First of all, what is a boutique hotel, right? And why would you want to try one instead of continuing to earn massive amounts of points at [insert preferred hotel chain here]? Trust me, I’m a points and mileage maven (more on that another time) so I totally get it. But just stay a second and hear me out.
Boutique hotels are small, unique, non-chain hotels, usually having less than 100 rooms. They used to be pretty exclusive and upscale (with an accompanying upscale price tag). Now, they’re anything from fancy schmancy to everyday comfortable, trendy to rustic and everything in between. Think the neon and stucco wonderland that is Ocean Drive in Miami. Quirky, unique, and, of course, small. Sidebar: I have no idea if the hotels on Ocean Drive are made of stucco but it fits my narrative. I promise I googled it for about three minutes. No luck. Moving on!
So now that you have an idea of what boutique hotels are, let’s talk about why you and your Mister or Miss should check in.
- Boutique hotels no longer break the bank. In many instances, they tend to be way cheaper than the chains. This may be because, short of possessing some sort of specialized fame, attraction or location (a la the aforementioned Ocean Drive hotels), boutiques need to compete in market share with those larger chains. Best way to compete? Competitive prices. According to me anyway. Because logic. And because I spent money on an MBA. So for this paragraph, my hospitality marketing cannot be questioned. Regardless of the reason, bottom line for you: money saved. Book a boutique.
- Boutiques are aesthetically unique. “Ok, let’s order 400 of the same comforter set and 800 of the same pieces of ‘artwork’,” said no boutique designer ever. And I love it. Every single room may be decorated differently. We stayed in a spot in Puerto Rico where all of the common areas and stairwells were literally art galleries displaying pieces from local artists. Actually now that I think about it, I’m not even sure the whole place wasn’t originally an art museum and then someone was like,”Hey, we should put beds in all of these hotel-room sized rooms and charge a daily rate.” AND our room key was an honest-to-goodness skeleton key. WHAT?! In the year 2000 anything?! I’m here for it all. As much as I love my Holiday Inns, I wouldn’t have gotten that experience there.
- Boutiques offer individual service. By the end of our stay in Puerto Rico, the owner – who also worked the front desk and helped stow luggage and set out glasses for the midweek rooftop cocktail hours and… – knew who we were by name. Asking us how our day’s adventure had gone and if the mofongo at the place she recommended lived up to the hype. [It did, by the way] Not that managers at the big places can’t also deliver great service, but when you’re one of only 19 guests, the individual attention is super obvious. Also, did I mention that the rooftop cocktail hour was complimentary?
- Boutiques push your limits. When there’s no corporate giant to impose its regulations and standards and no chain reputation to live up to, sometimes the little things go unfixed for a while. A loose tile in the shower. A dimmed bulb over the vanity. Sorry, we don’t offer wash clothes, here. Meh. You learn to check your first world problems at the door and hunker down for the experience of it all. Though it may be a looser ship than you’re used to at the big chains, the good will outweigh the bad.
So consider booking a boutique hotel next time you travel. You may find that where you’re sleeping turns into just as much of a trip as your actual destination.