One of the reasons boutique hotels are so popular is because they directly oppose the accepted hotel normality of hundreds of rooms and bland service. Their refusal to treat guests as anything other than honoured visitors means that they spend time, money and energy developing a hotel where you feel comfortable and at home. This can only really be achieved with low room numbers.
Hotels in this sector have discovered that travellers are willing to pay for accommodation that is different in design and where even full occupancy means they’re not queuing for breakfast or waiting for room service to answer the phones. Instead, fewer rooms means more space and better service, and an increasing number of travellers are taking this option.
Space is important to travellers, particularly those for whom the hotel is an integral part of the experience. Whilst other holiday makers or business travellers simply use a hotel as a base for sleeping and eating, boutique hotel guests want to feel that they can spend the morning drinking coffee and reading in the public areas without feeling like a nuisance, or relax by the pool without worrying about fighting for poolside space with other guests. By taking a definite decision to reduce the number of bedrooms so that each room has more space and by fashioning public areas that guests actually want to use, boutique hotels create a unique atmosphere that appeals to guests.
Boutique hotels are often based in older, traditional buildings where creating larger guest rooms means considerable changes to the internal design of the building. Sympathetic architectural changes can be achieved with careful planning and this allows hotel owners and their designers to maintain and incorporate original features into a more modern, spacious room design. From keeping original windows to fitting the most modern of bathrooms, clever design allows these hotels to provide fewer rooms, whilst at the same time preserving the essential features of the building.
The smaller the number of guests, the better the service can be. This is a concept that’s fully understood by the boutique industry and it strives to ensure that standards of service are exceptional. Any contact that the guest has with a member of staff should be a positive one and, in many cases, members of staff are trained to anticipate guests’ needs, ensuring that they are comfortable asking for anything, including help with activities outside the hotel as well as the facilities within it.
Lowering the number of rooms in a hotel, combined with good design, quality fittings and excellent service all combines to make a hotel unique and that’s what today’s travellers want.