Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Boutique Hotels
The lodging industry is one of the oldest businesses to exist in this world. It has been around ever since people started travelling from one place to the other for trade and other purposes. What began as the need of the hour (rest and shelter during long journeys) soon turned into an industry that offered comfort, convenience, even luxury, to their boarders. For example, The Greeks built thermal baths that allowed their guests to rest and recuperate. Romans constructed palatial mansions for travelers, while Caravanserais along the famous Silk Road from Turkey to China offered shelter not just for men but also their beasts.
In the 21st century, hotels have evolved into a flourishing business that has become an inseparable part of the travel industry. The styles range from flamboyant properties to bare-bone youth hostels, and all-inclusive honeymoon resorts to quaint country inns.
However, as competition grew and hotels started offering standard services across the chain, there was need for something innovative in the market. People, tired of impersonal services, started moving towards smaller hotels that offered personalized attention and unique experiences.
And thus was born the darling of the hospitality industry – boutique hotels. Today, they are the most sought after stay option for leisure travellers and the ultimate name in exclusivity. More and more people are choosing to stay in boutique hotels, because they’re almost always guaranteed to have a good time and get great value for their money
Given the popularity they enjoy, it’s worthwhile taking a peek into the fascinating history of boutique hotels and trace their evolution over time.
History of Boutique Hotels
The earliest boutique hotels appeared in the early 1980s, the first two of them being The Blakes Hotel in South Kensington, London, and the Bedford in Union Square, San Francisco. The term ’boutique hotel’, though, appeared much later in 1984, coined by Steve Rubell. He compared his own establishment, Morgans Hotel, to a small boutique, obviously wishing to highlight its exclusivity and set it apart from other hotels that were cropping up everywhere, much like the monolithic department stores.
This is not to say that boutique hotels are a modern invention. There are plenty of documented instances of similar lodging experiences dating back to the 13th century when staging posts were set up for travellers in Mongolia and China.
Here are a few more examples of one-of-a-kind boutique hotels that were popular back in the days:
- In 1705, César Ritz opened a boutique hotel at Place Vendôme, which earned him high praise from King Edward VII who called him “king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings”.
- In 1822, Venitian artist Giuseppe Rubino transformed an old palace into a gorgeous hotel and called it “il Rubino”.
- In 1880, the Sagamore Hotel on Lake George (in the state of New York) became the first to provide electricity in each of its guest rooms, creating no small stir among visitors in those times.
- In 1900, Edouard Niiermans, known as the ‘architect of palaces’ transformed Emperor Napoléon III’s summer residence – Villa “Eugenie – into a beautiful and niche hotel.
- In 1919, Barcelona inaugurated a stylish hotel that was equipped with hot and cold water in its bathrooms.
As you can see, there have been numerous occasions throughout the history of the lodging industry when hoteliers applied creativity and offered top-notch services to stay ahead of the competition and offer something extraordinary to their visitors.Boutique Hotel of the 21st Century – Characteristics that Set It Apart
Today, the term ’boutique hotel’ is used to describe small establishments with around 150 rooms. They are privately owned, or part of a small group of hotels, and are best known for iconic, memorable and, at times, eccentric design themes. The concept of boutique hotels became a trend after hotelier Ian Schrager and French designer Philippe Starck used unique designs to build their hotels. And now, it has become a flourishing industry of its own, complete with unique traits and qualities.
Here’s looking at some of the more important ones.
Size Does Matter
Boutique hotels are generally considered small, but they’re not in the same category as Bed and Breakfast hotels or homestays that have less than 10 rooms. Boutique hotels can have up to 150 rooms, which does make it appear smaller when you compare it to most chain hotels.
However, it is this intimate scale that helps create a home-like ambiance with peace and privacy aplenty. These cozy properties often have a communal “living space” where the guests can sit and interact with each other.
Personality Speaks Volumes
Since boutique hotels are independently owned and not affiliated to any big chain, they are a brand in themselves. They have a distinctive vibe to them that sets them apart from the others. It is their unique personality and absence of cookie cutter solutions that guests find refreshing, thereby drawing more and more people towards boutique hotels.
Design by Desire
Boutique hotels are known for their intriguing interiors, which are very often created by leading designers and architects. Generally speaking, these niche hotels tend to maintain an upmarket look, combining historic elegance with chic details. The décor conveys a progressively forward style and the overall design could range from contemporary and quaint, to homely and artistic. Each guest room is decorated individually, complete with exclusive amenities and upscale linen.
It’s All in the Charm
You know how you walk into a big hotel, but nothing really spectacular or interesting jumps out at you? Boutique hotels will have none of that and the first thing that grabs your attention is their eccentric personality. They are funky, trendy, and offbeat. For instance, the Hotel Monaco in Washington D.C. will bring a goldfish in a bowl to your room, if you don’t have a pet of your own.
While there aren’t any hard and fast rules about where a boutique hotel should be situated, it’s no coincidence that the best of them have a great location going for them. When designing boutique hotels, most hoteliers choose the hippest and most happening places to set them in. You may even find them in high-end neighborhoods, removed from the hustle and bustle, but still close to the attractions and highlights of the city. Yet another popular choice for boutique hotels would be in areas that are far removed from the city, in the lap of nature and surrounded by lush greenery.
One of the most distinguishing features of boutique hotels is the highly personalized and exclusive services they extend to their guests. The staff is courteous and friendly and is likely to know your name from day one. The hotel provides bespoke luxury amenities, like an extensive pillow menu, custom toiletries, and an array of relaxing spa services. A sumptuous spread of food and drinks menu is also a signature part of a boutique hotel. All these services combined create a top notch and singular experience for the guests.
Delectable Dining Options
Another feature that makes boutique hotels stand apart from other hotels is their significant focus on creating extraordinary restaurants and bars, which are modish and trendy. These hotels make a great reputation for themselves, which is independent of the conventional star ratings. Thanks to their appeal, they’re able to draw crowds not just locally, but also globally.
As you can see, there are a number of reasons why boutique hotels are fast gaining popularity among travellers, who are demanding more than comfort and convenience from their stay options. They want to be surprised, they want to experience something new, something completely different from what the run-of-the-mill hotels offer. In fact, these days, if you’re not staying at a boutique hotel, you’re considered unfashionable.
I don’t mean to imply in any way that hotels are boring or uninspiring. There are excellent hotels all over the world offering out-of-the-world service to their guests. However, boutique hotels break the traditional mold and refuse to be boxed in by regular standards. Offering visitors style, distinction, intimacy, and warmth, they leave guest with an experience they can cherish forever. And isn’t that what hotels set out to do in the first place?
20 Facilities That You Need To Check Prior Booking Hotels In ECR
I have come up with the list of 20 essential amenities that should be available in every ECR hotels.
The folks from the city side most often visit ECR in Chennai as a weekend retreat. They will mostly reach the hotels in ECR via car and bikes. The guests prefer a vast safe and secure parking space where they can park their vehicles.
Most of the hotels offer free parking space whereas some charge for the parking facility. Guests generally prefer booking hotels that provide free parking space.
If you are staying at a resort near ECR, they should offer an internet connection to all their guests. Most of the hotels in ECR, Chennai are providing Free Wi-fi to all their guests. This is because the guests prefer a home-like atmosphere with good internet connectivity.
