7 Characteristics of Boutique Hotels and Why You Should Stay at One

by Carter Toni

Most business travelers stay in well-known hotel brand chains. The chains have several locations and the ability to provide familiar services, especially to business travelers.

However, other types of accommodations exist too including:

  • Motels
  • Inns
  • Resorts
  • Extended stay
  • Bed and breakfast
  • Boutique

To earn the label of a boutique hotel, the accommodations must satisfy a set of requirements.

We outline seven characteristics of boutique hotels and why you should stay at one.

1. Less Rooms

First and foremost, boutique properties have less than 100 rooms and more than 10. Standard hotels in the United States have an average of 313 rooms.

When you stay at a boutique, fewer people will stay there with you. Less traffic means more attention to your accommodations needs.

You might only hope for a comfortable bed to sleep in, a workspace to catch up on your notes, and delicious food to eat. Boutique hotels take that up a notch by limiting the number of rooms and guests.

2. Independent Ownership

Boutique hotels are similar to small companies. They have the freedom to personalize services and products.

Once a company wants to expand into more locations, it has to establish protocols that start making the service impersonal. It’s nice to travel around the world and know that a Big Mac is going to taste the same in Paris and Los Angeles.

However, frequent travelers sometimes seek a different experience that has a less corporate feel.

Independent ownership means that guests will experience the personal touches that each brings to the property.

In New York, the meatpacking district served as New York City’s slaughterhouse and factory center. That changed in the 2000s when labels and independent owners turned it into a fashionable district. There, you will find the Gansevoort Meatpacking.

If you’re not sure about staying at the smaller hotels, you can always read what others say about the accommodations.

3. Has a Personality

When you walk into a boutique hotel, you’ll notice that it has a personality. Some feature art. Others cater to the music scene.

Nashville is home to country music in the United States. The Bobby Hotel unapologetically features the local music vibe and creative scene. Guests will experience a cool vibe adorned with neon lights.

4. Personalized Service

The smaller hotel option cultivates a base of return guests. Therefore, the staff becomes acquainted with them. As a thank-you, the boutiques start providing personalized services without the guest asking for them.

Musicians are among the original road warriors. The boutiques started catering to them by adding on-site music recording studios.

If you hope to find a mint on your pillow, boutique hotels are more likely to provide them.

5. On-Site Bar and Dining

Boutique hotels take pride in providing on-site culinary experiences to their guests. The food and drinks go beyond the standard hotel bar and restaurant offerings.

The Maison de la Luz in New Orleans, Louisiana, makes entering the Bar Marilou an adventure. Guests receive exclusive access to the next-door bar through a revolving bookcase. Plus, the hotel’s parlor is known for serving tasty blue crab and gruyere omelets.

Most boutiques source ingredients locally. They were among the first in the hospitality industry to bring the farm-to-table back to the forefront.

6. Added Luxury

Since boutique accommodations have independent ownership, they tend to invest heavily in renovating the property. Owners purchase properties that have lost their luster. They take rundown jewels and revamp them.

The result is hotels that pay homage to the local area’s history. Plus, they don’t skimp on adding luxurious features and amenities.

When business takes you to Philadelphia, you can stay at The Rittenhouse. It received a $10 million renovation. Now it features a full-service spa, on-site restaurants, and spacious rooms. The property completes its luxurious amenities with marble and mahogany accents.

7. Cultural Heritage

Boutique hotels have a cultural heritage and history. For example, the Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park, El Paso, Texas, is an original Hilton that dates back to the 1930s.

The owners invested $78 million into its renovation in 2020. Now it features a southwest style that celebrates the local heritage. Plus, guests enjoy a luxurious experience when they stay at the property.

It also features a rooftop bar, La Perla. Previously, the space served as a penthouse where Elizabeth Taylor lived.


Business travelers benefit when they stay at chain hotels. It’s an easy way to earn rewards and redeem them for attractive discounts and free stuff. Sometimes, it’s worth changing things up. Staying at a boutique hotel provides a luxurious experience with personalized service and a celebration of the local color.

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