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The term “boutique hotel” has been widely used in recent years, but what does it mean and why should you stay in one?

There are lots of companies that claim to specialise in boutique hotels. For many, a boutique hotel is simply one that’s not part of a national or international chain and that distinguishes itself by its design, location or additional features. Many hotels aspire to be a boutique hotel without actually achieving it. Overall, there are four main elements to the true boutique hotel:

Size

Large hotels can be cool, trendy and chic, but they can’t be boutique. Just as the word is used to describe small, design-led specialist shops, so it applies to hotels. Hotels that apply the term “boutique” to themselves or have it ascribed to them are usually small – certainly less than 50 rooms and in some cases with only one or two. Their size contributes to the atmosphere and service that characterises a hotel with a difference. Whilst size might count in terms of the number of rooms, it doesn’t follow that those rooms must also be small. In fact, a hotel than could easily accommodate 20 rooms might choose instead to create just ten, but make them spacious and luxurious, catering to the boutique market.

Design

When the first boutique hotel was opened in New York in 1984, by hotel entrepreneurs Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, it was praised for its original design and quirky nature. Designed for those who really wanted to participate in their travel rather than passively take it all in, Morgans, and those that followed it, challenged the way we thought about hotels. Although Schrager would not now describe his hotels as boutique, the name has been applied to those hotel who followed in his footsteps as far as design is concerned. From clean and contemporary to themed rooms and classic elegance, a boutique hotel must have a clear design theme and attention to detail.

Service

The hallmark of an excellent boutique hotel is its service. Whether the hotel chooses to assign a personal butler to each guest, or just hires and trains staff to anticipate your every need, the service at a boutique hotel is really what it should be at any hotel: ensuring that your stay goes without a hitch, that you can get transport, opera tickets or excellent meals when you want them and making you feel at home rather than feeling like you’re a nuisance. Boutique hotels are scattered all over the world, from 24-hour cities like New York, London and Rio De Janeiro to island havens in the Indian or Pacific Oceans. What often sets them apart are the buildings that contain them. From former plantation houses to old textile mills, towers and palazzos, the type of building often forms the basis of the design and it is the blend of architecture, design and service that turns what could be just another hotel into a boutique one.

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Take A Romantic Break In A Boutique Hotel

Las Vegas has more than 100,000 hotel rooms to choose from. There is something for every budget, and enough entertainment within walking distance to keep anyone occupied for months, never mind the usual weekend stay or honeymoon. There are few cities which have as many luxury hotels as Las Vegas.

For travellers searching for top of the line accommodation, try the Four Seasons Las Vegas. It offers an oasis of tranquil elegance, comfort, luxury, and seclusion. Though it has no in-house casino, it is adjacent to Mandalay Bay Casino. Four Seasons Las Vegas is a tranquil retreat from the bustling city. This hotel offers 424 rooms are located on floors 35-39, and the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the famous Las Vegas Strip. The Business Center and Concierge service at this hotel have an extremely good reputation for meeting special needs of guests, such as arranging limousine services on a moment’s notice.

The Bellagio, a Las Vegas landmark, is a five-star hotel located on the 122-acre site of the legendary Dunes Hotel and Golf Course at the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvds. It contains one of the most attractive casinos in Las Vegas as well as numerous shops and restaurants. Bellagio’s world-famous fountains combine opera, classical and whimsical music with a breathtaking water and light show. The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens holds rows of exotic plants and flowers with unique displays for every season and holiday. It’s an inviting location for a honeymoon photo opportunity.

Caesars Palace is the long-standing epitome of Las Vegas luxury hotels. It holds the famous Forum Shops, Spago, an Imax theater, and a new shopping wing and tower. For those guests who want to relax and be pampered, this hotel offers the Spa at Caesars, Venus the Salon, and the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis.

Caesars also offers guests access to the exclusive Cascata Golf Club. It features mountain scenery, beautiful waterfalls and rivers, and panoramic views combined with challenging holes and velvety greens to produce a golfing experience unparalleled anywhere else in the world. No expense has been spared, from the opulent clubhouse and pro shop to the personal and attentive service personel. Cascata was named listed as #56 by Golfweek Magazine in its article “2004 America’s Best Top 100 Modern Courses”. Golfweek also listed Cascata as #2 in Nevada in their list of “America’s Best State-by-State Public Access Courses”. In addition to be being named in Golfweeks America’s Best Modern Courses, Gary Galyean at Golf Magazine named Cascata #19 in the “Top 45 Courses Since 1959″.

Luxor is a Nile-theme hotel which features a sphinx and a large pyramid which has become a Las Vegas landmark. The Pyramid has 2,256 rooms with 236 Spa suites, two in each corner of every floor. The rooms are reached by inclinating elevators which travel sideways at a 39-degree angle up 30 stories. The Luxor features a wide variety of restaurants and entertainment.

Mandalay Bay is a tropical-theme new resort offering visitors the chance to walk inside a plexiglass tunnel through the Shark Reef Aquarium, which holds sharks and rays. The hotel has a 30,000 square foot world-class Spa Mandalay and the 11 acre Mandalay Beach pool complex. The House of Blues music theatre has a seating capacity of approximately 1,800, and plays host to an eclectic mix of live music. The Mirage Hotel is has an exploding volcano and a 20,000 gallon aquarium the greet guests as they enter this luxury hotel. The large pool complex has a quarter mile of shoreline along two large pools and smaller lagoons, and features a grotto and waterslides. The 2.5-million-gallon Dolphin Habitat is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

The Mirage Hotel Tiger Habitat is the open-air home of Siegfried & Roy’s Royal White Tigers, available for viewing by the public during the day and evening. The tigers’ environment features a swimming pool with fountains and simulated mountain terrain. Unlike conventional tigers, which have black and gold markings, white tigers are white with black stripes, pink paws and ice-blue eyes.

Visitors can find French-themed shopping and dining at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. It has a replica of the Arc De Triomphe and a half-scale Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower Experience allows guests to ride 460 feet to the top to see a stunning, panoramic view of the valley. Paris is not the only European city recreated in miniature. The Venetian, renowned for its spacious and luxurious rooms, has gondolas in the midst of Las Vegas, as well as the Grand Canal Shoppes, a 500,000 square foot shopping plaza complete with cobblestone streets and beautiful traditional venetian style storefronts. The Grand Canal Shoppes host Streetmosphere, a cast of Carnivale street performers and opera singers.

For bargain hunters, the Rio hotel is not the newest or most elaborate building in town, but this all-suite Las Vegas hotel just off the Strip was rated No. 1 in value by Cond      

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