Sincerely, BLLA

Best Boutique Hotels of 2020

Over 100 Rooms

1. The Revolution Hotel

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Number of Rooms: 177

“The boutique movement has evolved greatly since its inception in the early 1980’s with the first Kimpton Hotel. Over the years, visionaries like Ian Schrager and Alex Calderwood, among others, have blazed trails and set the tone for what a boutique hotel is and could be. The movement has opened doors for others, like The Revolution Hotel, to step outside the box to create unique experiences and put their own mark on the industry with the assurance that the travel community was ready for it. Each have been crucial in defining boutique hotel experiences, taking unique approaches to building connections with the community and engaging travelers in new ways by offering them “only in” experiences. It has allowed hotels to be not just a place to rest your head but a larger part of the story told – a memorable touchpoint in the destination conversation as a whole.

The Revolution Hotel was designed to engage with its South End neighborhood, with the garden level set aside for “Conspire”, a flexible co-working and event space. The design is a moody take on the overall hotel’s aesthetic. A ‘future vintage maximalist’ vibe colors the space – with old and new elements mixing to create an on-trend juxtaposition. Velvet and leather materials placed within an industrial wood space create a luxurious aura at night, and an active energy during the day. Designed with flexibility in mind, the use of pulley power cords, and moveable furniture allow for community events or night-time programming including yoga classes, flea markets, and happy hours. The hotel’s co-working space offers nomadic workers unlimited coffee, tea, water, and chit chat. he Rev consistently seeks out partnership opportunities with local organizations to champion local brands and businesses but to also provide something unique to the guest experience. Catering towards the entrepreneurial spirit of Boston, this space engages the community and invites them in to mingle with hotel guests who may linger outside of their rooms to socialize and explore once their day is done. A modern, flexible space, the hotel’s co-working space is the place to be for the next revolutionaries of Boston.”

2. The Betsy-South Beach

Miami, Florida, United States

Number of Rooms: 130

“‘Boutique’ is an important concept that has shaped The Betsy, and one that is changing the landscape of hospitality worldwide with leadership from BLLA. For as long as the media has been writing about independent properties as a distinct hospitality segment, boutique hotels have brought something unique to the marketplace, differentiating themselves from their larger competitors with their individual style and personality. At a boutique hotel, that distinctive character informs the ambience and experiences on offer. As guests continually express in their online reviews, it’s the little details that make them come back — the enriching experience of elevated service, a special aroma in the hallways, the art on the walls, or something they just can’t put their fingers on. Invariably, it’s that ‘something’ which creates our lasting connections with our guests, something that makes them feel — as we hear time and time again — like they’ve found their ‘home away from home.’ The BLLA mission mentions embracing ‘great minds.’ At the Betsy, we couldn’t agree more — and we have broadened that braintrust to include the more than 1000 creative thinkers (artists, writers, and agents of change in all sectors) that have been in residence at our hotel over the past ten years. We also include our equally inspired artisan vendor partners, who have helped us to very intentionally shape our amenities programs, not merely as adjunct suppliers but as integral members of our team. Together with these varied yet highly curated partners, we’ve deepened our commitment to the meaning of ‘boutique’ — and though small in stature (when measured next to hotels with hundreds and thousands of rooms), we have big ideas and share BLLA’s vision that boutique hospitality is here to stay, and has great promise for the future, as an empowered community. And like BLLA, The Betsy’s leadership team is now intergenerational – with Zachary Plutzik (Jonathan Plutzik and Lesley Goldwasser’s son) now serving as Managing Director and taking the hotel to new places with his vision for digital communications, branding, and community building. We recognize that the future of this movement belongs to digital natives who have travelled the world and understand the power of bringing time-tested hospitality into a 21st century global marketplace. And finally, as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, boutique hotels are rising to the challenge of providing more than just an escape. Thoughtfully curated, smaller in size, and intimate in nature, boutique hotels have a vital role to play in this moment of uncertainty, making guests feel safe, comfortable, and, above all, at home.

With a mission to redefine hospitality, The Betsy Hotel offers a vibrant guest experience program that includes wellness, music, art, poetry, room libraries, poems placed on pillows, and charitable community collaborations (since 2009) with hundreds of organizations in South Beach and beyond.”

3. Ironworks Hotel Indy

Indianapolis, Indiana

Number of Rooms: 120

“The boutique movement is an opportunity for independent hoteliers to set themselves apart from their larger, branded counterparts. Attention to detail, impeccable service and creativity in how we welcome/entertain guests is our strong suit. We pride ourselves on creating properties that become a seamless part of the community and a way to highlight the most unique offerings in our neighborhoods. Ironworks Hotel Indy has become a destination within a destination, and locals are some of our biggest advocates and guests. A true boutique hotel cannot be replicated, and has a personality all its own. We feel that Ironworks Hotel Indy has an identity like no other hotel, and are happy to be in the great company of other boutique hotels across the world who represent the best of the communities in which they serve. We have and will continue to provide experiences for guests that they can only get in a boutique setting, and we hope our guests have an experience that inspires them to seek out other boutique hotels to keep the boutique movement strong into the future.