If it is a business hotel, it is mandatory to provide best internet connection. In today’s scenario, Wi-Fi has become important as the air we breathe. It has become one of the essential factors for booking any hotels in ECR.
Most of the people want to pack lightly while they are on a travel. So they expect few things to be readily available in their rooms like towels. It should be replaced daily for hygienic reasons. Folks despise towels that are not clean and old. There should be 2 towels in every hotel room that are super soft.
The towels kept in the rooms should be made of cotton fibers as some people may have an allergy to polyester. Nowadays, towels are considered to be a top priority amenity in every hotel whether it may be a cheap resort or luxurious one. A hotel is not considered as a hotel without towels.
The housekeeping service in the ECR hotels must be done at least once in a day. The housekeeping includes cleaning rooms, replacing towels and linens. The guests prefer rooms that are clean and neat. Untidy room results in negative feedback from the guest which is not good for them.
We all know that dining at the in-house restaurant sometimes can be pricey. Most of the guests want something that is complimentary like a breakfast or a welcome drink. In recent times, most of the hotels in ECR Road, Chennai offers Complimentary Breakfast with rooms.
This is because the guests don’t want to go out early for breakfast. They mostly prefer a simple breakfast that they can have in their room itself. Free breakfast concept is not only for luxury resorts but also for budget stays as well.
Nothing is soothing than a good hot shower. All the guests prefer 24*7 hot and cold water supplies in their rooms. A good shower rejuvenates our body after a long tiring day. It is mandatory that every hotel near ECR must offer continuous water supply to all their guests.
Carrying the basic hygiene kit all the time is not possible. We tend to forget it in some cases. So, all the guests expect the hotels or resorts to offer a compact toiletries kit that holds a simple hygiene kit.
Providing a complimentary kit will definitely please the guests. Instead of giving many small samples of shampoo, soap or conditioner, the resorts can offer regular size ones that have more practical usage.
In today’s scenario, there is no such person who doesn’t love watching TV. A cozy evening time is not complete without watching your favorite shows. TV is considered as an important facility in every hotel in OMR Road.
If you travel staying with your friends for a weekend and there is an important match that today would you miss it? Definitely No!
Most of the 3-star hotels near OMR Road, Chennai are facilitated with a mini fridge where the guests can store water, beverages, and perishables. Even though the fridge is considered as a luxury feature, it is very much essential in the current scenario.
We cannot go out every time to dine outside or we may not like the food offered in the in-house eatery. In such cases, we can store eatables like bread, trail mix or juices which we can have a light dinner.
The hotels in ECR mostly have a specific fixed check-in and checkout timings. In a practical scenario, we cannot arrive at the resort at the exact check-in time. Sometimes, we may reach early. In such cases, we prefer to check-in earlier.
Keeping this in mind, some of the hotels near ECR Road have started to allow early check-ins. They don’t charge anything extra for earlier check-ins.
Complimentary Bottled Water
Apart from Wi-Fi, Parking, and Restaurant, Water bottles are the next essential thing on this list. It is considered as an important amenity in all hotels in ECR vicinity.
Free Bottled water must be kept in every room in the ECR hotels. Keeping water bottles is a part of guest hospitality which is preferred by everyone staying in any 3-star hotels in ECR.
If you are staying with your family, your kids will definitely enjoy playing in the swimming pool. The hotel that has a swimming pool will definitely attract a large crowd. Some of the 5-star hotels in ECR Road have swimming pools on the top floor which is quite scenic.
Whether it may be a luxury hotel or a cheap hotel, folks prefer hotels or resorts that have the swimming pool. It is an important criterion to be considered if you stay at any ECR hotels.
Planning a weekend retreat? Check whether the hotels or resorts that you are choosing have an onsite restaurant. Majority of the hotels offers complimentary breakfast with rooms. It is wise to choose a hotel in ECR that has an in-house restaurant.
The restaurant should serve different cuisines ranging from local to international cuisines. Are you staying with your family, book a hotel that serves the best food at best price.
Being a weekend getaway destination, most of the resorts and hotels in ECR have a Bar. People booking accommodations near OMR, Chennai for a team get together prefer hotels that have a bar to spend a quality time with their friends. The bar should hold liquors of different varieties that satisfies all your requisites.
Nothing relaxes a tired body than a rejuvenating spa treatment. Business folks and couples who stay in hotels in ECR prefer Spa as a part of their package. The Spa Service is charged separately according to the service you use.
Most of the 3-star hotels in OMR Road have Spa in their itinerary as one of the special amenities other than bar and kitchenette.
Everyone requires fresh clothes to wear on a daily basis. Offering a laundry bag in the resort room will definitely make the guest’s stay comfier and relaxed. Sometimes, the hotels in ECR have laundry service where they will wash the guest’s clothes.
The laundry services are generally extra charged service which the guest can opt if required. Most of the luxury hotels in ECR have this facility.
No hotel is complete without a lift. Would you prefer lift or climbing stairs to reach your room on the 5th floor? Obviously, you will prefer utilizing lift. They are considered as a modern day comfort as most of the people prefer it rather than walking.
Staying with your family in a hotel? Make sure the hotel you are staying has a lift because you may stay with your parents who have trouble walking up the stairs. Keep this in mind before making your room reservation.
Modern-day hotels mostly have a kitchenette where the guests can make their own coffee or grill a sandwich. If you feel bored to go out to dinner, you can make a simple salad in your room and eat it.
There is no such person who does not like AC in their rooms. Sleeping with your blanket on in a cozy room is a heavenly feel. Make sure your room has an AC that you can use on a hot summer day or even a rainy day if you like the chill climate. AC comes with the list of top amenities that every guest prefers.
Do you prefer wet hair or a silky soft dry hair after your bath? Definitely the second one. Whether it may be a budget hotel or a luxury resort, you will obviously like it when you have a hair dryer to use. It is not practical to carry a blower while you are on a vacation. In such cases, the hotels in ECR that offers hair dryer will be definitely liked by all.
What’s Your Perfect Hotel?
– Choosing between independent hotels, big chains, heritage hotels & homestays –
Travelling in India is fun but challenging. And finding the right hotel for your family is even more so. I have always been curious about the ‘right fit’ that each traveller seeks for their hotel stays. Is it the location, the luxury quotient and great food? Or is it an intimate atmosphere, efficient service, outdoor activities and places to explore? My conclusion is that, as with many other things in India, perhaps the search for the perfect family hotel also defies a logical decision-making process.
Travelling as adults is relatively straight forward. We are more flexible. Add a few kids into the equation and it is a very different story, especially when it’s a long, arduous journey.
As with so many things with today’s India, the tourism sector has seen rapid expansion over the past decade and there are now far more hotel options than previously. No longer are the only choices seriously high-end chain hotels (think the Oberois) grotty, over-priced mid-range hotels, or scruffy back-packer haunts. Added to these are ‘heritage hotels’, decent independent luxury hotels, and homestays.
But is it possible to define which of these would make an ideal hotel for families with children?
Of course, the location is pretty critical. That is the ease of getting there, as well as its location in relation to planned activities. A well-located hotel can save you many hours on India’s sometimes dreadful roads where pit stops are few and far between, thus resulting in less, “Are we there yet?” questions from the children.
