No More Holiday Blues
I have always wondered why Chris Isaac wrote the song, ?Blue Hotel.? Perhaps he was on a trip somewhere and there was no room in the plush Five Star, so he opted for the reasonably priced hotel. The room ended up costing a fortune, the place was understaffed, and no one bothered to vacuum the carpet or notice he was there. After this thoroughly miserable experience, he wrote this song, which became a hit based purely on the fact that so many people related!
Turn of Times
Unfortunately, hotels are no longer the genteel places they used to be. No longer do they conjure up thoughts of comfort, smiles-on-arrival, good service and delicious food. For nearly a decade now, people have steered clear of hotels and occupancy has dropped dramatically. With so many people in the hotel industry getting it wrong. The boutique hotel seems to be getting it right.
Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain/branded hotels and motels by providing personalised level accommodation and services/ facilities. The term ?boutique hotel? originates in North America and describes an intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environment. Typically, boutique hotels are styled in a themed, tasteful and/or aspirational manner. Although usually considerably smaller than a mainstream hotel, ranging from 3 to 100 guest rooms, boutique hotels are fitted with telephony and internet services, air-conditioning, honesty bars and often cable/pay TV. Hotel staff is often available on a 24-hour basis. Many boutique hotels have on-site dining facilities, and the majority offer bars and lounges, which may also be open to the public. Examples now exist worldwide, which include exotic locations like South Africa.
The Boutique Critique
What makes one hotel a boutique while another is not? There are several factors to bear in mind. One is size. The maximum number of rooms allowable for a boutique hotel is generally one hundred.
Personal service generally distinguishes the small independent hotel from the large chains; it is important to evaluate the areas of guest interaction and the impact of the ambience. Personally greeting guests in a warm, efficient manner as opposed to them wandering around aimlessly on the 55th floor is the great plus of a boutique hotel. The intimacy of the space allows for the personal touch and your professionalism in handling guests can be taken to another level.
The right atmosphere is a major contributing factor to the success of a boutique hotel: décor, ambience, personalised service, attitude of management and staff, and how these ingredients combine together to create the right amount of flare that guarantees guests an exceptional experience.
Anticipating the needs of guests, learning about each person?s requirements, when and how they want something, will be the difference between a return visit and a no-show. A boutique hotel is supposed to have just the right amount of panache you would expect from a design hotel. Guests should feel relaxed, pampered and impossibly special. A key recipe for return visits.
About the Author: The Fabz Estate http://www.fabz.co.za offers a better life for all. It has literally been constructed brick-by-brick by every member of the Fabris family. Located between Lonehill and Fourways in Johannesburg, this hotel has a peaceful, farm-like ambience. The level of care and service make it a true 'boutique hotel.'