Everything you Wanted to Know About Boutique Hotels (and Why You Should Use One)

Boutique Hotels

For many of us, traveling is an exciting, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime experience. We want the very best possible experience, both in where we choose to stay as well as the activities we decide to splurge on. But we can’t always spend money on 5-star hotels. Luckily, the emerging boutique hotel market, including luxury short-term rentals, is there to help you create the experience you crave without the hassle and fuss.

What Does ‘Boutique’ Mean?

Boutique vacation rentals and hotels simply mean smaller entities focused on providing a small number of guests the luxury travel experience they crave. They often have very similar (or even better) amenities to larger hotel chains, but typically offer limited properties or rooms. They are small, fashionable, and sophisticated establishments, typically at the heart of the local tourist, entertainment, or travel district.

There’s no strict definition. Many properties that deliver the boutique experience are phrased as ‘luxury short-term rentals’, or simply list as hotels or B&Bs. But you will recognize them by a sense of understated luxury, intimate size, and a strong design and art focus.

The boutique movement started as an answer to the domination of chain hotels in the 1940s and 50s. Instead of trying to cut into the mass travel market, they seek to create unique experiences that speak to a different subset of travelers- those who value the experience. For the boutique market, the focus is on the service they provide and the memories they help you make.

Drawcards of Boutique Travel Experiences

What makes travelers choose a boutique experience over larger resorts and hotels? Why are they classified as a premium, luxury experience if they’re smaller entities? We’ve touched on some points above, but let’s take a closer look.


Most boutique hotels and luxury rentals cater to a very small number of guests. This allows them to offer an intimate experience, with service that’s truly personal. They can lean into the ‘luxury for less’ idea, and provide guests with an exceptional experience that’s tailored to their wants and needs.

Character and Design

Most niche hotel experiences also focus on style, design, and character. Perhaps they’re inspired by the historical nature of the building they’re in, such as the beautiful Art Deco properties you’ll find in New York and Paris. Or they have a theme they believe guests will enjoy, like a seaside villa on the Mediterranean coast.

These inspirations are not a thin veneer applied to the overall experience, as you can find in chain hotels. Often they’ve put a lot of energy and effort into creating a luxury design that will create a memorable stay for their guests. Contemporary, chic, and stylish are the names of the game.


Another critical keystone of the boutique experience is a great location. Many are found in fashionable or historic districts, areas you would never be able to get a chain hotel in. Local attractions and sights are easy to access, and you get to marinate in the culture of the areas you’re visiting. They want to make it easy for you to explore the beauty of the location you’re visiting.

Personal Service

Because they have a limited guest list, luxury rentals and boutique hotels can offer a far better personalization of their services. This could be bespoke amenities, customized menus, always-on staffing, and a lot more. They go the extra mile to provide you with the very best luxury experience possible. You might additionally have a concierge service built in, to help you make the most of your trip. A concierge will help you explore the destination, bringing local secrets and tips to the table, and may even plan your itinerary around the experiences you’re seeking.

How to Find the Best Boutique Experience

Many of these special experience accommodations are listed on common online booking sites. But it’s worth expanding your search a little further than just Tripadvisor or Booking.com. Search for luxury travel experiences in your destination area, and take the time to check out independent sites for luxury stays too. Many travel Instagrammers, vloggers, and bloggers share their experiences with exceptional, off-the-radar locations. You never know what secret gem you will unearth to truly create the travel experience of a lifetime.

Boutique, luxury travel experiences are created for travelers who want more than a cookie-cutter experience. They bring individuality and exceptional levels of service to the table, with a unique character that can be a critical part of creating a memorable holiday at the destination. Curated travel experiences like these are on the rise currently, so if you’re looking to experience a different fact to travel- one jam-packed with character, luxury, and enjoyable experiences- consider thinking small the next time you’re on the road.

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