I travel quite a bit both for business and pleasure and one of my favorite things is getting to explore and experience a new boutique hotel. In the past, boutique hotels were defined as independently owned but these days even chains have gotten into the mix. They range in decor from stylish, quirky, modern, playful, classic and fantastical...but always full of personality.
The bf and I were discussing all of the unique hotels we had been to throughout the country and since we're both sticklers for great service and accommodations (not to mention, insanely opinionated), I wanted to share a list of the boutique hotels we've had the pleasure of visiting (so far!) along with some of their personality differences.
Pros: Very hip/contemporary. Rooms are spacious and each uniquely decorated. Their is a full service Starbucks adjacent to the hotel's lobby (which is a godsend on a business trip!). Beds are super soft and comfy! Tons of plugs for all of your electronics. Staff (while slim) is very friendly and have great knowledge of the area restaurants and shopping.
Cons: Decor is a bit vampy, so I wouldn't call it kid friendly. Attracts a very loud and boisterous crowd so bring earplugs. Hallways are dark and Twilight Zone-esq. Limited views here, most windows stare directly at another building.
Pros: Sooooo romantic, reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour. Their Sunday brunch is one of the best spreads I've ever seen and the lush garden setting is unmatched. The back pool is where it's at...a private bar and cabanas create a secluded oasis tucked away in the heart of this bustling city. Bring your extra dark shades, there is plenty of people watching to be had here.
Cons: Rooms are nothing to write home about. The main pool is too crowded and full of the usual Hollywood wannabes.
Pros: Great location in the heart of Scottsdale, minutes away from Fashion Square Mall and many of the city's best restaurants. Large rooms with unique floor plans and more than enough space for multiple people. Bathrooms are stocked with Aveda products!
Cons: The hotel features a bar on its main floor and there are several bars around the hotel...so it can get loud and the hotels occupants are a bit rowdy. Restaurant is sub-par, especially compared to all the yummy options in Scottsdale.
Pros: Beautiful, artsy lobby. Amazing location in the heart of Chicago with easy access to the best shopping and eateries. The views from many of the rooms are incredible and look right out onto State Street. I got lucky and had a huge suite when I stayed here (the room was just beyond)...needless to say the soft blues and warm decor really make you feel at home during your stay.
Cons: Hard to find if you're not familiar with the city. Hallways can bring out bouts of claustrophobia.
Pros: Super plush, cushy soft bed. Minimalist feel, rooms are pocket sized but perfect for solo stays or business trips. Chic room accents and fantastic in-house restaurant and yoga studio.
Cons: No counter space near the sink. Parking is non-existent (valet only) and the immediate area can be a little sketch since the Greyhound bus station is right next door (that being said, I didn't hear any disturbance from the station once I was inside).
Pros: BREATHTAKING pool area overlooking the bay with one of the best pool bars I've been to. To this day I have been trying to duplicate the Mondrian South Beach's signature Caipirinha cocktail...no luck yet and no other bar has come close! If you're looking for a stunningly beautiful Miami crowd, here's where you come (make sure you stop by your plastic surgeon on the way over). The Restaurant at Mondrian is a sight to behold and the food is incredible.
Cons: Rooms are almost too contemporary, a bit cold. Extra low beds, odd pictures of faces on the walls that creeped me out (see the pic at the top of this blog post)...very art deco and for a certain taste.
Pros: Possibly the most stunning hotel lobby I have ever been in (a must-see both day and night). Very elegant, stylish. They have a great garden right off the lobby that turns into a magical wonderland at night with hanging lights and live music.
Cons: Tight, tight, tight (!) rooms and bathrooms...they are tiny!! Basically there is room for a bed and just enough space to skim the wall beside it. I also had to press my back against the wall to squeeze by the bathroom sink in order to get to the shower.
Would love to hear about your boutique hotel experiences and recommendations!