There are almost as many answers as there are boutique places to rest your head. But as this is one of the fastest growing sectors in the hotel industry, the question really does deserve an answer.
First base for a boutique hotel should be taking special care with even the smallest of details, from location to design to outstanding personalised service to the best ingredients in its restaurants. The ‘boutique objective’ should be to become a one-of-a-kind host.
Some boutiques are based around concept (such as our very own The Boathouse Phuket), while some may offer individually themed rooms or suites (like the Mustang Nero Hotel featured in our Jan-Feb issue). But what really should make a boutique hotel special is its unique personality – as defined by the personality of its creator or manager. Just as you won’t find two people exactly alike, you should not find two boutique hotels exactly alike.
Which really begs the question: are the ‘boutique’ brands of the major hotel chains REALLY boutique hotels? Let’s set that aside for another time while we focus on some definitions of what makes a boutique hotel…
Every hotel that doesn’t boast hundreds of rooms seems to want to classify itself as a boutique hotel. But what does that actually mean? What is exactly is a boutique hotel?
How about this for a start…?
Well… maybe, but surely there must be more. And there is. Below are a few more key characteristics that aim to set boutique hotels apart from other types of accommodation.
Now let’s hear from one of Phuket’s first and most distinctive boutique resorts – a resort still managed by its owner and original developer, the Mangosteen Ayurveda Wellness Resort, – which describes itself as Phuket’s most romantic adult-only boutique resort… No kids, no tour groups!
“We believe,” say Rose and Hajo, the couple who own and run The Mangosteen, “a genuine boutique resort should…”
A recent Facebook post by Hajo gives an inkling of what this boutique resort is all about. “I went for a walk today, again and again amazed how beautiful the garden looks... Now, it’s flower time, everything blossoms!” That surely sums it up. The owner takes a morning walk through his own property and reacts just as a guest might do. That’s a boutique resort!
The crescent-shaped infinity pool that looks out across Kata Beach from The Boathouse, Phuket’s first boutique hotel and sponsor of these pages.