If you’re anything like me, then you wholeheartedly believe that a hotel stay can either make or break your vacation. Okay, so maybe “make or break” is an exaggeration, but if you’re a traveler after my own heart, then you know that having an optimal hotel experience is critical to the success of your trip. Because let’s face it – you could be having the time of your life in your destination only to have your mood dampened if you find yourself trying to rest your head in a rinky-dink hotel each night. Right?
That’s why I spend as much (if not more) time researching where I’m going to stay than I spend researching my daily activities and restaurant options. After all, where I end each of my travel days is just as important as where and how I spend them while the sun’s still up.
To ensure that I have the best possible hotel experiences during my travels, I almost always seek out boutique hotel brands as opposed to the larger chains. Boutique brands tend to have a certain je ne sais quoi that I find missing from the larger chains.
Whether you’re a hotel chain loyalist or a boutique skeptic, in this post I’m sharing five reasons to love boutique hotels. My hope is that you’ll become a boutique believer and book a boutique stay during your next trip.
#1 They’re Intimate
More often than not, when I stay at a popular hotel chain, I tend to feel like I’m lost in the fray. It’s true that sometimes you really just want to go where everybody knows your name, and it’s nice to be remembered by the hotel staff and fellow guests. Because they’re not dealing with hundreds of guests on any given day as is the norm in chain hotels, boutique staffers tend to make more time to engage with guests, thereby fostering more intimate encounters.
#2 They’re Unique
To encourage branding uniformity, many chain hotels don’t offer much in terms of uniqueness. On the other hand, boutique hotels have more flexibility and freedom to express their individuality in terms of décor, services offered, and the overall guest experience.
#3 They Have a More Local Feel
Another great thing about boutique hotels is that many are often located in or near residential areas which provide guests with a firsthand experience of local life. Also, because boutique hotels usually accommodate fewer guests than the bigger chains, I’ve found that they’re often located in former residences that have been converted into hotels.
#4 They Feed You
Most boutique hotels understand the value of including breakfast in their rates – an incentive that many chains still, as a whole, don’t prioritize. But beyond breakfast, many boutique brands offer guests a complimentary evening reception where guests get treated to wine and hors d’oeuvres or even freshly baked cookies before bed.
#5 They Offer More Bang for Your Buck
Simply put, for all the reasons listed in this post and more, boutique brands tend to offer more bang for your buck. Even if a boutique brand’s nightly rates match those at a bigger brand, the fact remains that all things considered, travelers typically get more value from stays at boutique hotels than they do at the chains. My inclination is that discerning travelers are willing to pay well for hotel stays, but in turn, the hotels have to offer guests great value to ensure their happiness. And the biggest difference between great boutique hotels and the chains is that boutique brands have mastered the art of ensuring guests’ happiness.
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Which do you prefer – bigger hotel chains or boutique hotels? Share your thoughts in the comments below.