The Evolution of Boutique Hotels in 40 years (1980-2020)
By Rocco Bova General Manager, Chable' Resort & SPA | March 31, 2019
It was in the early '80s that the word ´´boutique hotels´´ was coined by entrepreneur Steve Rubell who, together with Ian Schrager, founded Morgans Hotel in New York (1984), soon to become a small chain of individual ''boutique hotels''. This event followed the opening of the first Kimpton in S.Francisco in 1981, which in fact begun the new movement of boutique hotels.
The word boutique is of French origin for specialized shop. In fact, in a boutique, you would be able to buy only one type of articles like jewellery, perfumes, clothings, etc., a type of retail to be distinguished from the traditional mall or larger shops where you could find different merchandise.
Let's look at the evolution of this concept at the present time, which is in my opinion, a little distorted.
So, Morgans Hotel, 1984, new York. Where else to launch what would become a worldwide trend and who better than Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, founders of Studio 54 (that was a few years earlier) on of the most successful night club in history. In summary a duo that created the perfect storm to revolutionize what was at the time a very boring hotel concept, dominated principally by the large chains. Boring architecture and design, boring (or no) music played in public areas, boring food & beverage offerings.
They certainly found a (huge) niche and their success was immediate to what it is now a nearly common trend.
Today, basically each company is sub-branding with something cool and fresh in design, with good F&B and music, and some even using fragrances and colors to stimulate the senses.