Name-brand hotels in major cities are a dime a dozen when it comes to finding rooms for business purposes. These are often properties that contain hundreds of rooms and amenities that are found pretty much everywhere.
Yet you can find many of these same services in a smaller setting, and if you play your cards right you may end up with a hotel where the level of service goes consistently above and beyond the call of duty. These hotels, which are either part of very small chains or not affiliated with a major chain, are called “boutique hotels.”
These hotels can be found in urban areas, often have larger rooms, and the level of service often surprises and delights those who are used to a cookie-cutter hotel experience.
Here are many reasons why you should consider a boutique hotel:
While most chain hotels have rooms that number in the thousands, especially at large properties in cities like New York and Chicago, boutique hotels often have several floors in a smaller building. Take Chicago, for example. Where a hotel like the Palmer House or the Hyatt Regency in downtown often contains multiple floors and thousands of rooms, a hotel like the Tremont Chicago has 135 rooms of varying designs in a small high-rise.
This helps provide a more intimate and cozy setting. You don’t have to worry about getting lost in a maze of corridors or racing from one side of the hotel to the other to make a business meeting. Often your services are located in a smaller environment more conducive to a relaxed atmosphere.
Because each boutique hotel can hold fewer guests than a standard multi-floor property, there are fewer guests to keep track of every day. You feel like you’re part of a family at these hotels, especially when you stay more than once. Don’t be surprised if friendly and attentive staff at some of these smaller properties recognizes you after a few visits.
Most rooms in a chain hotel are the same, over and over again. Although they may range in size from decent to large, they may not contain enough room for you to move around in. A classic hotel room has a door that opens in, a clear path to the window, and a bed and bathroom on one side of the room. Most rooms have just that one path you can walk from the door to the window, but the beds take up most of the space in your setting.
With larger rooms in a hotel, there may be room for more amenities. Maybe your bed is smaller but has features such as plenty of pillows or comfortable blankets. The TV set could be larger and may offer more cable channels for your downtime.
The bathrooms, instead of offering little room to move around, may have enough space so you can prepare for your business day, get yourself showered and dressed for important functions or for dinner engagements. The showers may have more room to move around.
Most boutique hotels, since they are not located in non-descript properties, can take advantage of their location. For example, the Andaz London is housed in a 126-year old Victorian building. The rooms are old-fashioned in nature thanks to the architecture, yet they still contain enough regular amenities.
More personal touches
Where a large hotel chain may treat you as a name and account in a computer, a boutique property may offer features you are not prepared to see every time. If you stay in a boutique hotel and eat in its restaurant more than once, on your next visit you may get a personalized coupon for a percentage off your bill. This is because hotels often keep track of services the guests use. If you use the hotel’s spa facilities, you may receive an offer for a discounted spa services or a reduced-price massage.
Even better, hotel personnel may know who you are thanks to the personal touches a boutique hotel provides. For example, the Opus Vancouver has just 96 rooms and an average of 40 arrivals per day. This means the hotel can analyze its guests for the day and greet them by name.
The hotel also offers complimentary features like use of a BMW car service for guests, complimentary beverages on arrival and a perks card that offers discounts at area businesses.
Boutique hotels are knowledgeable of their favorite guests’ habits, and staff are often trained to look for certain things. If you like sampling new restaurants in a certain city, don’t be surprised if the concierge leaves you a message with names of new places to eat during your visit. It is all about personalizing the stay for the guest.
By staying in the big city, you may be near shopping and dining experiences not often found in suburban areas (where the options tend toward chain restaurants or retail outlets). Maybe the hotel is in an area of town known for certain cuisine or nightlife. The hotel could offer special services not often found in a business center, like free high-speed Internet service. Most major hotels charge for the service, but it might be free at some smaller properties.
Even though you are in the hustle and bustle of the city, the smaller atmosphere can make for a quiet room and a pleasant stay. And what better way to get a good night’s rest in the city than at a hotel where you can hardly hear anything outdoors?