Food – As Indian eating times, as well as the actual food, often differ to that of Western children, the whole issue of feeding the troops can be a major cause for heartburn for parents particularly with younger children. However, it is possible to find hotels for children that serve child-friendly food (even if from a limited menu) at a time when the kids want it. It has to be said that hotels that have specific kids menus and high chairs are harder to find.
Facilities – Lots of space to run around and be active, along with a pool is an obvious requirement for families. Proper babysitting facilities, which allow parents to enjoy their evening as much as their children enjoyed their day, are a serious bonus. A special kid’s camp or day care activities are still pretty rare.
Extra beds – This little add-on can drive up costs quite considerably, along with the annoyance factor of the extra bed(s) never being in the room when you arrive. However, there are hotels that charge a reasonable charge for extra beds and have rooms that can comfortably accommodate two extra beds. In my experience, it is worth asking and asking again how the system works in ‘that hotel’.
Safety & interconnecting rooms – With a larger family or with older children, some parents prefer to have their kids in an adjacent room, but directly accessible. However, outside of the larger chain hotels, very few independent hotels have interconnecting rooms. The tricky part here remains that of getting a hotel to commit to reserving them for you. A suite may not always be available or affordable.
Of course, this all begs the question, do such hotels exist that meet the above criteria and what type of hotel are you best considering? The independent hotels (boutique or otherwise) offer the most interesting opportunities to discover the real India. These are usually built and run by an individual or family, but are full service hotels. And these are many a time, your best options in less developed and remote destinations. However, they come with a question mark – are they as good as they say they are? Independent hotels that are well located, provide a feeling of safety, comfort and familiarity from the moment you arrive, that have extra beds in place and does not charge a fortune for them and will serve child friendly food at any given time. They do exist, and finding them can be delightful even if there are not enough of them. Developed tourist areas in Rajasthan, Kerala & Goa offer a better chance to find such hotels.
Some of them are
Flameback Lodges, Kollam – Private cottages, away from all activity and each room offers a fabulous view of the private lake. Flameback really is a home tucked away in the midst of the jungle.
Red Earth, Kabini – Soak in the serenity and the sounds of the jungle at the Red Earth Kabini. Situated close to the Kabini dam, across the Kapila River, the resort is surrounded on two sides by water. Cottages are spacious and space for the kids to run around.
Marari Beach – Far from the madding crowd, and distant from the world of trendy hotspots and beach raves, Marari’s lietmotifs are space and silence. A stretch of virgin white sandy beach with clear blue waters is amazing to play in.
As the independent family friendly hotels are relatively unknown, many travellers tend to choose the tried and tested option of larger chain hotels. Big chain hotels trump others in consistency, better trained staff and rewards. However, they do disappoint when it comes to delivering authentic experiences in India.
Notable exceptions here however would be hotels in Rajasthan. Like the:
Bungalow on the beach, Tranquebar – Built in the 17th century, the Bungalow offers a living history. It still retains the charming essence of the years gone before and of course the beaches. It offers its guests a chance to immerse themselves in the simple way of life.
Fragrant Nature, Kollam – Fragrant Nature Resort lies on the undiscovered shores of Lake Mala in southern Kerala near Kollam (Quilon). The resort’s cottages blend with the secluded beauty of the natural surroundings. The resort is also about the excellent food and the leisure and cultural activities.
Vivenda dos Palhacos, Goa – Vivenda dos Palhaços is a distinct home with a sprinkling of everything Goan. A modest Portuguese Mansion, built in 1929, greets visitors from the front. An older, Hindu house, made from thick rammed earth walls, is tucked behind. The aesthetically decorated rooms reflect warmth and welcome.
And how do the heritage hotels fare? They can range from the small and quirky to the majestic. Well run heritage hotels are fascinating, but probably not a great fit for families – think safety, more objects to break, narrow stairs etc. However these hotels offer a great opportunity to stay in & experience a “piece of history”. Outside of the popular Rajasthan heritage circuit, there are some lovely heritage hotels to be discovered in the south – in places like Tranquebar, Pondicherry, Fort Kochi, Madurai & Coimbatore.
Ajit Bhawan, Jodhpur – One of India’s first heritage hotels, it was built exclusively for the younger brother of the Maharaja in the serene desert of Rajasthan. Decades later, the Haveli has been opened as the perfect way to experience the legacy and get a taste of this royal luxury.
Royal Heritage Haveli, Jaipur – Built in the 18th century the Haveli opened its doors after 150 years as boutique hotel. Sprawled over 100,000 square feet, complete with rambling lawns, serene courtyards, plush interiors and stately living areas offering an escape from the mundane with exceptional hospitality perfected over generations.
Homestays, the Indian equivalent of a Bed & Breakfast have come a long way over the last few years – however the service offering varies widely. And the interpretation of a home stay can vary. Do the hosts stay in house? Or do they stay in a separate annexe or not at all? Is the food really home cooked and authentic or just general fare? The comforts and amenities vary widely as well. A coffee estate homestay can be a whole different experience to one in a city – in terms of space, service levels and facilities. Research and recommendations will play a bigger role in selecting an ideal homestay. Locating them on arrival can also be difficult as the typical Indian way of asking locals for directions may not produce results – they may not always be aware of smaller homestays. The biggest advantage with homestays, however, is when you find great hosts who are not only knowledgeable, but also are passionate about food and service. Homestays of course are also likely to be inexpensive in comparison to the others.
The fashion capital of the world and the city of dreams, Paris attracts hordes of tourists and business travelers to its ethereal realms every year. A marvelous and spectacularly beautiful city, Paris embodies all that is ancient and magnificent, ultra-modern and chic of European culture. While the Louvre is visited by art and sculpture lovers and enthusiasts of the world, the Rue Saint-Honore and the Champs Elysees are thronged by globetrotters and shopaholics who patronize haute couture and who like to regale themselves at nightclubs. Paris is dotted with numerous hotels. The various Paris hotels offer excellent accommodation to the travelers who arrive at this historic European city for holidaymaking, attending art conferences and for business.
Luxury Paris Hotels
The many Paris hotels that are located in the heart of the city, in close proximity to the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre museum, on Champs Elysees and Rue Saint-Honore, the celebrated Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde, Tuileries Garden, the Elysee Palace, the Invalides Museum, the Seine river that cuts across Paris, and the other renowned landmarks of Paris are obviously the most expensive and the plushest hotels of the city. Some of the best luxury Paris hotels are the Hotel Plaza Athenee, Hotel Pont Royal, Hotel Le Meurice, Tiara Chateau Hotel Mont Royal, Hotel de Crillion, Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel, The Westin Paris, La Tremoille, Hyatt Regency Madeleine, Hotel du Louvre, Trianon Palace Versailles, Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe, etc.
The luxury Paris hotels charge anything from 610 to 20,000 per day according to the rooms and suites that you choose to stay in. These hotels of Paris provide grand luxury to their inmates. Each of the rooms and suites are gloriously furnished and opulently decorated. Whether you’ve booked just a single room or the Presidential suite, you’ll feel that you’re re-living history and living like one of the Parisian monarchs, in the luxury Paris hotels. The architecture of each of the modern luxury Paris hotels resembles that of some medieval palace or imposing medieval edifice of Paris in one way or the other. So it’ll not be surprising if you feel like Louis XIV or Napoleon Bonaparte while traversing through the rooms of a luxury Paris hotel. Though equipped with modern and hi-tech amenities for the comfort of the 21st century traveler, the luxurious hotels of Paris represent the medieval spirit of the Palace of Versailles, the fascinating beauty of the exhibits of the Louvre, the exquisite workmanship of the Notre Dame and the intellectual superiority of the Montmartre in their halls, rooms, their decor and in their milieu.
