Sincerely, BLLA

Best Boutique Hotels of 2020

Under 100 Rooms

1. Asbury Ocean Club Hotel

Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States

Number of Rooms: 54

“David Bowd of Salt Hotels, operator Asbury Ocean Club Hotel, sees the boutique movement as the future. The movement allows employees and guests to create natural authentic experiences in every aspect of the hotel journey. David believes that a boutique hotel should represent not only the location it is in, but it should also reflect the very essence of its locale and the local culture. Each hotel should be an expression of those that were involved in its creation and become a place where guests and employees feel inspired and joyful just being there. The boutique movement knows no bounds, is ever-changing, highly energetic, and makes no apology for its approach.

 When recruiting talent for its properties, Salt Hotels looks to the surrounding communities, which are often brimming with passionate, entrepreneurial people and may lack resources to form successful careers. In anticipation of Asbury Ocean Club Hotel’s opening early last year, David reinstituted his fourth annual Salt School – a free hospitality training program with support from iStar, the Master Developer for Asbury Park’s waterfront. Inspired by Bowd’s own career, having started as a bellman at 15, the program introduces participants to all facets of the hotel industry and has seen such success that Bowd has implemented it at all Salt properties and has been approached by Freehand to assist with the creation of their Freehand University training program. Open to Asbury Park residents, for free, with no barriers of entry to attend other than an application of a short essay, Salt School supports the struggling economy and instills hope in people to invest in themselves and their future. By investing year after year in the program, iStar and Salt Hotel have clearly defined that for them, a successful development and hotel launch rested on the betterment of the community and the individuals who make up that community. Salt School serves as a strong force for fueling jobs within the community. Over the years, the program has seen over 300 graduates, with nearly 100 graduating this past year, 80 percent of which were hired at The Asbury and Asbury Ocean Club hotels. The creation and annual continuation of Salt School speaks volumes to iStar and Salt Hotel’s commitment to Asbury Park and its rejuvenation. Designed to prepare potential staff for employment in the hospitality industry despite their age or level of prior knowledge or experience, the creation and annual continuation of Salt School speaks volumes to Salt Hotel’s commitment to its communities.”

2. The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

Solvang, California, United States

Number of Rooms: 73

“Staying at a boutique hotel provides the opportunity for guests to more authentically connect with a location and with the property. The intimate size also means that there is more focus on individual guest experiences. This movement is bringing back the care, intention and personality of the hospitality world. We want each guest to leave not just with a fondness of their time away from home, but with a deeper nostalgia for their experience at our property.

The Alisal has worked with the local farm and wine community to create a one-of-a-kind food and beverage program. The Alisal’s wine list also features mainly local wines, since they are locate din the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley wine region.”

3. The Butler Hotel

San Luis Obispo, California, United States

Number of Rooms: 6

“The vision of The Butler Hotel was to see beyond the typical requisite hotel stay, and provide guests with an immersive and engaging hospitality experience that showcases local culture as well as celebrates high design. As a small, locally owned and managed boutique property, we have the luxury of levering our collective creative backgrounds in architecture, art, music and furniture, and wielding these talents into a holistically composed construct that subconsciously educates our guests with a heightened awareness of bespoke design and historically significant artwork, all while giving them a great night’s rest.

While operating the smallest hotel in the city may not provide the robust revenue stream afforded the larger chain hotels, The Butler Hotel has a unique advantage in our community. Given our diminutive size coupled with local ownership, we are able to host various private events such as weddings, reunions, etc, and are able to offer our guests a full-property buy-out at extremely reasonable rates. We have also been able to host numerous industry events such as Chamber of Commerce mixers and hospitality industry nights, as well as partner with local catering companies and mobile food & cocktail vendors to provide a full-service experience to our guests at very affordable yet financially sustainable prices.”

4. ARRIVE Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Number of Rooms: 62

“We view the boutique movement as being authentic and of this place. We love this neighborhood and want you to know.

The hotel was designed with multiple public facing retail and F&B outlets, many patrons have no idea there are rooms above. Checkin occurs at the bakery. The lower restaurant has shuffle board tournaments and live music while the upper space transitions throughout the day from coffee, to study hall to late night cocktails. The coffee shop is operated by a local roaster and the bakery headed by our favorite framers market vendor.”

5. Bode Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Number of Rooms: 69

“We see the boutique movement through with the idea that ‘we created Bode in the spirit of the way we travel,” CEO Philip Bates explains. ‘We looked back at our favorite trip memories and there was a common thread: they were shared experiences. So we designed our hotel with groups in mind, to foster a great experience at Bode and around the cities we call home.’

We believe when local elements surround you, they invite you in. Working with local partners in every Bode location, each Bode feels of the place, so you can, too. Thanks to our Nashville natives and nearby friends. We all travel to taste local flavors, and we get ours from Frothy Monkey, suppliers of our complimentary bread and pioneers of one of the finest rustic bakery concepts in Nashville and charcuterie from our friends at Nicky’s Coal Fired — home to the only coal burning oven in Tennessee just to name a few.”

6. The Delafield Hotel

Delafield, Wisconsin, United States

Number of Rooms: 38

“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. The Delafield Hotel is an icon in Lake Country with a history of providing incredible experiences for all guests. A true boutique hotel cannot be replicated, and has a personality all its own. We feel that the Delafield Hotel 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.

The hotel plays an important role in the community for locals and visitors alike. By building and nurturing relationships with local businesses, the hotel contributes to the success of its city through its ongoing support of charitable events, sponsorships and by purchasing local goods and services as guest amenities for hotel packages. Delafield Hotel leaders are also leaders in the community, holding volunteer roles with the Waukesha County Business Alliance, the Waukesha County Technical College Hospitality Program, Delafield Chamber of Commerce and the Delafield Tourism Council.”

7. The Wesley Palm Springs

Palm Springs, California, United States

Number of Rooms: 10

“Being part of the boutique movement ourselves, we see it as a natural evolution of hospitality. As we become better able to understand one another, we are able to create tailor-made experiences that forge unforgettable memories. To be boutique is to say that you see your guest, that you care about their individual experience, and take conscientious, thoughtful steps to orchestrate an experience that makes a meaningful impact for them.

By partnering with local artists, we seek to preserve and nurture the unique, vibrant aesthetic of the area. Especially with the distinctly fabulous Mid-century retro movement native to Palm Springs, we love being host to a thriving artistic movement and our accommodations are only more beautiful for it. Through partnership with local services, we’re able to give our guests better rates to experiences they otherwise might never have known about while also driving engagement for local business.”

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