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Lifestyle Hotels & Resorts- Beyond Boutique Definitions?

March 27, 2011

I’ve enjoyed writing several posts about What is a Boutique Hotel?  This is ongoing question that concerns many of us in the hotel industry. In this post I want to raise some questions regarding this term- Lifestyle Hotels. Many claim that Lifestyle hotels are part of the overall Boutique sector; small hotels offering niche characteristics. I actually think that Lifestyle Hotels are the umbrella category that incorporates a much broader spectrum with both longstanding examples and also new players in today’s fast changing world where our customers are even more curious and seeking individual needs. I claim that Lifestyle Hotels can include at least three categories:

1) Theme Hotel or Resorts (some have existed for many years) that are not necessarily  small properties but do indeed offer something unique that reflects both a particular lifestyle whether wellness & health (at times Spa destination Resorts) or a Fitness/Sports Lifestyle (from Golf and Ski Resorts to Sports/Fitness Centers) or even Culinary Food & Beverage themes hotel. Many times this hotel experiences are much more than a resort or spa experience but an offer of many programs such as weight loss, anti-aging that trigger changes in individual lives for the long term. Many of these hotels reflect the culture or spirit of its surroundings with a distinct character to cuisine, art and archtechture.

The unique and lovely lobby at the Viceory Hotel in Miami (Courtesy of Viceory Hotels website)

The unique and lovely lobby at the Viceory Hotel in Miami (Courtesy of Viceory Hotels website)

Some examples include:

2) Boutique Hotels (Design, Fashion, Hip & Cool Hotels) are a fast growing sector that in itself includes many types of hotels and in which  standards are difficult to define. At times Hotel owners and managers use this term without any substance.  As I have said many times, Boutique qualities are not just about some design aspect or the fact the the hotel is small but it needs to have character, soul & even theater qualities. Many reflect the style of its owners or developers.

A room at the Miraval Villas in Arizona (Courtesy of Miraval Hotels website)

A room at the Miraval Villas in Arizona (Courtesy of Miraval Hotels website)

Some examples are:

3) Residential- Mixed use Hotels and Resorts are growing tremendously providing a lifestyle choice combined with hotel experience.  Those wanting to live comfortably with many of the hotel amenities and perks such as spas, fitness rooms, bars & restaurants. These arrangements are known as vacation homes, fractional vacations or permanent residential set ups with hotel facilities.  This concept is much more than design & great service but instead this idea connects the world of vacation to “the way of life”.

Some examples:

At the end of the day- all these brands promise something different with the hope that it will translate to good business.  The commitment is to constantly be new, fresh, and innovative. Lifestyle brands can’t afford to stay stagnated. Let’s assume that our customers will continue to value and pay for lifestyle experiences in hotels and appreciate all amenities and design concepts. That’s the real challenge.

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