Conference Facilities, Banqueting, Weddings and Fashion Shows in Luxury Paris Hotels
Needless to say, the luxury hotels of the city are great places for historic meetings and rendezvous. These hotels boast of spacious and elaborate conference and banquet halls equipped with the smartest audiovisual gadgets so that meetings may be conducted seamlessly. It’s an altogether different experience to conduct or attend meetings amidst gorgeous surroundings, intricately carved statues, sculptures and caryatids in the meeting rooms of these Parisian hotels. While transporting you to a bygone age, the meeting rooms in these hotels help you to experience the advantages of cutting-edge technology when you’re hosting and participating in interactive conferences. Meeting room layouts in these hotels can be arranged as you wish and according to which Parisian landmark you’d like your meeting attendees to get a glimpse of in the course of the meeting: the Eiffel Tower, the Tuilleries Garden or the Louvre.
The luxury hotels of Paris are also perfect venues for celebrating weddings and for hosting parties and fashion shows. The luxury Paris hotels employ the talents of the best chefs of Paris who dish out their amazing and mouthwatering creations at banquets, parties, weddings and conference luncheons and dinners hosted in the hotels.
Medium-Priced Paris Hotels
These hotels are situated on highways, near the Charles de Gaulle Airport of Paris or in places in the city from where long-distance traveling is essential to get to downtown Paris and the various tourist hotspots of Paris. Medium-priced hotels in Paris are good hotels and offer fine accommodation facilities to their guests. They are well decorated but not opulently decorated. The décor in medium-priced Parisian hotels is modern and posh and focuses more on utility than on grandeur. Medium-priced hotels afford their guests an extremely comfortable stay as rooms and suites in these hotels are equipped with all the modern amenities. The medium-priced hotels of Paris are generally 3 and 4 star hotels.
The medium-priced Paris hotels are noted particularly for the sumptuous breakfasts that they serve their guests every morning. Sumptuous breakfasts, in Parisian hotels, are included with the room charges and are not extra as they are in the London hotels. Breakfast halls are typically roomy and divided into many segments so that different groups of tourists can sit in the different segments, while they eat. Breakfasts are well-laid out and include meat as well as non-meat products. Different kinds of French cheese; fruits, fruit juice; a variety of French bread including baguettes and croissants with generous helpings of butter, marmalade, pork-spread and jam; different preparations of egg such as French omelets, scrambled eggs, fried eggs and boiled eggs; milk, cream; cereals such as cornflakes and porridge; pork products such as grilled and deep-fried bacon, smoked and grilled sausages, ham and salami; and beverages such as tea and coffee are what you’ll see in the breakfast halls of medium-priced Paris hotels every morning, when you wake up, bleary-eyed and eager for a hearty meal. Hotel guests of these hotels have often praised the kitchen staff of these hotels for serving tasty and filling breakfasts, luncheons and dinners.
Medium-priced Paris hotels charge anything from 102 to 500 per day. Some of the most famous medium-priced Paris hotels are Express by Holiday Inn, Lille Center, Abba Montparnasse Hotel, Baltimore Paris Hotel, Astra Opera Hotel, Best Western Etoile Saint Honoré Hotel, Best Western Premier Elysées Bassano Hotel, Castille Paris Hotel, Metropol Hotel, Modern Lafayette Hotel, etc.
Meeting Facilities in Medium-Priced Paris Hotels
All medium-priced Paris hotels are equipped with meeting rooms and conference facilities. The meeting rooms in such Paris hotels are equipped with hi-tech audiovisual gadgets so that meetings may be conducted, effortlessly. The seating arrangements in the conference halls may be designed as you wish, in boardroom, U shaped, cabaret, classroom or in other styles. All medium-priced Paris hotels are equipped with Business Centers which are operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the benefit of conference hosts, presenters and attendees.
Budget and Cheap Paris Hotels
The budget Paris hotels are also known as the cheap Paris hotels. These hotels are plainly decorated and are ideal for travelers who travel on a strict budget. Rooms in these hotels are equipped with basic amenities. Many of the cheap hotels of Paris are located in the Montmartre area of Paris, the artists’ quarter and the various flea markets of Paris. The Montmartre area and the Latin quarters near the world famous University of Paris, Sorbonne, are inhabited by intellectuals and students who prefer living on a tight budget. So, the cheapest hotels of Paris which are situated in these areas offer several advantages to their inmates. The Ile de la Cite of Paris epitomizes the quaint culture and charms of Paris. Several cheap Parisian hotels have cropped up here too. The Ile de la Cite houses the famous Notre Dame and other well-known landmarks. Many famous museums of Paris, other than the Louvre, are located in the vicinity of the Ile de la Cite. These are the Musee d’Orsay and the Musee De La Conciergerie. The guests of the cheap hotels hence have a wonderful time visiting the repositories and their breathtaking works and sightseeing in these picturesque parts of Paris.
There is a distinct advantage of living in the budget hotels of the city because these Paris hotels encapsulate the tasteful and lively culture of Paris. As they are located in the crowded areas of Paris near the museums and universities, the hubs of intellectual learning and culture, they offer endless opportunities to their guests to explore the nooks and crannies of Paris, to get the feel and pulse of the city, it’s rich and variegated history, its myriad etiquette, cuisines, artworks, the romantic spirit of the sculptures that adorn the city, every now and then. The cheap Paris hotels ask for anything between 30 and 150 for a single night’s stay.
Paris is a truly enchanting city. Its romantic aura encompasses you the moment you step into the city. Every boulevard, every sidewalk, thoroughfare, every street corner of Paris is a treat for the eye of the discerning tourist. Whether you’re parading the Grande Gallery of the Louvre or admiring the fabulous interiors of the Palace of Versailles, whether you’re getting your picture painted in the Montmartre or just gazing at the Egyptian obelisk in the Place de la Concorde, you’ll always be surrounded by the rich heritage of Paris, a heritage that’s inextricably interwoven with the city, its people and its monuments. And all the Paris hotels, however modern or sophisticated, try to be the archetype of the city’s wonderful past. So it’s no wonder that tourists feel the turmoil and turbulence of the Bastille, hear the screams and shrieks of guillotine victims, and perceive the sounds of Louis’s hundred horsemen clip-clopping on the roads of Paris while they roam in Paris or when they reside at the Paris hotels
New York Hotels
New York is one of the richest and most happening cities of the world. New York is famous for the New York Stock Exchange, the Statue of Liberty, nanotechnology and microchip making, its vineyards, its cut diamonds, and its orchards. New York’s gross state product is well over $ 1 trillion. It is said that if New York was an independent country by itself, it would be the 16th largest economy in the globe. New York is a flourishing city and Times Square is one of the liveliest spots of New York. The personal per capita income of New York is well over $ 46,000. Hence, most people who live in New York are extremely affluent except those who live in the ghettos of the city. The New York hotels, like the other establishments of New York, are plush, posh, dazzling and overwhelming.
