London's boutique hotel sector is set to double in size by 2013, according to a new report.
With 2,544 rooms opening over the next two years, the Boutique Hotel Segment - The Challenge of Standing Out from the Crowd report claims that boutique hotels represent the fastest-growing hotel segment in the capital.
However, increased competition means that boutique properties must work harder to create a point of difference from their competitors. Produced by hotel consultants HVS London, the report says that boutique hotel operators will increasingly rely on creating destination restaurants within the properties, tying in with well-known chefs in a one-off, quality-orientated food offer.
Boutique hotels will also start to capitalise much more on their members' club atmosphere by having more guest-only areas, such as bars and rooftop terraces, as well as privileges for frequent residents.
The report's author, Cristina Balekjian, said that hotels could no longer get away with passable restaurants. "Looking forward, we expect to see further partnerships evolve between chefs and boutique hotels in creating truly stand-alone offerings drawing in outside custom," she said.
"Such restaurants have a high revenue earning potential as well as priceless publicity for the hotel. It is not uncommon for food and beverage revenue to account for 40-50% of total sales."
The report highlights the successful partnership between the Town Hall hotel in Bethnal Green with chef Nuno Mendes in creating the Michelin-starred restaurant Viajante as one of the leading examples of a destination eaterie being launched in a boutique property.
In summary, the report says the boom in boutique hotels over the past decade has been fuelled by guests' desire for an individual experience, combined with style, exclusivity, a high level of service and a sense of being recognised.
Forthcoming boutique hotel openings in London include the 85-bedroom Belgraves in Belgravia, 38-bedroom Indigo Cannon Street in the City and 85-bedroom Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge.
By Janet Harmer
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