Hotel

THE GROWING TREND OF BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN AFRICA

The international boutique, hybrid and lifestyle hotel sector is booming like never before in Africa, with South Africa, Egypt, Nigerian, Ghana, Cape Verde and Kenya setting the pace in this trend, it won’t surprise you then why small independent and large hospitality groups from local and international keep investing heavily into this sector of the hospitality market.

 As this concept continues to transform the landscapes of major cities within this beautiful continent, local and international travellers continue to change their ‘mindset’ towards staying in a boutique hotel, whether on business or pleasure travels.

All over the world, Boutique hotels have some of the best places to stay in. It is a perfect combination for you, preferring your own space, and still, enjoy the ambience of luxury. When it comes to facilities, amenities and style, boutique hotels are somewhere in the middle, offering very good amenities and at more rational price ranges too.

For this reasons, there has been an increasing investment in boutique hotels all over Africa, with the competition getting even hotter by the year as we see new boutique hotels with mind-blowing architectural designs springing up here and there.

However, it is very common these days to find every hotel of not-huge variety call itself a boutique hotel on the internet. Excuse me! Is every small hotel actually a boutique hotel? That brings us to the question of “What is a BOUTIQUE HOTEL?”. What should you expect from a BOUTIQUE HOTEL when you travel to some of the major African cities?

NOW, LET US LOOK AT WHAT A BOUTIQUE HOTEL REALLY MEANS

According to wikipedia.org. “A Boutique hotel is a term used initially in the USA, and the United Kingdom to describe a small hotel which typically has between 10 and 100 rooms in unique settings with upscale accommodations”!

The word “boutique” literally means “a small, sophisticated, and fashionable business or establishment“. Though there is no strict definition of a boutique hotel, it can be simply drawn that they are small intimate and stylish hotels that usually features very strong artistic sense and focus on design. They are usually located in a fashionable location in the city’s urban district.

This is a very simple way to describe a boutique hotel. However, there are some key criteria that a hotel must have, to be classified “a Boutique”. One of which is that they must be furnished stylishly, and with plenty of aspirations. Secondly, they should have Contemporary Vibes in them and they do come with individualistic ambience too. They are petit, not generic, blah, or bland and can easily be identified from a mile away. 

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A BOUTIQUE HOTEL TO LOOK OUT FOR

Be it in Europe, Africa,  Asia, or the Americas, the characteristics remain the same, though the name may change; like in Japan where they are called “Romantic Hotels”  No matter the nomenclature, ‘Boutique Hotel’ or a ‘Romantic Hotel’, the expectations remain the same for every traveller. In Africa, the same criteria also do apply and there are many boutique hotels scattered around the major cities with state of the art architecture and great personality. Like anywhere else, these hotels possesses all the qualities expected of a boutique hotel, but first, you need to know how and where to find them in Africa. 

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS A BOUTIQUE MUST HAVE INCLUDED BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING:

  1. They must be small and intimate; modern and eccentric in look and in feel
  2. They are often independently operated, though larger hotel chains are venturing successfully into this niche.
  3. Boutique Hotels strives to be one-of-a-kind with a more personalized, hands-on service approach to customer relationships. This you will notice as they have more time to wine and dine each and every guest of theirs.
  4. It is often expected that on arrival, and upon entering a boutique hotel, to be wrapped up in a complete atmosphere of beautiful furnishings, paintings, wall colourations, and other decorations that contribute to architectural originality of the place.
  5. They come with very classy restaurants and lounges and some do offer some of the best poolside views you could ever imagine.

TYPES OF BOUTIQUE HOTELS

Remember also that there are two major classes of a boutique hotel. “Luxury and Budget”. The Budget Boutique Hotel caters for the average traveller who seeks the comfort of a small, beautiful and personalized lodging, and do not have the funds to lavish on luxury. However, there are some very expensive Luxury Boutique Hotels out there, with some of the best architectural designs, super interiors and top-level services that are simply mind-blowing. Don’t mind their exorbitant rates, stay in one if you can, they are often worth it. I have stayed in some of the best Boutique Hotels in the world and can comfortably tell you they do make an impressive statement of comfort, and often leave a mark of excellence and vigour on me as I go about my daily schedules.

THE HISTORY OF BOUTIQUE HOTEL

The history of the Boutique hotel can be traced back to to1984 when the term was coined out by Steve Rubell. When analyzing the first hotel he and Ian Schrager owned together, called the Morgans Hotel, he actually compared this hotel to a boutique, because of its sheer beauty and style. That gave birth to the concept called THE BOUTIQUE HOTEL. Today the popularity of this type of hotels have gone worldwide and has attracted some multi-national hotel companies who are investing strongly into this concept with the aim of capturing a share of its ever-growing market.

Though New York City remains an important Centre for boutique hotels, the trend had earlier gained popularity in major cities like Paris, London, and San Francisco. Today we have boutique hotels all over the world inclusive of Africa where major cities such as Cape Town, Owerri, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Accra, Lagos, Mombasa, Pretoria and Port Harcourt are leading the trend. These cities continue to witness up-spring of some of the most exceptional boutique hotels you can imagine.

TRAVELLERS CAUTION

As Boutique hotels continue to grow here in Africa, they keep changing the landscapes of major cities and today, we experience an increasing change in the lodging mindset of travellers who now prefer to stay in boutique hotels. Due to this increased patronage, it has become very common these days for every small lodging facility claim to be a boutique hotel. This is misleading and often leads to disappointment for the traveler who books for a boutique hotel on the internet, only to find out he or she has just paid to stay in an igloo upon arrival. The feeling is awful and could be heartbreaking too and we at Hospitality360 Africa regard this as internet fraud and condemns such misleads in its entirety. Deceits of such should be discouraged in the industry and I hope with articles like this we should be able to set the records straight.

Being well informed about that Boutique hotel you are about to place a reservation for, should be a right and not a privilege; and the onus is on the industry to provide travellers with such information and guide. For these reasons, Hospitality360 Africa is handpicking the best Boutique Hotel for you. We have classified them into, Luxury and Budget Boutique Hotels to make it easier for you to make that informed choice on the right boutique hotel to stay in and where to find them.

Click here to watch video interviews of key stakeholders of the industry as we bring you our top 20 hands picked Budget and Luxury Hotels in some of the major cities on the continent. 

WHERE TO FIND A BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN AFRICA

Finding a boutique hotel of your choice out there in the cities of Africa may be challenging owing to the fact that most hotel sites do not specify which hotel is convectional or boutique. I hope this report will guide millions of you travellers around the world on what to expect from a boutique hotel in Africa and where to find them.

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