Sightseeing Attractions in New York
As New York is a renowned financial and commercial hub of the United States of America and the world, several businessmen and women travel to New York frequently. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the biggest stock exchange of the globe, is an important trading center of New York, the US, and the world. The headquarters of many multinational companies and investment banks are located in New York. The New York hotels provide excellent accommodation to all the corporate managers as well as to the tourists who visit New York. New York happens to be a great tourist hub and is thronged by holidaymakers from all across the world. The Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, Broadway, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Madison Square Garden, World Financial Center, the new World Trade Center, Hudson River, Carnegie Hall, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Queens Zoo, Rockefeller Center, Wall Street, etc. are some of the many tourist hotspots of New York. The New York hotels generally arrange for tours for their guests so that the latter can have a gala time in New York.
Different Types of New York Hotels and the Different Areas of New York
The hotels of New York are countless in number. New York hotels can broadly be divided into luxury New York hotels, boutique New York hotels, airport hotels and cheap New York hotels. The hotels in New York cater to the needs of diverse travelers. However, most New York hotels charge exorbitant amounts from their guests. Even the cheap New York hotels ask for prices that are forbidding. Manhattan is one of the most expensive places of New York apart from Broadway and Times Square. Chinatown, in Manhattan, is a popular home for Asian immigrants. Manhattan also happens to be a favorite haunt of all the tourists of the city. Brooklyn is one of the cheapest areas of New York, apart from the ghetto areas, which are predominantly populated by the African-American population of New York. Harlem is another area of New York where a large section of the African American population of the city resides. The Asian immigrants of New York reside primarily in the area of Queens.
A reason why the New York hotels are never in dearth of occupants is because of the fact that New York is an extremely well-connected city. New York is served by the underground railway system and four suburban railway tracks. The John F. Kennedy International Airport is the main airport of the city. Several New York hotels have cropped up in the vicinity of the various tourist attractions of New York so that hotel guests can go for sightseeing easily, without boarding buses or hiring long-distance automobiles for traveling.
Conference Facilities in the Luxury and Boutique New York Hotels
Some of the finest and costliest hotels of New York are The Waldorf Astoria, The Four Seasons Hotel, The Carlyle, The Peninsula, New York Palace, The Alex, Trump International, etc. The Carlyle is a grand old New York hotel that encapsulates an old-world charm and aura. It comprises an imposing edifice on Madison Avenue and is rated as one of the best boutique New York hotels. The hotel boasts of 4,033 square feet of meeting and conference space. One of the most fabulous hotels of New York, the Carlyle sports a frontage bedecked in the Art Deco style. The ceiling of the hotel is beautifully carved. The Carlyle vaunts enormous and impressive banquet and conference halls, antechambers and suites. It’s one of the few hotels of New York that’s an ideal venue for boardroom battles, symposiums, seminars, conferences, after-dinner meets, weddings, dances, and parties. The conference halls of The Carlyle are equipped with the latest and hi-tech audiovisual gadgets so that conferences may be conducted seamlessly.
If The Carlyle is imposing, then The Waldorf Astoria is magnificent. The Waldorf Astoria is one of the New York hotels that transports you back to a period when gentlemen in tailcoats escorted ladies in long gowns from horse-drawn barouche-landaus to Victorian-styled drawing rooms, when people still observed British mannerisms and customs in the New World. The hotel is adorned by antique furniture and decorations that hark back to 1893, the year when the hotel was built. The Waldorf Astoria is a great venue for meetings and events. The hotel has 60,000 square feet of conference space. The Waldorf Astoria is one of the few hotels of New York that boasts of a rich experience and consequently a rich expertise, in hosting state dinners and corporate meetings. It’s also one of the few hotels of the city that has invested millions of dollars in enhancing its meeting facilities and technological capabilities. The Waldorf Astoria is one of the rare hotels of New York that offers its corporate guests direct-link satellite broadcasting facilities and ultra-high-velocity Internet connectivity to support hi-tech videoconferencing and web conferencing.
Where meetings and events are concerned, the Waldorf Astoria is regarded as one of the special hotels of New York. This is because the hotel assigns the conference management task to an Event Manager who performs the task of conference management on behalf of the clients or guests. The Event Manager and their team look into every aspect of conference management so that clients face no problem in hosting and conducting conferences. The fourth and the eighteenth stories of the hotel are dedicated for conferences and events. Each of the luxury and boutique New York hotels is an excellent venue for meetings and events. The luxury and boutique hotels of New York charge anything between $219 and $ 3,600 per day, per guest. Many say that the luxury and boutique New York hotels are too opulent and showy. They show new money, unabashedly. Many opine that the hotels of New York, however flashy, cannot compare to the London hotels or the Paris hotels in class and heritage. The New York hotels, according to many, show more power than anything else. This is not surprising because New York is situated in the United States of America, the most powerful nation of the world.
Airport New York Hotels and Their Business Centers
Now let’s turn to examine some other types of New York hotels. New York is served by three airports: the JFK International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and the Newark Liberty International Airport. The hotels which are classified as airport New York hotels are located in close proximity to these airports. The various airport hotels of New York that are situated close to the JFK International Airport are the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Days Inn, Best Western, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Sheraton, etc. The various airport hotels of New York that are situated close to the LaGuardia Airport are the LaGuardia Airport hotel, Clarion Hotel, Marriott, Crowne Plaza, Comfort Inn, etc. The various airport hotels of New York that are situated close to the Newark Liberty International Airport are the Marriott, Days Hotel, Wyndham Garden Hotel, Renaissance Hotel, etc.
These New York hotels charge much lower rates than the boutique and luxury New York hotels. If you opt to stay in any of the airport hotels, you’ll have to cough up about $ 49 to $ 199 per day. Affordable, isn’t it? But on the downside, most airport hotels in New York can’t afford you conference facilities at the rates they charge you. Most of these hotels, however, possess Business Centers, which are equipped with photocopying and facsimile facilities, wireless Internet connectivity, and computers with Internet connections. Some of the airport New York hotels such as the Fairfield Inn by Marriott, have banqueting facilities. The airport hotels of New York are plainly furnished and sparsely decorated.
Family and Pet-Friendly New York Hotels
Family hotels and pet-friendly hotels are other types of hotels in New York but these hotels are occupied mostly by families on holidays and not by people who’d like to host meetings. Hence, conference facilities are not present in such hotels. However, as there are exceptions to all rules, some of these hotels are equipped with business and meeting facilities.
Cheap New York Hotels
And finally, we come to that section of hotels known as the cheap New York hotels. Most of the cheap hotels of New York are not hotels but hostels, inns and boarding houses. As has been mentioned before, even the cheap hotels of New York can be dear. However, they’re much cheaper compared to the other hotels of New York. They also lack proper amenities. Which is why they’re designated as cheap New York hotels. Most of the rooms in cheap New York hotels don’t possess attached bathrooms and guests have to use the common bathroom of the corridor. The cheap hotels in New York are boarded mostly by youngsters, students and backpackers, who not only don’t mind the discomforts of life but also take them with an adventurous spirit.
