The glory days of the old hotels in cities around the world went up in smoke as the industry grew. Those old hotels like the Waldorf Astoria and the Plaza in New York had to reinvent their hospitality service in order to compete with the big hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt. Price and convenience, rather than luxury and pampering, rule in hotel industry these days. The perks of staying in a chain hotel are now hotel points and airline miles instead of excellent room service and fine dining. People want a bang for their buck when they stay at a hotel, but the only bang the big hotel chains give them is a hotel invoice quietly put under the door the night before checkout day.
The lack of hotel hospitality in the mega-hotel chains gave boutique hotels a boost in confidence. Boutique hotels are not new. Blakes Hotel in South Kensington, London was one of the first boutique hotels. Blakes was an instant hit in 1981. In 1984, the Morgans Hotel in New York City gave the big fast-food-type hotels a run for their money. The definition of a boutique hotel varies depending on the country and the people who frequent them. But almost all boutique hotels are warm and intimate, and there are no standards to follow in terms of guest room décor or hotel amenities. A successful boutique hotel combines historic details with a hip vibe and chic elegance.
The birth of the Airbnb industry has put a new pressure on the hotel industry. Millennials like the freedom and the price that an Airbnb offers. They also like the neighborhood feel, and the ability to cook what they want when they want. But there is a downside to Airbnb rentals. The furnishings and the ambiance of an Airbnb apartment or home can disappoint many clients. All the comforts of home look more like a boring Ikea party instead of a professional place to relax and chill.
But there is a hotel in Christchurch, New Zealand that still delivers the best of the best in boutique hotel service and quality. Hotel 115 is a privately owned hotel that gives guests the convenience, quality, and service of the grand hotels of yesteryear. There are only 37 rooms, and they are all different in terms of décor and ambiance. Hotel 115 offers four accommodation options, and the hotel is just steps away from Cathedral Square.
There is a new space opening between a boutique hotel and an Airbnb. That space consists of decent rooms with good design sensibility. Boutique hotel services are not up to par in this twin version of a boutique hotel, and there’s not much infrastructure in order to keep room prices down. Some of these middle space boutique hotels have small but neat rooms with few accouterments. Some have a DIY kitchen, an honor bar, a common space to entertain, and a small pool. There’s not much staff on the premises and reservations go through Airbnb, so Hotel 115 is still the first choice in New Zealand for travelers who want to feel at home.