Monday, August 11, 2008

Lifestyle vs boutique hotels

Slightly off-kilter post here, but something that came up when I met the kind folk at Mr & Mrs Smith a few months back are the definitions being used by hotels.

Prompted by my questioning, Mr & Mrs Smith promised to write a post on their blog to explain why an establishment might be called a 'boutique hotel'.

The detailed post gives a few examples of what could be ticked off on a list of boutique-esque qualities and reels off a number of its own hotels which meet the criteria.

The issue here is that industry people, let alone consumers, do not understand the difference between a 'boutique' or 'lifestyle' hotel.

There are bound to be dozens of differences between the two, but to many people it sounds a lot like marketing twaddle created for glossy travel magazines and Sunday newspapers.

Oh yes, darling, we stayed at the most amazing lifestyle hotel last weekend. Absolutely marvellous.
What do you mean? My lifestyle or your lifestyle?
It really could mean anything at all.

The problem is one of ensuring that customers can differentiate between certain types of hotels, beyond the marketing puff.

The wholly unscientific - but often interesting - Google test shows that "boutique hotel" claims 9.54 million results, with "lifestyle hotel" rummaging up 8.28 million.

One wonders how many hotels appear in both?

Kevin May, editor, Travolution


Dan G. said...

A search for both lifestyle AND boutique (ie not OR) gives 906,000 hotels

Dubai Hotels Booking said...

Boutique hotels are certainly different from conventional “cookie-cutter” hotels. They are deliberately designed to stand out. Unique qualities may come in the form of service, amenities, décor/style - or a combination of all three elements, though more often than not it is the décor/style that sets a boutique apart from a non-boutique. Layout, color schemes, lighting, furniture and bar-entertainment areas are different from the more traditional hotels. Other personal amenities that complete the overall experience may include complimentary branded bottled water, high thread-count sheets designed specifically for the hotel and one-off food packaging with high end retailers (i.e. Dean & Deluca or local purveyors) as well as such unique bathroom products as Aveda, Get Fresh or Kiehl’s. Many of these hotels even sell their one-of-a-kind beds, linen, art, stemware and even furniture (to name a few items) through a virtual boutique, thereby continuing the experience of the hotel when guests return home.

Hotel guests are ideally made to feel as though they are the only people in-house or at the very least are paid attention to when needed but not too overwhelming when privacy is desired. Personal service may be outstanding in many ways; by recognition of a guest by name, by interesting amenities - if you are a single traveler, you might share your room with a goldfish in a bowl at some of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco hotels - or by stocking a bedroom with specific amenities that a guest used on the last visit. Or, as is the case at Hotel Le Germain in Toronto, regular guests may leave their toiletries and dirty laundry and upon return their clean clothes and personal effects are waiting in their new room.