Home / Hotels / Staying in Boutique Hotels

Staying in Boutique Hotels

One of the reasons I have trouble maintaining hotel status is because I stay in boutique hotels fairly often. I’ve been to San Francisco five times and stayed at chain hotels twice while there.

Why the draw to boutique hotels?

First of all, I do a lot of my travel solo.  Sometimes boutique hotel rooms are smaller than your typical chain, but it doesn’t matter as much to me when only I need to fit in there!

Also, I tend to like quirky, unusual things.  As long as my hotel is clean and safe, I tend to roll with the punches of what a boutique hotel can bring.

Maybe it is the Vegas fan in me, but I tend to love (non-cheesy) themed hotels too.  This is why I’m a fan of the Kimpton properties.  My mother and I once stayed in a 70s themed room at Hotel Helix and really got a kick out of non traditional items… like a shower in the middle of the room.  Not kidding. (I also love Hotel Madera even though I’ve never actually stayed there.  I’ve spent a lot of time in its restaurant, a lovely forest themed eatery complete with trees and fireflies.)

Boutique hotels can also be cheap, but sometimes prohibitively expensive–and unpredictably so.  When I stayed at Hotel Helix (recently), I snagged a $99 / night rate, but when I looked into the room rate for a friend, it was almost $300 a night.

Boutique hotels can also take an (unfair) beating in reviews.  Why?  Because many people are expecting what you get at a full-service chain.  And that’s not quite the right attitude to have.

I’ll give a recent example.  I stayed at Hotel Fusion in Union Square, San Francisco.  This hotel was a steal, coming in just about $100 per night including taxes.  The hotel didn’t receive terrible ratings, but came in around 3.5 on Trip Advisor.

The reason for the low ratings were the room sizes.  So I set my expectations around a small room.

And a small room I got:

Room at Hotel Fusion, San Francisco, CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I expected this room, so I was perfectly happy in it.  But then I was excited when I realized:

The bathroom at Hotel Fusion in San Francisco, CA

The bathroom is the same size as the room!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because I kept my expectations set at the limitations of this boutique hotel, I was pleasantly surprised at the large bathroom. There was an interesting bar underneath the hotel and it was close to a lot of delicious eateries.  Overall I was very happy with it.

I’m not saying lower your expectations for staying in a room.  You should never book a hotel beneath your expectations.  But don’t expect everything from a hotel.  And when you need or want certain things from a hotel room, make sure the hotel you are booking has that.  But if you don’t mind the unexpected or a little adventure (and are not going for status), try out a boutique hotel.

I have to admit, it definitely was an adventure showering in the middle of a Hotel Helix room.  I am still trying to figure out the physics of it and how the room stayed dry.  But then again, I also enjoyed the evening cocktails, the unusual theme, and their “honor based system” for the mini-bar.  And don’t forget the location and price.

 

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

Check Also

From Bongo Bay's promo photos.

This Resort Lets You Snorkel for Booze

I might just take up snorkeling–I’ve finally found a cause. Bolongo Bay Beach Resort hides bottles ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I like you!  
You've got moxie, kid.

I like you!  

You've got moxie, kid.

Use that moxie and join our list of email subscribers and become one of the thousands of others who visit this blog each day for tips, advice, reviews, deals & more!

You have Successfully Subscribed!