40 Years of Boutique Hotel: from early years to now

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Even if you're not quite sure how to define exactly what a “boutique hotel” is, chances are you instinctively know one when you see one.
Today, nearly 40 years after Bill Kimpton opened his first hotel, boutique hotels remain an instrumental, and often essential, influence on the way we experience hotels, and the way we travel.

simone puorto - 40 years of boutique hotels

Nearly every big hotel company today has its own version of a “boutique” brand, and there are plenty more boutique hotels being added every year, and not just in major cities anymore.

The deeper we delved into this history spanning almost four decades, the more we realized the following:

First, the hotel industry is a big one, but it's also very small when it comes to degrees of separation. In other words, everyone knows everyone.

Secondly, that perpetual battle, or contrast, between East Coast and West Coast certainly applies here (as it does with many great feuds of creativity and cultural innovation).

And thirdly, while the boutique hotel pioneers and players took many different threads and approaches to how they envisioned boutique hotels, there were a lot of common elements among them, too. They all had that desire for their hotels to be a part of the local community, or scene. They all had a deeply ingrained love of design. They all shared a commitment to hospitality unfettered by old, staid, or stuffy traditions. Most of all, they wanted you to remember your stay, or your visit. They wanted to be different from everyone else. These are the universal threads shared by all of the early boutique hotels, and these core elements remain to this day.