IWH Indy understands that serving the community is as important as serving guests. Since its inception, Ironworks Hotel Indy has proudly donated to over 200 charities, and played host to a number of fundraising and free community events to raise funds for organizations like the Humane Society of Hamilton County. The hotel’s leadership team takes pride in holding volunteer roles throughout the community and the industry, including the Board of Directors for the Indiana Chapter of Meeting Professional International. Ironworks Hotel Indy has partnered with local college Purdue University to host students on-site, and recently partnered with Butler University marketing students for an ongoing research project.”

4. Shinola Hotel

Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Number of Rooms: 62

“A true boutique experience means exceptional service, exquisite design, unique offerings and an authentic taste of local culture. Guests of a boutique hotel are not just booking a stay, they’re seeking out an experience of the destination and those experiences should be happening right under the hotel’s roof. Shinola Hotel was designed and programmed to ensure guests feel a part of the energy of Detroit and the buzz of Downtown as they walk through the property and social spaces. Creating memories is the heart of operations and design, whether that’s a meaningful conversation over a Daiquiri at the hotel’s speakeasy Evening Bar, the moment one asks for the name of an artist featured on the lobby’s carefully curated gallery wall, or happening upon a local poet reading to a crowd in The Living Room. Shinola Hotel’s seamless blend of locals and tourists in design-forward spaces with elevated offerings is what makes a true boutique experience.

Beyond being a beautiful place to stay, Shinola Hotel was designed to be a living room for the community and a source of pride for the city. The commitment to the community is engrained in the hotel’s operations and part of the Shinola Hotel experience from check-in to check out.”

5. The Asbury

Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States

Number of Rooms: 110

“Once a grand, seaside resort, Asbury Park was clinging onto its somewhat faded image as a cultural center of the region, characterized by numerous acres of vacant land and abandoned, underutilized buildings. Master Developer iStar’s revitalization aimed to transform 1.25 miles on the Asbury Park waterfront, with the launch of The Asbury Hotel marking the first chapter in the town’s thrilling rebirth. The Asbury was designed to galvanize tourism and serve as a beacon for the community, which it has succeeded in doing. Since it’s opening in 2016, the hotel has brought over 50,000 visitors to Asbury Park. The seven-story former Salvation Army retirement home, abandoned for 12 years, was transformed into an exuberant reimagining of classic beach hotels, with rooms, facilities, and amenities to reflect the town’s eclectic spirit and original, rock ‘n’ roll vibe.The property not only offers guests a unique shoreside experience but also provides a community space for local vendors, artists and musicians, truly immersing visitors in the cultural hub that is Asbury Park, NJ.”

6. Hotel Julian

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Number of Rooms: 218

“We believe one of the most important aspects of the boutique hotel movement is a focus on personalized service. Every guest should feel like they can tailor their stay to meet their preferences as an individual, modern traveler. Hotel Julian is named for St. Julian, the patron saint of hospitality and travelers, and we want every guest to experience the level of warmth and hospitality our namesake is known for. We love having the ability to surprise our guests and make their stay unique and unforgettable, regardless of whether they are traveling on business or leisure.

 Hotel Julian also prioritizes local vendor partnerships whenever possible and has a longstanding relationship with Katherine Anne Confections, a Chicago-based artisan chocolatier, who makes specialty chocolates as gifts for guests. This extends to curated guest experiences as well. In addition to the aforementioned romance package, Hotel Julian has partnered with many cultural institutions to support local events. This includes a private architecture experience during the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and perks at ALK for guests who showed their ticket from the Art Institute of Chicago’s ‘Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again’.”

7. Saint Kate-The Arts Hotel

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Number of Rooms: 219

“We feel strongly that a curated guest experience matters. We believe that you will find this in boutique hotels. Through every step of the experience from smell when you walk in the door, to the energetic greeting, being able to listen to music, browse a gallery, play the ukulele in your room, leave a drawing on the butcher paper with the colored pencils in your room, or to drop in on a rehearsal or show in the black box theatre. We are more than a luxurious place to lay your head but a place that will shift your perspective and allow you to imagine, create and innovate.

At Saint Kate we focus on the community. When we opened we built a Milwaukee acting troupe that performed in the hotel. We brought together community artists to be highlighted in our rooms. We have locally sourced all our mini bar items. Even our knobs on the drawers and blankets on the beds are made by a local artist. We have a partnership with Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) which has a location in Saint Kate promoting Wisconsin artists. The Marcus Family that owns Saint Kate is very involved in the community. Linda Marcus of Linda Marcus Designed curated the hotels art and is a prominent figure in the Milwaukee area.”

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