The rooms of these hotels aren’t equipped with telephones and these hotels don’t accept payment by credit card. The rooms of many of these New York hotels are equipped with bunk beds and almost resemble dormitories. Bathrooms in these hotels may also be dirty. And don’t even think of hosting a conference in these New York hotels unless you’re willing to call ‘a room full of young students jumping about’, a ‘conference’. But the cheap New York hotels are generally located at spots close to the New York subways, tourist hotspots, and shops. So, you can get a good feel of the city if you reside in these hotels, provided you don’t mind the accompanying hardships.
Choosing New York Hotels
You can choose hotels in New York according to your budget, conference preferences, the conference facilities that the hotels offer, location of the hotels, and other parameters. If you choose wisely, you’ll stand to gain in many ways because New York has plenty to offer. The cityscape of New York that most luxury New York hotels capture is beautiful while the poverty and squalor in the ghettos of New York is shocking and sad. One thing must be said of all the New York hotels, whether they are luxury hotels or boutique hotels or airport hotels or family hotels or cheap hotels – they help you to get a feel of the city and experience the city from different angles and perspectives.
Hotels in Athens Greece
Q. = I made a reservation for a hotel in Athens Greece form a list of Athens hotels or Greek hotels a travel agent or an internet site suggested to me. After getting there to my surprise the hotel did not meet the standards which was told I will be getting. Example there is no swimming pool, no private WC, and no tennis courts. Is the Athens hotel owner or Greek hotel owner responsible?
A. = The responsibility towards the consumer is entirely the organizer’s and/or the travel agency’s, that is to say the tourist agent, from which the customer bought the organized travel package, and this is even for the services that are not produced or provided by the organizer and or travel agent directly, but by other collaborating enterprises (example, hotels, organized excursions, transportation services, etc). Therefore beware when reserving a Athens hotel from an internet site.
Q. = What is the procedure to reserve a room or an apartment in one of the Athens hotels or in the Greek hotels in general?
A. = Customers should communicate with the owner or management of Athens hotels or Greek hotels and make his reservation request by phone or fax or email or by telegraph.
Q. = What is the usual procedure to make sure that a request has been accepted?
A. = Within 3 days, owners or management of the Athens hotels or Greek hotels in general, who are interested in your reservation should send you an answer to let you know if they accept the reservation for renting any of their rooms or apartments requested by the customers. Owners should answer in writing or by telegraph or email or by fax stating that they accept the reservation requested by the clients.
Q. = I made an inquiry about a couple of reservations I need in hotels in Athens Greece. What is a fair deposit one should pay for reservations in Athens hotels or in Greek hotels in general?
A. = The owners of Athens hotels or Greek hotels can ask an advance of up to 25% of the total of price of the stay for all the days reserved. The deposit though should not be inferior to the rent of one day. The reservation is considered complete with the payment of the deposit that was determined and with the written acceptance of the reservation by the hotel owner.
Q. = I made couple of reservations for different hotels in Athens
Greece. Can I cancel the reservations I made for any or some of the Athens hotels or generally Greek hotels?
A. = When one reserves rooms or apartments part of a complex of any Athens hotels or Greek hotels, to be used for a predetermined time period and the rooms are used for part of the period, the customer has to compensate the Athens hotel owner with half the price that was agreed for the period that was not used by the customer.
Q. = What if the customer informs in writing at least 21 days before the reservation dates that he has changed his plans?
A. = If the customer informs in writing the owner of any Athens hotels at least 21 days before the reservation dates, then the customer is exempted from the compensation he has to pay. The owner of any Athens hotels is obliged to return the deposit that was collected.
Q. = Should we understand that any reservation can be cancelled
21 days prior to the time of arrival and the customers are legible for full refund?
A. = Yes, this is correct.
Q. = I stayed overnight in a hotel in Athens Greece. I really liked this place and don’t want to leave this hotel which is cheaper than the other Athens hotels or generally Greek hotels. Do I have to leave?
A. = The renting of Athens rooms or Athens apartments part of a Greek hotel complex is considered to be for one day only, unless otherwise agreed between hotel owner and customer.
Q. = Concerning hotels in Athens Greece or Greek hotels, at what time does one have to leave Athens hotels or generally Greek hotels so that extra charges don’t occur?
A. = In the case that the Athens hotel owner or the customer wants to dissolve the lease agreement, the customer is obliged to vacate the Athens rooms or Athens apartments which are part of a Greek hotel complex not later than 12 o’clock noon. By staying in the rooms or apartments beyond 12 o’clock noon and not later than 18:00 o’clock the customer is obliged to pay half the rent. If the customer stays in the premises after 18:00 o’clock, he is obliged to pay the rent for the whole day. If the customer denies paying the rent, then the owner has the right to remove from the rooms or apartments, the customer’s and his luggage and or belongings.
Q. = I made a couple of reservations for Athens hotels in Greece. I will be arriving late in some of them. Do I have to pay for the whole day for renting these Athens hotels or generally Greek hotels?
A. = The predetermined day of arrival is calculated entirely as for the rent, not taking into consideration the time of arrival. So if you arrive say 1:00 am or at any time, you will have to pay for the whole day. The day of departure is not calculated, unless the customer does not vacate the room. He should vacate the room not later than 12 o’clock noon.
Q. = After making a reservation from a list of Athens hotels in Athens Greece, at my surprise there was a mix-up… The owner of one of the Athens hotels informs me that I don’t have a place to stay at the specific Athens hotel or Greek hotel? What are my rights?
A. =. The Athens hotel owner owes to have the rooms or apartments which are part of a Greek hotel complex, and which the customer reserved either by means of some type of writing, telegraph, fax, or email or with a contract.
Q. = What happens if the owner of one of the Athens hotels does not have the accommodation?
A. = If the owner does not have the accommodation which is reserved, the Athens hotel owner is obliged to ensure the customers’ stay in an other Greek hotel of same at least class, in the same city, and with the same comforts and conditions as those that are advertised for his own Athens hotel. Also in this case, the owner of one of the Athens hotels owes to pay the expenses of transport and the difference in price that by any chance may exists between his own hotel and the other one. If it is not possible to find an alternative hotel, the owner is obliged to refund the customer with the total of price of the stay for the whole period. It is prohibited for the owner of any Athens hotels or Greek hotels to accept a reservation from a group where more beds are needed that the ones the hotel is licensed for. If the owner accepts a reservation for more beds than what he is permitted, a demotion of the hotel category to an inferior class for one year may take place.
Q. = After getting to the hotel which I reserved from a list of Athens hotels in Greece, in the same area I found a better and cheaper hotel down the road. Should I pay for the rest of my reservation with first Athens hotel or generally Greek hotel?
A. = If a room is leased for a certain time, the Athens hotel owner doesn’t have the right to cancel the lease before the agreed time period, unless the customer: a) violates the hotel regulations b) has a disease or illness that is contagious or is suffering from other illness or disease that may cause nuisance to the remaining customers of the hotel c) Violates the common manners.
Respectively the customer has to: a) Accept the Athens room or Athens apartment which is part of the hotel complex that was reserved by himself or by his representative, unless this is not what he reserved. b) Keep the Athens apartment or room up to the end of reservation period that was agreed, otherwise the customer is obliged to compensate the owner with the sum equal to half the rent of all the rest of the days that were reserved, where the daily rent is the agreed price of an overnight stay. All of the above may also take effect in the case where the customer did not arrive at the Greek hotel at the predetermined date of arrival, except in extreme cases such as acts of god example earth quakes etc, and which has to be proved with concrete evidence. The lease agreement between Athens hotel owner and customer is considered fair and powerful, provided that there exists relative documentation or evidence, example a written reservation confirmation.
