“I stayed in an ancient [inn] last night. They sent me a wake-up letter.” – Steven Wright
Are you considering taking a vacation after the COVID-19 pandemic is finally over, and it is safe to travel again? If so, have you considered staying at an auberge? What does a boutique inn offer that a hotel or resort chain does not offer?
By way of answering this question, let’s consider the following discussion.
The boutique versus the standard hotel: A succinct definition
Wikipedia.com defines an auberge as a “small inn which typically has between 10 and 100 rooms in settings with upscale accommodations and individualized unique selling points.”
In other words, these establishments are designed to add their diverse character to your vacation experience; thereby, ensuring that your stay is unique and full of the inn’s universal value. Talia Avakian, in her article titled, “The ten highest-rated boutique hotels around the world,” notes that they “tend to be more exclusive and intimate than major hotel chains.”
As an aside, the quotation highlighted above by Steven Wright is an example of a boutique inn. He describes it as an ancient hostel, and because it was so early, the staff sent him a wake-up letter instead of a wake-up call utilizing the telephone in his room. In fact, we can assume that there was no telephone in his place because the inn was first built before the phone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1875/76.
On the other hand, a major hotel chain is an establishment that provides paid accommodation on a short- to medium-term basis. The facilities provided are entirely dependent on the cost of a night’s stay. For example, an entry-level room will only contain a modest-quality mattress, an attached bathroom, and other basic amenities.
Wikipedia notes that “the precursor to the modern hotel was the inn of medieval Europe.” From the mid-seventeenth century, and for about 200 years, coaching inns opened up along the major transport routes. And, they were designed to offer a place to stay overnight for people who traveled by coach between destinations. Furthermore, about 100 years later, inns began to provide luxury lodgings for the more affluent clients that needed a place to stay while on their travels.
The first modern hotel was successfully opened in Exeter, UK, in 1768. This led to a proliferation of hotels throughout North America and Western Europe during the early 1800s and onwards.
A boutique auberge experience: What can you expect
Personalized experience: Value for money
The first thing to note about a boutique hotel is that when you check-in, you are not treated as just another anonymous guest. On the other hand, a large chain resort’s staff have to deal with many guests daily that they do not have time to give anyone personal attention.
It must also be noted that the level of personal attention that a boutique hotel’s staff provides comes at a price. It is generally more expensive to stay at an exclusive lodging. This does not mean to say it’s not value for money. The level of personal attention and a personalized experience ensures that each guest feels as though their stay is worth more than what they paid for it.
A boutique inn goes out of its way to construct a tailor-made program to suit your unique requirements.
If we consider an example of an exclusive auberge in New York, Condor Hotel found on condorny.com; you can ask hotel staff to arrange personal tours to nearby sites like the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Green-Wood Cemetery. It is also possible to go shopping at the DUMBO art galleries as well as eat out in Williamsburg.
All these options are available as part of a tour package, including tours with lots of other people in one big group. Or, you can take the self-guided option. However, the staff will happily arrange a tour just for you and your partner or family.
On the other hand, if you stay in a chain hotel, you will probably be expected to arrange a tour yourself.
If you are a history buff, you will appreciate staying in one or more of the many specialty inns that are located within a historical building or a district full of historical significance. It must be noted that not all these establishments are located in historical buildings, but many are. Consequently, learning about the building and local area’s unique history is part of the added attraction.
There are many benefits to staying at a boutique hotel versus a major hotel chain. However, this discussion only has time to highlight a few of the significant advantages. Finally, the only way to experience what it is like to stay in a specialty lodge is to book a vacation at an inn of your choice and to enjoy the attention and personalized experience.