MAYBE: Beccy Gunn,
GM, The Kensington Hotel, London. "A boutique hotel is one that delivers an experience that is intimate, memorable and aspirational. Although budget hotels in general will not offer the same calibre of facilities and service associated with the term boutique, they can be beautifully designed, independent in their offering and provide a service that is individual."
MAYBE: Cheryl Rosner,
cofounder and CEO, Stayful, New York. "Budget hotels are limited service, moderately priced and generally classified as one- or two stars. A boutique hotel stands out for its style, design, and how it embodies its location and community. A budget boutique has the same characteristics, with fewer services and frills but a reasonable price. Fan faves in London include Church Street Hotel and umi Hotel London."
MAYBE: Roberto Pajares,
general manager, The Ampersand Hotel, London. "Typically boutique hotels are unlikely to be found among large hotels or chains, but there are exceptions, especially in the budget lux market with Hoxton and Citizen M being good examples. Citizen M hotels tend to be less individual as they are rolled out but attract a similar market. It's an exciting time with new players like Ace Hotels blurring the lines between budget/mid-market and high-end hotels, with larger chains trying to keep up."
YES: Harjeet Johal, interior designer, Nottingham. "Some of the most wonderful boutique hotels I have seen have, in essence, the same facilities to offer as a motorway hotel: a bed, a bathroom and a place to have breakfast. They stand out for their design, flair and service. Room rate is also irrelevant in deciding if a hotel is a boutique. It is financially viable to offer well-designed rooms at a value price so long as the location, business ethic and marketing strategy allow."
YES: Afroditi Krassa, interior designer, Afroditi Krassa, London. "The term boutique is about having personality, style and deviating from the crowd. Our appetite for luxe-for-less is creating a huge opportunity for hoteliers to deliver hospitality in the truest sense: to offer a friendly and generous reception. As long as a business is delivering then they can be boutique, from tree houses to six-star hotels."
YES: Paul Rinkens,
CEO and founder, Qbic Hotels. "The older I get, the more I learn that what is interesting in life are the simple things and simple things are usually logic - that's disappeared in our industry. I can't understand a lot of experiences in buildings they call hotels anymore. We wanted to prove you can build an experience for less."