This article is designed to help customer who have questions about Athens hotels, or hotels in Athens or Greek hotels or hotel apartments and rooms. If you think there is something fishy about your reservation you can contact, E.O.T the Greek organization of tourism or the tourist police in Athens Greece.
The Boutique Hotel Manager
Boutique Hotel. Just the words get the imagination going. Even before I dog eared the pages of Herbert Ypma’s first Hip Hotels book I was fascinated by the world of boutique hotel properties. “How cool would it be to be the general manager of a cool boutique hotel?” I often found asking myself as I flipped through the pages of his magnificent photos. Working hard to make a career out of the hotel industry, I was convinced that I just had to be involved with a boutique hotel someday.
That someday came true, when in 2004 I was invited to be the general manager of what was and still is one of Palm Springs most hip boutique hotels. I left another huge opportunity just to be a part of this amazing world. The art, the design, the vibe. I had never really worked anywhere with a “vibe”. A year later and I knew, I knew what many in the hotel business do not…what it is really like to be the gm of a hip, cool boutique hotel. It’s not for everyone and amazing for many.
There is a mini storm brewing in the boutique hotel world, one I don’t think most involved in this industry are aware of. With more and more boutique hotel operators entering the playground, more and more bad hiring decisions are being made. The right General Mangers are working at the wrong hotels. Like a square peg and a round hole, some things just do not work. Who is to blame and what can be done?
The Boutique Hotel
First let me first tell you that I have a very narrow view of what really constitutes a boutique hotel. I think that the term “Boutique” when used to describe a hotel is often misapplied. A boutique hotel is not defined by simply a hot design, as many would argue.
In my opinion, a boutique hotel is a property that is uniquely significant in four ways:
1. Architecture and Design.
2. A high level of service. A property must not exceed 150 guest rooms, enhancing the guest to staff ratio.
3. Sell to a specific demographic.
4. Are independently owned and operated (this is where some will disagree with me).
A boutique hotel must be an independent operation. The hotel must not be part of a collection that is more than say, 10 properties. Beyond this you get into having a corporate hierarchical management style that is required in running a large company and maintaining brand consistency. Take W Hotels for example. In my opinion these are not boutique hotels. They look like a boutique hotel, even feel like one. Many boutique hotels would strive to be as great as a W. But a W Hotel is run and managed by a massive corporation. The property level management makes very few decisions about what services are offered and how the property is run. A boutique hotel must be operated as close to the actual physical operation as possible. W’s and the like are amazing, but in my opinion don’t fit the definition of a boutique hotel. Boutique hotels are also constantly re-inventing themselves, making sure that their fickle guest never get bored and look to stay at the latest new, hip and cool property.
Boutique Hotel Guest
Travelers chose to stay at a boutique hotel because of the story, or the experience. The experience is very important and must be unique and somewhat cutting edge. The general demographics are individuals 20 to 50 years of age, work in more creative fields like advertising or entertainment and appreciate a higher level of service. When Ian Schrager entered the market with what many consider to be the first boutique hotel, this demographic discovered that they could use their travel budget get them a room at a cool, hip hotel rather than a generic mid-level branded property. And the boom started.
Boutique hotel guests enjoy experiences, unique architecture, cutting edge interior design and in some cases an urban location. The market is expanding and the demographic model explained earlier is beginning to bleed into others. You might very well find a Fortune 500 CEO staying at a boutique hotel. It is hard to ignore the hype.
Brands vs. Boutiques
Luxury hotel operators are scrambling to avoid losing market share to the boutique world. Some hotels are actually taking the “brand” off their marketing and streamlining their operations so that their properties are authentically boutique. Take the Kahala Mandarin Oriental for example. This famous luxury property recently took Mandarin Oriental away so that they could operate and compete in the new marketplace of more independent hotels. They are now simply “The Kahala” and are working hard to be authentically local and independent of a major brand identification. I think others will follow.
The Boutique Hotel General Manager
For the sake of this publication, I will use the luxury hotel as the comparison to the boutique since most closely associate a boutique hotel with luxury travel. So what is so different about being a general manager at a luxury hotel versus a boutique hotel? Can it really be that different? The basics are the same. The general manager is responsible for the entire day to day operation, hiring decisions, marketing, budgets, forecasting, rate strategy, facility maintenance etc… The key for both types of properties is guest service and guest interaction. The guest at a high end luxury hotel expects to be able to interact with the hotel general manager, as do the guests at a boutique property. It is all high touch.
The difference is that a boutique hotel general manager wears just a few more hats than the luxury general manager. A boutique general manager might be preparing complex budget forecasting spreadsheets at 10am and at 10:30 am be clearing the pool towels from around the hotel’s salt water plunge. When was the last time you saw the general manager of the Peninsula Beverly Hills with an arm full of towels? Don’t get me wrong, I know that the general manager of the Peninsula would do this in a second, if they had to. The general manager of a boutique hotel HAS to, because there is nobody else. The one server working the restaurant is also probably responsible for taking care of the pool, taking room service orders, delivering the orders and on and on…. The general manager of a boutique hotel is sometimes also the HR director and breaks the front desk agents. If the gm is in California then the gm might find themselves breaking just about every position just to avoid getting sued and fined!
Take this example; you are the GM of a hot boutique property in the desert. The temperature is pushing 118 degrees. Since occupancy during the summer is very low, you encourage a lot of your team to take their vacations so you can get that vacation accrual off your books. One of those who takes you up on this is your chief engineer, one of two engineers for your entire five acre property. He goes home to the motherland, Germany for a week. Now just because it’s hot does not mean that you don’t have customers. Some tourists seem to love the heat, and so it was with this particular steamy day in August. As the sun begins to set, your guests make their way from the pool to their bungalows. Dusk and 100 degrees, everyone turns on their aged air conditioners full blast so they can cool down. Your only other engineer has gone home for the day. It is at about this time that the calls start coming in. The ac units are freezing up. The old units freeze up when they are turned on full blast. Many blow the circuit breakers. So there you are, in your office doing the forecast for your weekly corporate status report call when the front desk calls you in a panic, “the guests are flipping out” cries your new front desk agent. You check out the calls and see that you need your engineer back on property, but his pre-paid cell phone (you cant afford to pay for a cell phone for him) is out of time -you cant reach him! So what do you do? You head to the rooms to see if you can fix them. Room by room you tackle the challenge of explaining to your sweaty and angry guests why they cant turn their ac on full and that it will take at least two hours for the ice built up around the coils to melt. Then you start looking for the circuit breakers, which are scattered all over the 60 year old property. By the time you reach the last room the guest who answers the door almost screams at the sight of the sweaty, dirty general manager holding a tool box with a dazed look on his face. “Wasn’t this the same guy who was pouring us Mimosas at the pool this morning honey?” asks the guest as you begin your repairs. Once the craziness is over you get a call on your cell phone. Yes, it is your engineer returning your call. “You trying to reach me boss?”. The next day, while on your conference call you listen to a speech about how general managers need to spend more time with their guests rather than in their offices. Duh, you think as you try to scrub the grit out from under your fingernails.
