How and Why to Choose a Boutique Hotel

Our Thoughts

Now is the perfect time to support small businesses, and some boutique hotels may be independently operated. Take a look before your next trip to see if you can find a hidden gem of a hotel!

When points don’t play a factor in selecting our hotel Cathy and I often like to stay at a boutique hotel.

Some of them such as The Pand in Bruges and The Boskerris hotel in Cornwall have been reviewed here previously.

We thought it would be good to share some of our thoughts around boutique hotels for you to consider when booking your next stay.

Obviously, check reviews before booking but remember to look for trends rather than individual comments as everyone has their own style and taste.

While there is no strict definition of a boutique hotel, the genre does tend to have some common features. Here are some characteristics of boutique hotels:


Boutique hotels are typically small, with ten to 100 rooms. They are intimate in scale, creating the ambiance of being a personal guest in a private home, rather than just a hotel occupant. They often have communal “living spaces” where guests can interact.

Boutique hotel rooms are anything but ordinary!


Properties have a distinctive vibe and never have the “cookie cutter” feel of being one in a series. They are often operated independently and are not affiliated with a major chain. That said, the largest independent boutique hotel operator in the world, the Kimpton Hotel brand, is owned by InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts (IHG). Boutique hotels may also be independently owned, but belong to a luxury hotel association, such as Relais & Chateaux or Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Boutique hotels like the Pand often feature unique architecture and design.


The architecture and interior design of a boutique hotel is as unique as its operations, but always upscale and often combining historic details with chic elegance. The lines may be sleek and contemporary or quaint and homey–or even an artistic amalgamation. Boutique hotels convey a progressively forward style with fastidious décor. Guestrooms are individually decorated, and use upscale linens and exclusive amenities.


Boutique hotels usually have an eccentric personality. They are fun and funky, trendy and offbeat. Their quirky sense of humour might be exhibited through creative guest offerings. For example, the Hotel Monaco in Washington, D.C. will deliver a goldfish to your room if you’re missing your own pet.


Again, there is no hard rule, but many boutique hotels are located in the most hip and fashionable urban areas. You’ll find them in lively, up-and-coming sections – they may well be one of the factors in the area’s rejuvenation – and high-end residential neighbourhoods that are away from the crowds, but convenient to city highlights. Trendy boutique hotels are also found in resort areas, generally well hidden from the main tourist throng.


As an extension of the unique personality of each property, boutique hotels often celebrate the local flavor with a strong sense of place by incorporating locally-sourced materials and reflecting the locations heritage through color and art. Themed boutique hotels build the entire guest experience, from décor to services, around a particular subject such as art, fashion or sports


Highly personalized service is a hallmark of boutique hotels. Staff will know your name on the first day of your stay. Providing bespoke luxury amenities such as an extensive pillow menu and custom toiletries, as well as offering sumptuous spa services creates a very high-quality, individualized experience

If you’re looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind experience, book (and dine at) a boutique hotel.


Like everything else about boutique hotels, their restaurants and bars tend to be hip, trendy and locally-sourced. High quality, authentic cuisine, and comfortable cocktail atmospheres make these dining and drinking spots popular with locals as well as guests.


The types of travellers who are attracted to boutique hotels are as individual as the hotels themselves and tend to be just as hip. Guests from Millennials to Boomers who enjoy creative design, quirky character, and luxurious service will be right at home in boutique hotels.

Now is the perfect time to support small businesses, and as mentioned above, some boutique hotels may be independently operated. Take a look before your next trip to see if you can find a hidden gem of a hotel!

Andrew Taylor

For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.

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