There are plenty of people who want to travel without actually traveling. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that—it’s good to know what you want.
By staying in the exact same hotel chain wherever you go around the country—or even the world—you’ll have the same thread count in your linens, the same brand of mattress, the same TV channels, and probably even the same toilet paper.
And yet, we think that kind of defeats the purpose of traveling. Traveling is, by its very definition, is to “make a journey.” What kind of journey is it if you always experience the same thing wherever you go?
We’d like to put in a vote for the boutique hotel—and we’re not alone. Boutique hotels are gaining increasing traction in the travel industry. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
Distinctiveness. In direct contradiction to the “McHotel Chains” described above, boutique hotels each have their own unique personality. Simply staying at one is an integral part of a trip. Even if you’re traveling for business and have to spend most of your day in a nondescript office building, at least part of your trip will deliver a true experience.
Personalized Service. At a McHotel chain, you’re the guy or gal in Room 3422. At a boutique hotel chain, you’re known by name. Most boutique hotels have around 100 rooms or fewer. That means the staff are not only a ware of your existence, but are better able to care to your individual preferences. You’ll feel like a guest, rather than someone on an accommodation conveyer belt.
Value. For some reason, boutique hotels developed a reputation for being expensive in relation to McHotels of similar quality. In fact, the opposite is often true. Boutique hotels don’t have to pay franchise fees or employ 1,000 people. For that and other reasons, boutique hotels can often afford to offer more luxury and service for less cost.
Regional Specificity. As mentioned above, some travelers want their hotel to make it seem like they could be in Waikiki or Tulsa and not be able to tell the difference. We see it differently. Maybe it’s the view; maybe it’s historical detail specific to a region; maybe it’s the tales of the famous or infamous people who stayed there.
Either way, we love that an upscale boutique hotel means something completely different in Manhattan, in Savannah, in Saint Paul, in Austin, and in Lake Tahoe.