Owners of boutique hotels strive to provide guests with an experience during their stay. They want them to feel pampered by the service and comfortable with the atmosphere, but most of all, they want guests to feel at home. This is difficult to achieve in a hotel environment and relies on good use of space, creative design and high service standards to succeed.
Public spaces are important in any hotel, but need to be put to particularly good use in a boutique hotel. No matter whether the hotel is in a large mansion or a three-storey town house, making people feel at home in a place they are paying to stay in is a challenge. Public areas must be open enough to allow people their own space, without making the room feel bare or unfriendly. They must also have comfortable furniture, so that guests can relax, and a variety of lighting, so that guests can read, eat or just talk. These hotels are famous for encouraging a “shoes off” or “barefoot” attitude, where guests don’t feel that they have to dress up or follow certain formalities during their stay.
The things that make you feel at home in your room are the details. Everyone’s used to a hotel room with a bed, some drawers and some hanging space, but it’s the extra details that turn a basic hotel room into a boutique hotel room. These details include creative bathroom solutions, antique furniture, quality linens, internet access and flat screen TVs. In addition, freshly-lit candles and exclusive toiletries create a luxurious but comfortable space.
One of the downsides of large hotels is that the staff can never know who you are, where you’ve come from or why you’re visiting. This is something that doesn’t happen in boutique hotels. The lower number of total bedrooms in hotels of this type means that there is often more staff than guests, and this leads to high levels of personal service. Staff know your name and your room number and, in some of the more exclusive boutique hotels, they find out what you like before you even get there, so that it can be provided on arrival.
People who stay in a luxury boutique hotel for the first time are struck by how very different the design, ambience and service is from a standard hotel. As a guest, you immediately feel more relaxed and comfortable and this in turn contributes to the “home-from-home” feeling that many guests remark on.