If you Google “boutique hotel,” you’ll get, “a small stylish hotel, typically one situated in a fashionable urban location.” If you get in a car and drive around Metro Phoenix, you’ll find small stylish hotels in urban locations. Don’t let Google fool you, though:the face of boutique accommodations is changing. Chains and large properties are catching on to the needs of a new demographic of travelers. Welcome to Boutique 2.0 — hospitality that comes in all shapes and sizes, but is specifically designed for those seeking luxurious lobbies, technical functionality and impeccable service.
“Boutique-style hotels are reviving a more local and distinct feeling in the market,” says Michelle Davis, general manager of the newly renovated Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Phoenix.
CSM Corporation began renovation of the two-decade-old building in January. The objective: to apply distinctive design with the clear intention of maintaining historical integrity, while simultaneously complimenting the architecture of surrounding buildings.
“When we went through the design process, we knew the hotel would be a focal point,” explains Scott Peterson, CSM director of development. “From the paint to the textiles, to reclaiming the original floor, we made sure to keep the integrity of the original building design.”
According to Davis, boutique travelers are looking not only for a unique experience, but an authentic and memorable one. For many, this translates to the significance of individualistic and expressive qualities.
Distinction, according to The Camby General Manager Greg Miller, is equal
in importance to the expectation of luxury service.
“The Camby has undergone a massive renovation to create unique spaces that cause guests to do a double take when they see the art or design of the public spaces and guest rooms,” Miller says.
The Hilton Garden Inn, for example, stands as a reflection of old-school grandeur with an impressive 24-foot ceiling in the lobby, and Art Deco design. Alternately, seasoned properties such as Days Inn, Scottsdale, has added characteristic components, like locally commissioned art featuring rock stars Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison as part of its recent renovation.
In addition to distinction, the boutique hotel seeks to to satisfy what Bob Rauch, the founder and CEO of RAR Hospitality, refers to as the “party of one.”
“The boutique model is driven by the millennial-mindset traveler,” Rauch says, “who usually has three or more (electronic) devices and hangs out in the lobby alone.”
Boutique lobbies, like the Radisson Phoenix North’s, accommodate this single-person party by offering comfortable seating, ample table space, access to Wi-Fi, multiple electric outlets and impeccable food, beverage and overall service — all of which Rauch stresses are musts for catering to boutique patrons.
To satisfy the expectations for out-of-the-box amenities, accommodations like The Camby have onsite offerings like pool-side yoga and a rooftop bar. The Days Inn Scottsdale has Papi Chulo’s Mexican Grill and Cantina, Stand Up Scottsdale and one of the largest oversized pools in the Valley.
Will the Valley continue to see growth in the boutique/luxury market? According to experts, yes.
“Phoenix is the top market in hotels right now,” Rauch says.
Miller adds, “Today’s traveler — especially younger travelers, don’t want to stay in a ‘typical’ branded hotel. They want to stay somewhere that has some character and is indicative of ‘the place’ they are visiting.”
Mountain Shadow Resort, Paradise Valley
With construction underway, the Mountain Shadow Resort follows a luxury-boutique model that Westroc Hospitality is known for. The property will consist of a combination of 183 guest rooms and 43 hotel-condo units. Golf, a specialized fitness center and neighboring retail are some of what this mixed-use project will offer.
HOTEL VALLEY HO
This hybrid of hotel-meets-resort accomodation blends the best of vintage, while offering an urban and polished feel. Guests will enjoy a spa, Sunday brunch and poolside relaxation, not to mention the option to hit up one of its many scheduled events.
HILTON SCOTTSDALE RESORT & VILLAS
With a Spring Training menu on their newly re-launched BluFire Grille–complete with traditional ballpark hot dog–the Hilton Scottsdale Resort has also boosted their technological offerings to guests, while refreshing furnishings to an overall modern feel.
The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, Scottsdale
This recently renovated property includes the new Kitchen West Restaurant, a cocktail bar and poolside bar and grill, and onsite spa. Many of the rooms offer a tranquil view, and two suites have a billiard table and comfortable seating area.
L’Auberge de Sedona, Sedona
Boutique travelers are bound to appreciate the newly renovated Creekside restaurants of the L’Auberge, not to mention a collection of local artwork in conjunction with the Goldenstein Gallery offering an artist-in-residency program for guests.
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson
This desert-nature retreat is situated to nearby hiking trails and a natural waterfall. Adventurers and travelers can relax at the end of the day at the Lakeside Spa or grab a bite at the Flying V Bar & Grill.