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What are Boutique Hotels?

May 27, 2008
While there are certainly a large number of folk who, when visiting a city, like to stay in familiar surroundings and several of the large hotel chains offer accommodation that varies little from city to city making them ideal for such people. However there are many, many people who prefer something a little more intimate and something a little bit different and such folk often choose to stay in a local guest house or small local hotel. For the last few decades there has been an increase in the number of boutique hotels in London and many other popular city destinations. The following article explains a little about boutique hotels and describes what you should expect from such accommodation.

"Boutique hotels" originated in North America and such hotels are usually small privately run hotels with a strong and noticeable character offering a most excellent personalized service which is not commonly experienced in the larger, well known, hotel and motel chains.

About thirty years ago society became a little more stylized and style conscious and many attempted to create a distinctive style and culture that influenced all aspects of their life. For an increasing number of folk the style became incredibly important and the demand for hotels which more closely matched such lifestyles increased. A number of small hotels attempted to meet this demand and they became known as design/designer hotels or lifestyle hotels.

There are a number of hotels which claim that they were the first hotel be become a boutique hotel. One such hotel is the Morgans Hotel in New York which was owned by a famous hotelier Ian Schrager. Schrager had commissioned Andre Putman to design the hotel which opened in 1984 and is usually credited as being the very first of the many boutique hotels we see today. Another hotel with a reasonable claim to the title is the Vintage Court hotel in San Francisco (part of the Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group Inc.) which opened in 1983.

One of the most interesting aspects of boutique hotels is the way in which they are usually themed. Rather than concentrate on all the modern bells and whistles, often available in hotels owned by the larger chains, boutique hotels offer personality and personal service. For example the Church Street Hotel in London, a Spanish-American Boutique hotel, is decorated in a Cubano style with mexican tile work which has been hand painted with numerous items of art and furnished with excellent Colonialist furniture.

Many cities, including London, now have a selection of boutique hotels to choose from but the definition of a true boutique hotel has recently become rather blurred due to the actions of some of the major hotel chains. Best Western has opened the boutique hotel, Shaftesbury Kensington and several other chains have also began to develop more hotels which could be described as a boutique hotel so there is now a little confusion about what exactly makes a hotel a boutique hotel.

One of the best boutique hotels in London is found opposite the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace at 41 Buckingham Palace Road. The Red Carnation, 41 Hotel is only a few minutes walk from many of London's finest tourist attractions and only a short distance from Buckingham Palace itself. If you are visiting London you may want to stay here if only to be able to say to friends that you stayed at that address.

Yes it would seem that wherever you turn these days a boutique hotel is opening. In August 2008 there is even a boutique hotel opening on the remote Isle of Harris which is a small island off the west coast of Scotland. While there are certainly plenty to choose from the very nature of these hotels means that it is highly unlikely that you will ever find two that are the same. I for one will be booking into such a hotel when I next visit London or anywhere else.
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Maybe you won't be staying in the Harris Hotel but you may want to book London boutique hotels
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