It seems like I’ve been spending a lot of time booking hotels lately for PERSONAL trips, and I’ve had to decide between staying at a resort, a larger chain hotel or a small boutique hotel. One of the things that I’ve realized is that it really depends upon the focus of my stay. For example: next month I’m heading to Rhode Island for a family event. I’ll be spending a little time exploring, but the focus of this trip is really family oriented, so a chain hotel is perfectly okay as I’ll be spending SO LITTLE TIME THERE that it doesn’t matter. Fast forward to September, when I’ll be heading to Paris. A chain hotel just won’t cut it if I’m staying in the city of lights. I want the TOTAL Parisian experience and that’s something that I won’t get just ANYWHERE.
Boutique hotels along with their charm have to really keep up in order to fully cater to the travelers needs. There is an expectation of total EXPERIENCE.
So, when choosing smaller more intimate hotel what do I look for?
It could be anything from an historic building to an incredible interior designer (like my VERY favorite hotel in Paris – Hotel Bourg Tibourg which was decorated by the amazing Jacques Garcia)
Variety – There are quite a few boutique hotels where each of the rooms have a different decor. This is a FUN way to go back again and again, and have a different room experience on each visit.
Experiences – Many of these smaller hotels have the ability to offer events to visitors, based on the smaller amount of rooms. Wine tastings, visiting chefs and guest get togethers are more readily found.
Service – One of the MAIN reason that I’ll stay at boutique over chain is the level of service that I receive. From remembering my name to friendly conversation, a staff who’ll go out of their way to make your stay PERSONAL is so important.
Location – Remember how I said that it depends upon the FOCUS of your trip? Well, if you’re in an area where you want to soak up the ambiance, a hotel becomes an important PART of that experience. It allows more interaction with the people who LIVE in an area. Remember that hotel that I mentioned in Paris? Well, I’ve had the manager take me to his favorite patisserie, and the front desk clerks and I exchanged numbers because they really helped me “see” Paris through their eyes and I wanted to do the same for them when they came to Florida. They made me feel like I was part of the community…something that a large hotel chain would not have been able to do.