The minute I walk in, I know Ive been duped. Yet another hipster hotel disguised as a luxury boutiqueproperty. I sigh with disappointment as I take in the tell tale signs: unappealing 50s furniture, brown, Motel 6 style carpeting, cheap window treatments, framed posters, low light, no closet and a dark bathroom that disdains amenities (poor lighting, no hooks, absence of q-tips, minimal counter space) for women. Hipster hotels suck. They are bare bones masquerading as upscale. They are uncomfortable. They are designed for millenials who think the aforementioned details are edgy and modern. Aside from lingering back pain (due to the crap mattress), the experience is entirely forgettable.

In contrast, a boutique hotel is a small property that oozes local verve. Its not part of a branded format. Its outre approach to hospitality feels authentic. Small design touches- unique artwork, woodwork and the use of local products- deliver massive impact. It may not be five star, but the attention to detail feels luxurious. the room is bright, well thought out and comfortable. There is a sense of place.

And, one thing is for sure. My kind of boutique hotel will never, ever have obnoxious music either greeting me as I re-enter my room or in the elevator.


Maison La Minervetta– Sorrento, Italy

la maison

Washington School House– Park City, Utah

washington school house

Post Ranch Inn– Big Sur, California

post ranch inn

La Bandita– Pienza, Tuscany

La Bandita

Kvosin Downtown Hotel– Reykjavik, Iceland


Blakes, London

Blakes London

TIP: Three excellent resources to source A List boutique hotels: Tablet, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Design Hotels.