Today, hotels are branded as boutique hotels and industrial ones. In the past, hotels were classified by stars and prices; The more stars the hotel had, the more expensive it was and the more exclusive. With the tourism boom, the major chains started offering boutique hotels too, yet under different brands. For example, the Hyatt chain turned out to be the “Hyatt World” hosting regular industrial hotels, but also boutique hotels: luxury, premium, health, lifestyle. Beyond the theme, the stars and the price (important, Darling, important) we should also take into account the services provided (free or paid), its location and brand.
In this post, I will concentrate on hotels’ category. In the past, the Hilton Hotel in Times Square in New York was considered a luxury hotel because it has four stars, is very expensive and belongs to the privileged Hilton chain. Today it belongs to the “industrial hotels.” Although it has luxurious services, the design is Hilton standard; the structure of the room is so well known that sometimes when you wake up in the morning, you cannot distinguish in which city you are, and which hotel. “Boutique hotels” get their name from the small, private hotels, which does not belong to a large chain. They are smaller, more intimate, located in private and reconstructed buildings with particular attention to design. The leading chains, identifying public partiality to boutique hotels, went into them as well, sometimes even blurring their relations to it. The Carlson chain, for instance, has an industrial chain of hotels by the name of Radisson, a sub-chain named Radisson Blu, whose hotels are considered more prestigious, and a sub-chain called Radisson Red, where hotels are designed according to a theme.
During our visit to Ottawa, we stayed in the heart of the local market in the Andaz Ottawa Byward Market. Only when we arrived at the hotel, “I discovered” that it is part of the Hyatt chain. The hotel is large, but modernly designed and decorated. Its rooms diverge from Hyatt’s standard design. One of the characteristics is the absence of the thick carpet, where the feet sink. In most USA hotels, rooms are “paved” with a wall-to-wall carpet. Carpets are suitable for a frozen winter. It creates a warm feeling and is pleasant to walk on as well. In Israel, for example, this functional element became an element of “luxury,” and the large hotels covered the floors with it. No Israeli winter justifies the use of carpets. I hate it! They stink, filled with dust and who knows what else “live” in them. They are extremely unhygienic!
I was always aware of the terrible smell in hotels, yet the first time that I understood where it comes from was on a trip to Florida. We arrived at a hotel whose floors were wooden parquet (pictured above). When we opened the door, and I was preparing for the nasty smell of the room, we were greeted with an unusual aroma of cleanliness. Only then did I realize that the scent is not part of the hotel industry, but stems from the tapestries taped to the floor. Their limited cleaning possibilities on the one hand and the smell of aging glue on the other is unpleasant.
The Ottawa hotel started a “celebration” of boutique hotels, not necessarily regarding price, but concerning design. No more standard hotel rooms that can be accessed with closed eyes and familiarity. In Canada, they are very easy to come by. Mansions have become small hotels, and each is designed differently from the other. Most of these hotels do not have elevators, but there are not many floors either. The baggage problem finds its solution in different and creative ways. For example, the use of the food elevator, which used to bring the food from the kitchen to the dining room that was on a higher floor. Of course, the place is tiny, and you need a lot of ingenuity to get your bags in.
At the boutique hotel in Quebec, an upgraded mansion building, I requested by e-mail that our room will be on a low floor so we would not have to run up and down stairs all day. They did respond to my request, and we received a spacious room, once a living room with an exit out to the garden. The room was tastefully decorated with an atmosphere of calm and pleasantness; we enjoyed it very much. But, to reach it, we had to descend about 12 steps. According to the principle that what you go down you go up too, we did not entirely escape the problem of the stairs.
The last word: “It’s easy to do the right thing. It’s harder to know what’s right.” Linden Johnson