The financial realities of a boutique hotel are unique. The appearance of three to five star service with a two star budget is the norm, and the gm’s get caught in the middle. The boutique hotel just does not have the budget to staff like a true luxury property and everyone has to pull their weight. The gm who does not will not be there long and hate every second of their lives.
Along with the additional sweat and frustration of being a boutique hotel gm are the rewards. For the right individual, they will find that the entrepreneurial management style required of them is highly empowering. The gm can make a lot of decisions on their own, decisions that in a larger corporate hotel would require an approval or worse….committee discussion! The fact that some towels need to be picked up and maybe a drink or two be mixed and served is actually fun to them. The rewards of always being in front of your guests are what most gm’s want anyway, but many are not really ready for it when they are tasked to make that happen every day.
So what kind of person would do well as a general manager of a boutique hotel? Answer these questions, if you can say yes to each answer then you will probably really like the challenge. Please note that I am assuming that you are already an experienced manager and qualified to be a general manager.
The 51 Questions
1. You do not need routines to feel successful at work.
2. You can delegate without concern.
3. You can make decisions without committee recommendation.
4. You can spend long hours at work. By long I mean sometimes up to 14 hours at a time.
5. You have no problem spending the night at the property to make sure everything is ok.
6. You don’t have a problem delivering luggage to guest rooms (you probably wont have a bellman to do this for you).
7. You can valet park a car.
8. You can re-program guest keys using the key card system.
9. You really enjoy speaking with your guests….REALLY.
10. You can mix a drink and you know who Mr. Boston is.
11. You can run a commercial washing machine.
12. You can re-set a circuit breaker.
13. You can change a flat tire, jump start a car.
14. You can re-set your router. If you don’t know what a router is then stop now and re-think any thoughts you have of being a boutique hotel gm. You will not have an on site IT manager to help you!
15. You can check in/ out a guest using the front office system.
16. You can process credit cards and split payments to various folios.
17. You can run the switchboard at the front desk.
18. You can ring in an order using the restaurants POS.
19. You can re-set the restaurant POS.
20. You can program a digital surveillance system.
21. You can type your own memos, send your own e-mails and answer your own phones (this should be true of ANY gm nowadays).
22. You can jump from one project to the next without hesitation.
23. You know what to do when someone has a heart attack in your lobby.
24. You know what to do when someone chokes in your restaurant.
25. You can explain your restaurant menu items as well or better than your servers.
26. You can brew coffee using a commercial coffee machine.
27. You can draw a good cup of espresso.
28. You know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino.
29. You know the temperature requirements for your walk-in and refrigerators. If you don’t know what a walk-in is, stop here and think about your career choice.
30. You know what to do when the health inspector shows up. Hint, it is not to grab a handful of cash!
31. You know who to call if your phone system suddenly stops working.
32. You know how to read the history off an electronic guest room lock.
33. You know how to make a bed as well as your best housekeeper.
34. You know what the ph level should be in your wash rinse.
35. You know how to check the chemicals in you pool and Jacuzzi.
36. You know what the interfaces are for each of your hotel software systems.
37. You know how to get guests online using your wireless internet service.
38. You know the difference between an p&l and a balance sheet.
39. You can run a commercial dishwasher.
40. You know your receivables and payables.
41. You know where your housekeeper buys their supplies.
42. You know local city ordinances as they apply to your property.
43. You can deliver a room service order.
44. You can clean a bathroom to 5 star standards.
45. You can fold a towel like your housekeepers.
46. You know where the water and gas mains are, and how to shut them off.
47. You know each of your guest room types.
48. You have no problem befriending your neighboring business and residents.
49. You can write a well researched and accurate month end report.
50. You know how to calculate flow through.
51. Have a number two person who can answer these questions as well.
I task the many boutique hotel companies to ask these questions to gm candidates during the interview process. I know that you will save a lot of time, frustration and lower your turnover rates (higher for general manager positions in boutique hotels).
If you are a boutique hotel company I would also ask you to make sure that you do the following for your hotel general managers, ensuring their success and lowering your gm turnover:
1. Don’t hire an experience luxury (non-boutique hotel) general manger unless they can answer yes or actually commit to learning the answer to each of the prior 51 questions.
2. Train, train and train your new gm’s on the property they are going to. Make sure they know everything before you “turn them loose”.
3. Pay them a fair wage, maybe even a bit more than fair. Boutique hotel companies seem to think they can attract new gm’s who maybe were a number two at a larger property, convince them that it is “cool” to be a part of your company and pay them less than the industry standard. This just makes your new gm start listening to those headhunter calls (they call hotel gm’s a lot!) with offers of much higher salaries back in the “comfort” zone of a branded hotel.
4. Understand what goes on in the life of a boutique hotel gm. Most boutique hotel corporate staff have never been a gm at a real boutique hotel and have no idea what it is like. Get to know what happens on property.
5. Insist that your gm’s take time off. It is easy for your gm to get wrapped up in the operation and start working 7 days a week. This will just burn them out. Figure out a way to get them the time with their families they need to stay sane, married etc…
6. Don’t call them on their day off unless it is an emergency. If you don’t know what days your gm’s are off then shame on you.
7. Don’t be double minded. Don’t show up one day and berate the gm for the pool deck needing re-surfacing and then two days later come down on them for requesting the funds to make property repairs.
8. Give them realistic budgets, and if you sell a bonus during the interview process, make sure it is realistic.
9. Give them the same “perks” that gm’s in large hotel properties get. You can skip the car allowance, but at least offer dry cleaning and travel privileges at your other properties.
10. Talk to them often. Really talk to them, don’t talk at them. Listen to what is going on.
11. If you tell them that “we are an entrepreneurial company” and that gm’s can “make their own decisions” and then second guess every decision they make you need to re-think your message.
12. Make sure you give them the ability to hire a strong #2. One of the reasons your gm’s leave for other companies is because most boutique hotel companies don’t give their properties the budgets to have a number two, so they have nobody to take their place if other in-company opportunities come up. This is the old and very tired “to move up you have to move out” dynamic that kills us in the hotel industry.
13. That takes me to this point—set out to develop bench strength. Have leaders waiting in the wings to take positions as you grow. If you don’t you will end up “borrowing” leaders from each of your properties to open your newest. This leaves your existing properties, already running lean on management with an over worked and stressed out group of leaders and staff. Make this a priority.
14. Thank your gm’s. This is a no-brainer but a much forgot important task as a hotel company. THANK YOUR GM’s. This goes for any hotel company. Your general managers get beat up a lot. By unhappy staff, guests and you. You hit them with constant “notes” on how to perform better. Make sure to balance the coaching with praise.
So what is the point to all of this? The boutique hotel general manager, in my opinion is a completely different job than a general manager at a full service luxury property. But unfortunately the two are muddled together in a basket full of un-attainable expectations.
I think that the boutique hotel general manager should have a new title– I leave this up to the boutique hotel companies and the creative genius that drives their brands.
At the end of the day, a title is really not important, but the expectations are. Make sure you understand your role as a boutique hotel general manager or the role your general managers play at your boutique hotels. Make certain that as you take a job or when hire them, they know what a boutique hotel manager really is.