually present a theme throughout, which often reflects the personal taste and attitude of the owners or designers. Every room may be different from the next as well, each with its own style and special features. These hotels are somewhat of a conversation piece and often feature eclectic decor. The rooms cater to the guest and provide them with nice extras that aren’t likely to be offered in chains.
Great service is another positive quality these smaller hotels have to offer. Since they have fewer guests, this means they are better able to closely attend to and provide for the needs of the ones they do have. Staff are usually available at all hours to make their guests feel comfortable and welcome. Guests are treated like family and addressed by their first names in most cases, which increases the overall sense of warmth these places exude.
Boutique hotels certainly have a lot to offer travelers who are in the market for more than just a room, but are also looking for wonderful service and interesting surroundings.