ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Choose A Truly Unique Boutique Hotel

Updated on June 16, 2011

The Joy of the Boutique Hotel

I love to travel, and when I go somewhere new, I prefer to stay in a place that reflects my actual location, not some generic Hilton or Marriott, Sofitel or Sheraton. We’re talking a timber-ceilinged room in Paris with dormer windows overlooking the Seine or a Balinese guesthouse outfitted in local textiles and crafts and with a private terrace overlooking rice paddies where I am served breakfast every morning (for only $15, no less!).

The thing is, it is hard to find distinctive, independent boutique hotels in far-flung locales — especially boutique hotels worth a visit. These hotels are small; they are local; they are independent. Boutique hotels don’t have multi-million-dollar marketing budgets and a centralized global booking system like Starwood has, pushing all its hotel brands — W, Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, etc.— from a single portal.

Independent hotels also lack the predictability or reliability of the global brands, for good or ill. Some local boutique hotels are amazing; they can immerse you in a local culture or convey a sense of place or offer unparalleled unique experiences. Other boutique hotels are dumps. At least with Sheraton and the global brand name hotels you know what standard or quality to expect in your hotel, the room, the public spaces and even the amenities.

The Internet is Your Friend

The Internet makes it easier to find a boutique hotel anywhere in the world, and it also can help you suss out if a hotel that catches your fancy is any good. The thing is, just as with boutique hotels in general, it hard to know if the review is any good or has any actual use for you.

Sure, you can go to review sites like Trip Advisor,, or even Kayak and Orbitz to read user reviews, but you have no way of knowing if the reviewer has stayed at the hotel, if they are like you at all and thus have similar needs or tastes, if the reviewer has an ax to grind or a friend to promote. And smaller hotels have fewer guests as a rule, so since only a small subset of travelers even bothers to write reviews, there simply may not be much information out there on a given boutique hotel.

In short, great as review sites are, and they are helpful, they aren’t the best place to find a unique boutique hotel in any city.

Happily, there are plenty of websites out there dedicated to helping travelers find the best boutique hotels, luxury hotels, design hotels, hip hotels, exclusive villas, resorts or spas.

Many boutique hotels are also luxury hotels, but there are boutique hotels available for any budget.

Here is a list of some of the best search sites to find the best quality boutique hotels in the world. Most offer the lowest listed price, but it’s always best to book directly on a hotel’s website since they will match the lowest listed room rate and more of the money you pay actually goes to the hotel rather than a third-party booking agency.

Websites that Specialize in Boutique Hotel Search

Tablet Hotels: This website specializes in boutique hotels globally. You can search according to very specific criteria to find the right independent hotel for you. It also has a great last minute boutique hotel deal finder tab on the site. All the hotels are independently reviewed by people known to Tablet, so there are standards here.

Luxique: This British website specializes in independent luxury hotel properties around the world. It also independently vets the hotels and the reviews.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith: This boutique hotel-finding website began as a place for couples to find charming indie hotels, though it now has a travel with kids filter and also is available to solo travelers. There are a variety of profiles to focus your search (safari, urban, honeymoon, wedding venues, etc.), and there’s a paid membership option for users who want special perks or discounts. Independently reviewed properties.

Quikbook: This site also specializes in indie and boutique deals, with more of a focus on deals. The interface is less classy and streamlined than most of these others; read: It doesn't look that nice.

Chic Retreats: A specialist in boutique a luxury villas, this site also has a section for budget boutique hotels for those travelers who want a unique experience but do not want to blow their budgets on a hotel room. You can filter your search by country or specific amenity, and this site has a paid membership option for those who want insider discounts.

Chic and Basic: For now, this site only features boutique properties in Spain and Holland, but it plans to grow and add other European destinations.

Great Hotels of the World: More of a marketing and centralized booking service for independent hotels, this website nevertheless can help users find independent, quality hotels wherever they may travel.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Debbie Flynn 

      7 years ago

      Try - they are my absolute favourite for finding really special little gems all over the world.

    • s.carver profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, Ren. Hope you get to put them to use soon!

    • Ren Chin profile image

      Ren Chin 

      7 years ago

      good tips!

    • profile image

      Marathon Hotels 

      7 years ago

      I completely agree with you saying that Trip Advisor, or even Kayak and Orbitz are not the safe way of knowing if you will choose a hotel wisely or not. When choosing a hotel I listen to my friends advices.

    • s.carver profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Simone. I know, it's amazing how many resources are out there, only you have to know where to look... Have a great trip!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      I've just started looking for botique hotels in the UK for an upcoming trip, and didn't know about a lot of these websites. How convenient! Thanks for the tips and resources!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)