Boutique or 'independent' hotels are rising in popularity thanks to the likes of Air BnB, Mr & Mrs Smith and Doris & Dicky, sites which offer millennials the ultimate 'Instagram' experience at low cost prices - rooms that look good on pictures that don't always have the five star price tag. Many young people are now looking for travel experiences that can outdo their friends and they want something that will not only give them a fun experience, but something that will look good on their social media accounts. Boutique hotels often fill that gap by offering quirky themed rooms that give travellers that unique experience, beyond being a simple place to stay.
Chain hotels are just as popular, but for a different reason. Chain or branded hotels like Radisson, Hilton to name but a few, are great for those looking for stability and travellers who want to know exactly what they are getting. Many travellers will have a hotel chain that trust and love and will go back to again and again. What they lack often in individuality, they make up for in amenities and their general monopoly over the travel market.
Here's a simple guide to help you decipher which hotel is best suited to your trip.
If you're looking for something with individuality and flair, boutique hotels have that covered, but they generally have a lot less rooms in their hotels which makes booking sometimes an issue and because of their limited availability they can charge a premium. Chain hotels often have the same style room in every hotel which varies in size, but you often know what you are getting and can be assured that will have a comfortable stay.
With chain hotels generally being much bigger buildings, it means they can offer more amenities such as spas, pools, bars and restaurants and sometimes evening entertainment. Boutique hotels will usually have a restaurant, but depending on their size, it can often limit what they have to offer.
Many chain hotels are often based in the heart of the city or town and take up the top spots for tourists. Boutique hotels in a city can be pricey - look for those rural boutique hotels that offer you the best of both worlds, an escape from the city for the evening and the ability to experience what the city or town has to offer during the day.
Boutique hotels are great for local knowledge as they are mainly ran by people who have grown up in the area or have staff who live locally. Also, from my experience smaller independent companies often like to help each other out business wise so you are likely to get cheaper hotels, advice on great locally ran restaurants and discover some hidden gems from the people who know a lot about the location.
If you are looking for somewhere luxurious that has all the amenities, posh restaurants, city based, but may not be able to give you 100% of their attention chain hotels are great. Boutique hotels are great for those looking for a unique experience and where they can get to know the area that little bit better. With less rooms to service, Boutique hotels are usually great at adding those personal touches to your stay.
Prices vary from hotel to hotel and are very much dependent on location and the star rating of the hotel you go for. Boutique hotels are often pricier because they have less rooms and have a high demand, but also thanks to a lot of great comparison sites out there you can get some fantastic deals.
What do you prefer, boutique or chain hotels?