The Perfect Small Boutique Hotel – our trade Secrets
All you need to know to open a hotel of your own, and get it right the first time.
15 top insiders to turn a small hotel into a great one.
- An Admission
Before you invest in logos, doors, or lighting, to impress, think about the hotel as a stylish welcoming home, where a concierge or GM is able to draw a traveler’s senses from the streets to the suite. In other words, meet & greet in a small boutique hotel.
- A Name
Think twice about signs and over-branding. Don’t be tempted by SEO tips to include cheesy words like ‘resort’, ‘world design’, or ‘boutique hotel.’ Just be true to the story you have to tell.
Be bold and honest, because not everyone might get your story but stay authentic, and it will definitely payback.
- The Lobby
For most small hotels, it is sometimes difficult to have a lobby, an entrance, or a common space. But hey, don’t scratch your head if you can’t find the space in your establishment.
If you are a beach house type of hotel, you can use the outdoors to turn it into an open-air reception. However, most importantly, think about a welcoming living room – sort of similar to an area where your friends would sit and chat. You have to reproduce the same vibes – where your guests feel at home with style.
Everyone can be a designer and everyone wants to be a designer. This is why hiring an actual interior designer or architect doesn’t guarantee a compelling design or a successful hotel.
Maintain a vision of the story you want to tell. And make sure you are able to create a collaboration of creative minds and create a small boutique hotel that is more of a piece of art, instead of a design showcase.
- The TVs
Stop thinking about where to put massive screens. Instead, let your guests detox from the TV. Perhaps provide a hidden TV, possibly a white screen, with a nice custom white cover, and let them use it, only, in case of an emergency.
- The Senses
STOP obsessing about the designs! Rather, invest in senses.
A: search for unique upholstery or curtain fabrics that your guests would want to touch.
B: Gorgeous fresh flowers or fragrance plants, like lavender or eucalyptus, instead of artificial ones.
C: An awesome sound system instead of a TV.
D: And most importantly, always architect your rooms with a view. Because a view is worth more than any other design piece.
- Discrete dining
It is most likely that you won’t find the space for creating a restaurant inside the hotel. No worries, though. Try one of the following fun options to fill the need!
A: A room service with tapas available all day long, along with a person who can cook good local cuisine and offer snacks and tapas all day and night. You can set a cozy corner in the room or on the balcony for a private dinner.
B: The other option (and our personal favorite) is to have a common kitchen under the supervision of a food maker, where guests can entertain themselves by cooking with help.
- A storyteller
Have a captivating tale to tell to your guests. Perhaps the same one that you would tell your buddies.
Make sure you have something to tell the guests that is authentic and compelling to the land, to the roots of the small boutique hotel, and to the local people. The new luxury is about true stories, not about your design efforts.
- The Play Station
Guests come to you to relax, but that doesn’t mean they might not work.
Provide them with a tiny workstation that is well designed with all chargers and lights should they need them. Try to add some fun with locally-inspired original art frames.
- Lighting it up
Lighting is the KEY, even more crucial than the design.
If your architect suggests you install ceiling or pendant lights, please fire him right on the spot! Instead, create a peaceful atmosphere by using step lights or pendant lights that drop to the height of hips. Always AVOID having a lighting design that blurs your eyes!
You can look at Mysuites & Co for inspiration.
- A Dress Code
Create a dress code on your own and let your guests be inspired by it. Don’t be stiff or too relaxed because a hotel, even a small one, is not a home for PJs! Remember guests like styles that are authentic, understated, and everywhere.
- Flush finishes
If you are obsessed with design, invest your energy in toilet design.
That’s right; don’t dismiss the bath with some sad shower boxes or lonely toilets. You should play with stoplights or accent lights that create glamor – a domain that most people usually don’t think about.
- The Happy Minibar
A happy minibar is a must! The first thing I do every time I enter a hotel room is to check out the minibar to see what’s inside. While doing so, the only thought crossing my mind is; “Surprise ME!”
Thus, give your guests a fun gift instead of an ordinary can of $5. Perhaps keep the minibar free – that’s going to keep you in their memory always!
- Hit the right note
Events at your hotel are another attractive entertainment opportunity. You should be able to have truly entertaining events that are raw and authentic in essence – something that not all hotels around the block are doing. A boat trip, a horse ride, or a band/musician playing saxophone?
You don’t have to invent crazy things – just come up with things you’d like to go to yourself or with your partner.
- Not a Blacklane Driver
And our last secret – hire a driver for your guests leaving your hotel, but certainly not the black lane driver! In the same way, you welcome them warmly, you should greet them goodbye with a nice car service. Don’t let them struggle to find out who will ride them back and how much it will cost. Just have a cool driver with the latest Jeep model waiting for them on the door!
Excited to set up your own small boutique hotel using our trade secrets? Visit suitelife-hotels.com for more inspiration or get in touch for a detailed discussion!