The phrase “boutique hotel” first appeared across cities such as London in the 1980s. They were different because each hotel or guest room was furnished in a particular theme or style such as 18th century opulence. In general they are similar because they are so dissimilar, often being described as quirky. Boutique hotels are also generally run by individuals rather than large corporations.
Whose was the First Boutique Hotel in the World?
The term “boutique hotel” first entered the English language in in New York in 1984 when Steven Rubell, who first coined the phrase in reference to his ‘Morgans’ hotel. Morgan’s opened on Madison Avenue, Murray Hill, New York and Rubell used the term to show how radically different his hotel was from the mundane “department store” hotels owned by the big brand hotel chains.
Rubell, who along with the entrepreneur Ian Schrager, commissioned parisian designer Andre Putman. Putman devised an overall theme and style for the hotel which could be described as “America meets Europe” taking unique aspects from both to create something wonderfully unique. The key was to ensure that all of the main characteristics oozed independence and originality. In doing so he helped design, arguably, the worlds first boutique hotel.
There are other hotels which lay claim to being the first ever boutique hotel and claimants include the Bedford in Union Square, San Francisco. The Bedford hotel has changed ownership since it very first opened it changed its name to the Hotel Cosmo and, most recently, to the Vintaggio Suites.
The reason why I have stated that Morgan’s was the very first boutique hotel is for the very simple fact that it was Rubell himself that coined the phrase to describe his hotel. Prior to this no other hotel in the world had been described as such and therefore, by default, Morgan’s was the very first, even though earlier hotels have, subsequently, become known as boutique hotels.
Other Boutique Hotels
In England the very first boutique hotel was in Leeds. This was 42 The Calls, whose owners transformed an old corn mill into a sleek and stylish boutique hotel. The hotels design embraces its former use by keeping some of the old machinery, and featuring luxurious handmade beds. London’s first ever boutique Hotel was The Blake’s in South Kensington, and since then boutique hotels can be found all across the capital.
The city of London could be described as sophisticated. Not only does London consist of wide range of boutique hotels, it also has a wide range of cultures, creeds and ethnicities. So when planning your vacation to London consider staying in one of the desirable unique boutique hotels.