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THE GROWING TREND OF BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN AFRICA

By Mr Horecan

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 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 travelers continue to change their ‘mindset’ towards staying in a boutique hotel, whether on business or pleasure travels.

The world over, 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 increase 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 does BOUTIQUE HOTEL actually mean?

NOW, LETS 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 is that, they are furnished stylishly and with plenty of aspirations. Secondly, they have Contemporary Vibes and comes with individualistic ambiance. They are petit, not generic, blah, or bland and can easily be identified even from afar. Now, Hospitality360 Africa have identified some key characteristics of a boutique hotel you should always look out for, and they are;

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A BOUTIQUE HOTEL TO LOOK OUT FOR

  1. They are small and intimately; modern and eccentric in look and 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 colorations, and other decorations that contribute to an architectural originality of the place.
  5. They come with very classy restaurants and lounges and some do offer some of the best pool side views you could ever imagine.

TYPES OF BOUTIQUE HOTELS

Let me also remind you there are two major classes of a boutique hotel. “Luxury and Budget”. The Budget Boutique Hotel caters for the average traveler who seek 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 vigor on me as I go about my daily schedules.

THE HISTORY OF BOUTIQUE HOTEL

The history of the Boutique hotel can be traced back 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 the world over with major cities such as Cape Town, Owerri, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Accra, Lagos, Mombasa, Pretoria and Port Harcourt leading the trend in Africa. 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, and changing the landscapes of major cities here in Africa, so do we experience a huge change in the lodging mindset of travelers who now prefer them to regular hotels. Due to the increased patronage, every small lodging facility in Africa now claim to be a boutique hotel. This is misleading and often led to disappointments 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 and with the efforts of major key industry players, this issue and other related issues of standardization, classification and certifications of the hotel and restaurant sectors will be given priority attention in Africa as it is one great tool to instigate travelers’ confidence.

Getting well informed on where to find a Boutique hotel in Africa becomes when making a reservation becomes invaluable and the onus is on the industry to provide travelers with such information. Industry managers, policy makers, writers and journalists, and of course the organized private sector all have a role to play to ensure consumer confidence. For these reasons, we at Hospitality360 Africa has decided to embark educating the travelers of what a boutique hotel actually means, how to identify a boutique hotel and where to find one within the shores of Africa.

In furtherance to this, we are doing some exclusives on Where to find a Boutique hotel in Africa. This documentary will see us talk to some major hoteliers, operators, managers and industry experts on their takes and also identify and handpick some of the best Boutique Hotels in Africa, exploring them city by city with the hope of covering the major cities in the continent. We hope these exclusives will be your guide to making that informed decision from the comfort of your home of the kind of Boutique Hotel you want, and where to find them.

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.

Keep a date with us and sign up to our newsletters as we bring you city by city, some of the best Boutique Hotels in Africa, Courtesy Emeka Ihumezie (Mr Horcan) The Chief Editor of Hospitality360 Africa.

Top 10 Handpicked Budget Boutique Hotel in Abuja. By Hospitality360 Africa

Top 10 Handpicked Luxury Boutique Hotel in Abuja. By Hospitality360 Africa

 

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. WHAT is a boutique hotel?
  2. It the concept of boutique hotel operation has been redefined in this part of the world?
  3. The ambiguity surrounding which hotel is actually a boutique hotel and where to find them will.
  4. Is Africa in synch with the concept as viewed the world over or have we changed the dynamics and come out with our own concept of boutique hotel
  5. What would you say a budget boutique hotels is and what would a luxury boutique hotel be in Nigeria
  6. Unlike the open-to-interpretation meaning of luxury hotel, the definition of boutique hotel is quite clear. Though there are no strict guidelines on what can be considered as a “boutique hotel”, what are the distinct characteristics that the average traveler could easily spot
  7. How to find Boutique Hotels?