What Is a Boutique Hotel?

April 11, 2024 Sini. M
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A boutique hotel is a type of hotel that exudes a small, intimate and quaint atmosphere. It usually has less than 100 rooms and offers customised service to guests. Unlike other hotel chains that may appear generic, a boutique hotel remains true to the local culture. Although boutique hotels are small, they offer many amenities that rival those of larger hotels. From state-of-the-art spas to luxurious lounging areas, boutique hotels have everything you could want.

Much like Caesar and his conquests, boutique hotels came, saw, and made their mark in the hospitality world. Let’s briefly look at the history at their history and what sets them apart from the fray.


History of Boutique Hotels

Although there is some debate about the exact origin of boutique hotels, the term was coined in the 1960s and 1970s when travellers in Europe started staying at small hotels. Here they could get to know the owners, relax with a glass of wine in the lobby, and enjoy bespoke and intimate service. This ultra-personalised service soon spread to the United States, and by the 1980s, the US hospitality industry was teeming with what we now call boutique hotels.


What Are the Characteristics of Boutique Hotels?


<pull quote> “Boutique hotels offer an escape and are characterized by their intimate and idiosyncratic style. They distinguish themselves by offering personalized attention and styled accommodation that plays on a motif”– USA TODAY.

Below are seven overarching characteristics of boutique hotels.


Size does matter

The general rule of thumb is that your property must have fewer than 100 rooms to be considered a boutique hotel. Keeping your hotel under 100 rooms is one effective way to control and maintain quality and offer individualized service. As the number of rooms increases, it becomes challenging to cater to all your guests and even harder to make your property stand out among the competition, especially for guests seeking a unique experience. And to provide this unique experience that your guests are yearning for, you need to know the type of guests you want to attract. To learn more about hotel guest types, take a short detour and cast your eye here.


Unique offerings

For your property to stand out as a boutique hotel, it needs to offer personalised service. This could include unique amenities that are not available at other hotels, your enticing add-ons and upselling menu, or a Michelin-starred chef. Whatever you offer, it should leave a lasting impression on your guests.


Stylish design

Boutique hotels usually strive to create a distinct characteristic in their space, and steer away from providing the proverbial “cookie-cutter” accommodation to their guests. Incorporating authentic design elements can help set your hotel apart from the competition. Whether you choose to blend architectural features, furnish with stylish ornaments, display local designer decor or showcase art pieces, your hotel’s decor can genuinely make a difference and allow its unique personality to shine through.


Connect with the location

Location is crucial for a boutique hotel. As the old adage says, the three most important factors in real estate are “location, location, location.” Your property should have a unique identity influenced by its location. Whether you’re in a trendy neighbourhood in downtown New York or in a resort town like Malindi, you should let the location determine the character of your property and allow it to blend in with its surroundings.


There are smart tips you can use to create a strong relationship with the location, for example, serving local cuisine at your hotel’s restaurant, collaborating with local brands to design your hotel, or hiring locals to work at your hotel; no one can exude the culture of your hotel better than the people working there. All of these will make your property an integral part of the community, making it stand out from the rest.


Customised service

Boutique hotels are well-known for their exceptional service that caters to guests’ needs. From the moment they arrive, your front desk staff addresses guests by their first name, making them feel welcomed and valued. Guests expect bespoke luxury amenities, such as a variety of pillows and bathrobes to choose from, as well as customised goodies, ensuring a unique and luxurious experience. Additionally, boutique hotel guests love indulgent spa services that help them unwind and feel rejuvenated.



Did someone say food? Indeed, because boutique hotels are known for their trendy and locally sourced dishes and beverages they have in their restaurants and bars. They offer high-quality and authentic cuisine, with comfortable cocktail atmospheres that are popular with both visitors and locals alike. Their gastronomy is all part of the boutique hotel experience.



Boutique hotels appeal to different types of travellers — from luxury seekers to those who love an adventure-thrill. Couples on romantic getaways are also attracted to boutique hotels because of their intimate settings and romantic touches, while families are drawn to the child-friendly amenities and playgrounds. With RoomRaccoon’s booking engine feature, Child Policy, you can optimise revenue by providing adaptable family rates and a streamlined booking process when making a booking for the whole family, little ones included.


Are Boutique Hotels Environmentally Friendly?


Yes they are. Boutique hotels often prioritise environmental consciousness as part of their commitment to providing unique and responsible hospitality experiences. Here’s a deep dive into the various sustainability initiatives commonly found in boutique hotels:


Energy-Efficient Design: They invest in energy-efficient design features to minimise their carbon footprint. This may include using sustainable building materials, utilising natural lighting to reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day, installing energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and incorporating renewable energy sources like solar panels or geothermal heating.


Water Conservation: Boutique hotels often implement water-saving measures to reduce water consumption. This involves installing low-flow faucets, toilets, and showers, as well as implementing water reuse systems for irrigation or greywater recycling.


Recycling Programmes: To minimise waste, they typically have comprehensive recycling programmes in place such as recycling bins in guest rooms and common areas for guests to separate recyclable materials like paper, plastic, glass, and metal. And also, these hotels may partner with local recycling facilities to ensure proper disposal and processing of recyclable materials.


Locally Sourced Materials and Amenities: They prioritise sourcing materials and amenities locally whenever possible to reduce the environmental impact of transportation and support local economies. This may include using locally sourced wood for furniture, artwork from local artists, organic toiletries made by local artisans, and serving locally grown or produced food and beverages in their restaurants.


Waste Reduction: To cut down on food waste, boutique hotels may implement composting programmes for organic waste generated from their kitchens and dining facilities. They also encourage guests to participate in waste reduction efforts by offering composting bins or providing information on sustainable practices.


Green Certifications and Partnerships: Many boutique hotels seek green certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or Green Key certification to show their commitment to sustainability. You can also partner with environmental organisations or participate in initiatives that protect the environment and supporting conservation efforts in your local communities, such as Hotels for Trees.


Make Your Boutique Hotel Stand Out With RoomRaccoon


The verdict is out — boutique hotels are a true gem in the temporary lodgings space, and with the rightcloud-based hotel software, yours can be unstoppable. They distinguish themselves from the competition through their one-of-a-kind value proposition, boasting fewer than 100 rooms and a singular location that exudes a fashionable and trendy atmosphere.

With unique design elements incorporated, they really are the “it” place to be. Keeping these characteristics in mind, your boutique hotel will not only thrive but also maintain a profitable TrevPAR year after year, ensuring your guests experience exclusive service.

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Sini. M

Sini is an accomplished Content Manager at RoomRaccoon. As an agency-hailed talent, her work brings a fresh creative flair to the world of SaaS. And she brings her very own brand of sass to the SaaS world. While not on the clock, Sini enjoys a glass of fine wine, and well, her privacy.

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