There are all sorts of reasons why guests research and book hotel stays – from convenience to experience, and from practical and logistical reasons to memorable stays and standout settings.
Hotel selection is often underpinned by a few different factors, considering the location of the hotel as well as its cost, available amenities, and the overall experience (for example, whether it has a restaurant on site, a spa, and kids’ facilities). While there are a multitude of chain hotels available around the world, where guests know what to expect and can feel certain in the standard and pricing of a one or multi-night stay, in this article we’re focussing specifically on boutique hotel design. That is, hotels that are designed as one-off businesses, uniting a memorable guest experience with a unique design and eye to specific themes and settings.
So, if a boutique hotel is your end goal, keep reading – as we dive into what it means to design a boutique hotel, and share some ways of designing a fresh and timeless boutique setting for your guests.
What is a boutique hotel?
In short, a boutique hotel is generally classed as a standalone business which offers an intimate experience. Far from the hundreds of hotel rooms offered by chains, a boutique hotel is often much smaller and offers guests an experience which is richly connected with the culture and history of the area – telling a story through its design.
The hallmarks of a boutique hotel
The hallmarks of a boutique hotel vary from business to business – after all, it’s this very customisation which makes them so unique. However, for the most part a boutique hotel will be small and will pay a high level of attention to the details and intricacies of both the design and guest experience.
They are often designed with the local culture in mind and pay homage to their place in the community through design and through business links – using local suppliers, working with other small businesses, and showcasing the work of artists and other creatives.
In terms of the experience and the atmosphere of a boutique hotel, it’s not uncommon for these destinations to offer amenities well beyond the basic expectations of guests – elevating the setting and ensuring that guests go home with more than just a good review of the bed and breakfast offering in mind.
With that said, and now that we have covered the basics of boutique hotel expectations, how can you make yours really stand out?
Design tips for your boutique hotel
Read on for some useful tips to help your boutique hotel stand out from the crowd.
1. Highlight and celebrate characterful features
Some of the best boutique hotels are born from buildings with their own history and story to tell. When designing your hotel, make the most of the building’s features and characteristics – from beams and flagstone floors to historical stories which fill the walls of your building.
2. Add personality to each room
One of the common features which unites many boutique hotels is the limited number of bedrooms. And what better way to make this a part of your hotel’s personality, than by giving each room its own design scheme and theme?! Giving each hotel room a name rather than a number and mixing up the colours and accessories across the different rooms, makes guests feel special and like they are experiencing something truly unique – rather than just another bed in another room.
Consider drawing inspiration from the local area, designing and naming rooms after local landmarks or historical events.
3. Lean on local culture and landscapes
From locally grown ingredients in the restaurant, to locally baked biscuits in your hotel rooms, local artists’ work on the walls, and décor inspired by the local landscape, making it obvious to guests why you chose to open your hotel in that exact location. Celebrate the setting rather than hiding it and entice guests to not only stay in your hotel but revel in your local area.
4. Work other services into the guest experience
Yes, it’s time to talk food, spas, personalised guest services, tours, and more. Some of the best boutique hotels in the world combine the classic guest services with those which go above and beyond – introducing them to local delicacies with high end restaurants, upgrading their stay with access to a pool and spa, and even offering them special tours or personalised experiences to tailor their stay.
The long and short of it is, if you want to curate and run a boutique hotel, you need to think about ways of creating a guest experience which is unique and which feels special and intimate from the moment they arrive. The Carroll Design team have worked with boutique hotel owners across the world and can help bring your ideas to life. Get in touch to find out more.