By Expedia, on November 7, 2018

What is a boutique hotel?

It’s a buzzword that gets waved around, but just what are boutique hotels? And what makes them different than all the other vacation choices out there?

Boutique Hotel The Wythe Hotel
The Wythe Hotel in New York City

Characteristics of Boutique Hotels

First up, let’s break down the key elements that all boutique hotels have in common. These include:

  • Relatively small size
  • Stylish and bespoke decor and ambience
  • Intimate athmosphere
  • Individualized service

In terms of size, boutique hotels hit the sweet spot between very small bed and breakfasts and medium sized hotels. They tend to have between 10 and 100 rooms. This means you can expect a more tranquil and intimate vibe, and a more personal approach from the staff.

Style-wise, they are the polar opposite of large hotel-chains, and can feature cool, contemporary design, or flamboyantly retro flourishes. Even the architecture can be eye-catching, as many are set within historic buildings, which have been lovingly refurbished or revamped for modern travelers.

Zetter Townhouse Marylebone
The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone in London

Boutique hotels are often found throughout city centers, just steps away from hip bars and restaurants. Unlike hotel chains, which look and feel pretty much the same where you are in the world; boutique hotels often evoke the city or region they’re set in. With both artwork and design features that showcase thoughtful sourcing of local culture in the hotel aesthetic.

Why People Choose Boutique Hotels

Boutique hotels are popular with travelers who want more than just a room in which to rest up on vacation. The prospect of a unique aesthetic, and highly personalized service courtesy of friendly and thoughtful staff, means that a good boutique hotel will itself be as much a highlight of a trip as the local attractions.

Boutique hotels are frequently found in the most historic quarters of cities, and often immerse guests in a real sense of place thanks to their eye-catching interior design. This means they particularly appeal to visitors who want to feel like they have an authentic, local nook within their vacation destination.

One of the big perks for boutique hotels is that, unlike larger chains, they aren’t usually sticklers for set-in-stone rules and restrictions. Chat with the local staff about any particular favors or requirements, and they’ll likely pull out the stops when it comes to providing a customized experience that’ll make you feel like a visiting A-lister.

Boutique Hotel Zetter Townhouse Marylebone
The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone Tea Room in London

Boutique Hotels vs. Bed and Breakfasts

There’s certainly some overlap between boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts, when it comes to an intimate ambience and personalized service.

That being said, boutique hotels have superior dining options, often serving exquisite lunches and dinners as well as breakfasts. Unlike bed and breakfasts, many also boast cool cocktail bars.

Boutique hotels also have enviable locations within city centers, often within gorgeously restored historic buildings, which adds to their allure.

Examples of Boutique Hotels

Some of the best hotels can be found in London. The UK capital is studded with historic sites where you can stay. One perfect example is the Zetter Townhouse Marylebone, set within a Georgian townhouse in a district just a short walk from the shops and restaurants of the West End.

This unique accommodation is decked out in vintage furniture with a delightfully quirky sense of style. The cocktail bar is a destination in itself, with thrilling drinks whipped up by masterful mixologists.

Over in New York City, one of the most distinctive boutique hotels is the Wythe Hotel. It’s housed in a 1901 factory, with an industrial-chic ambience that is pure Brooklyn, along with a buzzing restaurant serving seasonal dishes.

boutique hotel the hotel providence in paris
The Hotel Providence in Paris

Meanwhile, in Paris, there’s the super stylish Hotel Providence. Guestrooms in this 19th-century townhouse are adorned with decadent fabrics and opulent antiques. In terms of amenities, the rooms even come with their own cocktail bars, complete with instructions on how to mix up your own drinks with the shaker, strainer and ice provided.

Book your Perfect Boutique Hotel

In the mood for a vacation with a difference? Check out our listings and book a boutique hotel for a getaway filled with style and panache.