Hospitality Re-imagined – Series Two

The Ever-Widening World of Hotel Types

Lifestyle, Wellness, Eco, Hybrid Hospitality, Pop-Up, Micro….. the list seems endless.

But what do all these different types of hotels mean for our industry? Are these to become new categories or are they just strategy for market positioning?

One thing for certain, in the digital world we live in, it is our guests and not the industry that will decide what is relevant to them and will stand the test of time.

With so many emerging definitions of hotels let’s take a closer look at one that is rocketing.

Lifestyle Hotels – is this just new marketing lingo for what we understood to be a Boutique Hotel?

Apparently not.  Although neither is a proper category they are each distinctive and can be defined through special characteristics.

According to Hoteltechreport (Jan 2022) characteristics of a Boutique Hotel are;

  • small size (typically fewer than 100 bedrooms)
  • usually have small restaurants or bars (if any)
  • few recreational facilities
  • limited meeting space

The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) gives the following definition for Lifestyle Hotels;

“Lifestyle hotels are the next generation of boutique hotels.  Driven by the chains, they borrow the best elements of boutiques – small, intimate and modern and throw in advantages only a chain can offer, like loyalty perks, consistency and economies of scale.  As a result, lifestyle hotels are generally more affordable and accessible than boutiques – and soon to be ubiquitous.”

Given this explanation we could say that lifestyle hotels are ‘franchises’ boutique hotels.

Although Accor was one of the first big hotel brands to glimpse the potential of lifestyle hotels back in 2008 when Mama’s Shelter hit the Paris scene, by now most of the big players have entered and the market is flourishing.  A traveler’s desire to have dependable yet local, authentic experiences at affordable prices is a key motivation for these types of hotels.

Boutique hotels, however, still continue to grow and evolve, particularly in the upper scale and luxury space.  2022 saw the first ‘Super Boutique’ entrant into the world marketplace, The Londoner located on Leicester Square.

So how does a large 350 bedroomed hotel, spread across 16 stories, 6 eateries and bars and a 850 capacity ballroom position itself as Boutique?

Besides adding the word ‘Super’…..It all comes down to the intimate areas that designers curated within the building, each section emulating the cosiness of a more low-key hotel but set within a spectacular structure.  Describing themselves as individual, intimate, eclectic, and curated

What caught my eye on their website;

The Residence within the hotel has three intimate spaces just for residents including the Drawing Room, The Y Bar and the Whiskey Room. One of their food and beverage outlets, Joshua’s Tavern, hosts a nightly pub quiz.


Of course their luxury bedrooms have 400 thread count Irish linen, smart TVs and a rain shower, but also include curated artwork, Dyson hairdryers, handheld steamer, luxury Toto washlet and binoculars to take in the sights out your bedroom window.

What really sets a boutique hotel apart? It is Service and their staff’s ability to focus on delivering extraordinary guest service. This is in my opinion what sets boutique hotels apart from Lifestyle hotels.

This is one for my 2023 bucket list.

Author: Niamh O’ Shea – click here

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