As a hotel interior designer, I understand that a guest’s interest in staying at the hotel goes beyond basic hospitality needs. Yes, the food and drink should be of high quality just as the customer service. However, the aesthetic, taste, and details are differentiating elements ultimately make us choose one hotel instead of another.

There are many types of hotels, and they bring with them variants of style and designs that mark key differences in the feeling they bring to the guests. Which hotels offer me comfort and exclusivity?

From a design standpoint, I am always more impressed with boutique hotels. A boutique hotel is practically a mini luxury hotel. Their principal is to offer a luxurious and personalized style experience with refined designs taking great care of the visual details. Each room offers something special, which makes them stand out from larger hotels or chains.

What are the characteristics of a boutique hotel design?

Boutique hotels are not usually located in traditionally crowded touristic areas. We often find boutique hotels in the cities or very central sites nestled in metropolitan areas. In fact, the first hotels of this type emerged in cities like New York and Paris in the mid-1980s. Since then, it has been a distinction that sets them apart from traditional hotels. As a general rule, their designs tend to be less influenced by tourism than their large-hotel counterparts and are therefore a more immersive experience.

Characterized by a rich cultural setting of the region, these hotels reflect the regionalism and the arts of the city through their accessories and decorative adornments. It is one of the things that I love most of the boutique hotels--being able to know the local traditional heritage through the design and incorporating industrial, coastal or historical elements that represent the regional identity. When working with boutique hotels, we tend to pull in more local style including color schemes, architecture and local artists.

Boutique hotels often also occupy buildings that previously served another purpose. As a trend, they seek to preserve old buildings and restore them. That being said, they usually have incredible architecture and a rich history. Ask any boutique hotel owner about their building, and they are likely to give you a fascinating account of everything that happened in the building before they acquired it. We want the design to add to that historical value, and give new life to the building.

Because we want to preserve the historical experience of the building, we work hard to make sure the design style fits the historical period of the hotel. We tend us use furniture and decor relative to that period and research the original function of the building to bring a piece of that experience to the guests.

Perhaps the most exciting element of boutique hotel design is the flexibility and opportunity for creativity. When we talk to owners, they are not constrained by corporate palettes or brand images, and they are interested in bringing a story to life. They are focused on creating an experience more than design. With the collaboration of the team, we can channel this excitement into some of the most unique and incredible interiors ever imagined.

To see samples of boutique hotels we have helped transform into living art, check out our portfolio.