Clarifying what is a Boutique Hotel?

By Bob Stein

Over the last several months Siesta Sand has published several stories seeking to bring public awareness to the hotel proposed to be built by Dr. Gary Kompothecras on Old Stickney Point Road.  The hotel has consistently been described as a boutique hotel.  Some have asked “what does boutique hotel mean?”  Some comments we have received suggest that boutique means small.  

Siesta Sand contacted Kompothecras to clarify his comments regarding the use of the words “Boutique hotel.”

How would you describe a boutique hotel?

The term boutique might be misused by many to describe the size of a hotel or the number of rooms in a hotel.  An industry spokesman, David Wallace who specializes in hotel design in Florida, says that there are boutique hotels in Florida alone that range in size from 10 rooms to 1000 rooms.  The reality is that boutique hotels are about lifestyle, not size. 

 Boutique Hotel is a term popularized in North America and the United Kingdom since the late 1980s to describe sometimes intimate, usually luxurious or unique hotel environments. Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain/branded hotels and motels by providing personalized accommodation, services and facilities in unique settings. The definition of boutique hotel is rather vague and relies on a subjective analysis.  Whether they are exclusively modern, historic, or a mix of both, these establishments usually focus on aesthetics and offer an exceptional standard of comfort and service.  

Can you name any hotels in Sarasota?

All major hotel chains like Marriott and IHG now have non-corporate associations of sub brands in their hotel lines that describe this kind of hotel facility.  The Art Ovation (Marriott Autograph brand) and Sarasota Modern (Marriott Tribute brand) are local examples of hotels described as boutique.

What is the difference between a regular hotel and a boutique one?

The main difference between a regular hotel and a boutique hotel is that no two boutique hotels are alike.  A boutique hotel has a strong personality A boutique hotel produces its one-on-one five-star hospitality service and its heady ambiance. A boutique hotel strives to be one-of-a-kind. Whether it’s independently owned or a member of a luxury hotel brand or association, it has an independent attitude and works hard to not feel like a corporate hotel. Sometimes, a boutique hotel belongs to the boutique brand created by a more conventional hotel company, such as or Marriott’s Tribute Hotels or Hilton’s Curio.

It has a contemporary vibe and a quirky, modern spirit. Boutique hotels are not stuffy. Their décor is typically modern and often cutting-edge, featuring stark palettes with bold color splashes. Fussy, glitzy furnishings are not boutique-hotel hallmarks.

A boutique hotel’s clientele is individualistic, too, appealing to guests who shy away from cookie-cutter décor and business hotels.

A boutique hotel can surprise and delight guests with winsome touches: a tiger-shaped faux-fur rug before the fireplace; a chocolate treat shaped like your first initial; your own (and not very corporate) temporary business cards. 

A boutique hotel is often rich in local flavor. Often an urban boutique hotel affords it a stylish, dead-center location in the heart of town, and its spirited ambiance suits its lively location. You’ll find boutique hotels in fashionable resort towns, too. But whether urban or rural, a good boutique hotel reminds you of where you are. Often, it conveys a strong sense of place and pride in its location’s heritage.