So the Mormons of Marriott have come knocking on Ian Schrager's door with the hopes of bringing the boutique hotel to the masses. Good for them. But is it good for the masses? The oh so boutiquey Gansevoort's expansion plan incensed a boutique hotel operator we know, who flittered off a note about the use of 'boutique' when it comes to these impostors hotels, especially Schrager's. This hotel guru says:
A boutique by definition is a shop or a firm that is small and specialized. The hotels I have owned and/or operated are independently owned and adhere to traditional hospitality principles of customer service and satisfaction. The hotel is the thrust of the business. That is a boutique hotel. Hotels such as this have been operating in Europe for over 150 years and this is the legacy that I aspire to be associated with, because it is these hotels that 150 years later are still in business.A little rambly but we couldn't agree more. Give Ian credit for creating a modern option when it comes to urban travel. But let's not make it seem like he had invented the wheel. It should also be noted that service and comfort are barely mentioned. To us, that is rule #1. If we don't get a great night sleep and over the top help from the help, why should we care about the note pads on the desk?
Schrager takes credit for coining the term “Boutique Hotel” but he also deserves the credit for bastardizing the term. His biggest offense being the Hudson. 500 rooms, high design and poor service and he was marketing the hell out of the thing as a boutique hotel because it was trendy. Schrager applied this formula well when he created Morgans Hotel, the first boutique hotel he would have you believe, and he proceeded to roll out hotels that got further and further away from those traditional principles. If there is one thing I will say about Schrager is he is an absolute genius in the PR and Marketing arena, his ability to get out his message is second to none and people buy what he sells.
As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments or via airmail.