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Boutique Hotels - is a term originating in North America to describe intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environments. Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain/branded hotels and motels by providing personalized level accommodation and services / facilities. Sometimes known as "design hotels" or "lifestyle hotels", boutique hotels began in the 1980s in major cities like New York, London, and San Francisco.
Typically boutique hotels are furnished in a themed, stylish and/or aspirational manner. Although usually considerably smaller than a mainstream hotel (often ranging from 3 to 100 guest rooms), boutique hotels can often have hundreds of rooms in major cities. Boutique hotels are always individual and do not survive in corporate branding environments, so cannot exist in the large chain hotel groups. Guest rooms and suites may be fitted with telephony and Wi-Fi Internet, air-conditioning, honesty bars and often cable/pay TV, but equally may have none of these focussing on quiet and comfort rather than techno gadgetry. Guest services are often attended to by 24 hour hotel staff. Many boutique hotels have on-site dining facilities, and the majority offer bars and lounges which may also be open to the general public.
Despite this definition, the popularity of the boutique term and concept has led to some confusion about the term. Boutique hotels have typically been unique properties operated by individuals or companies with a small collection. However, their successes have prompted established multi-national hotel companies to usurp the term and try to establish their own brands to capture a market share.
There is some overlap between the concept of a small boutique hotel and a bed and breakfast.