I started my Architectural career in Charlotte in 1979. The company that I worked for designed many project types, including hotels. “Hotels” were just hotels: a place to spend the night, have a meal, have a meeting, take a dip in the pool and have a drink at the bar.
In the mid-1980’s, the hotel evolution started to explore specialized hotel concepts, with limited service “business hotels”, “transient hotels”, “extended stay hotels”, “resort hotels”, etc. Today, every hotel corporation has approximately 20 brands that all cater to different lifestyles. The large hotel corporations have started to develop “soft brands” that provide a boutique quality experience without blatantly advertising which corporation owns the hotel.
ODA Architecture has experienced a rise in popularity of independent boutique hotels. These hotels are primarily planned in downtown locations in small towns and large cities. They often provide fewer amenities, but offer personalized service and unique accommodations in the middle of the town’s center of activity.
Boutique hotels are designed with the town’s unique culture and “story” in mind and contribute to the town becoming a unique destination. These boutique hotels, are often new construction, but there is a current trend to renovate historic hotels or repurpose other buildings into a boutique hotel. Repurposing provides many benefits and is environmentally friendly.
ODA Architecture has converted office buildings, retail buildings, mills, and elementary schools into boutique hotels. We even designed a hotel in a 100 year old textile boiler plant. These conversions require tremendous creativity, research, and insight and can qualify for Historic Tax Credits which will help the project financially. ODA’s expertise includes working with the developer to qualify and receive these tax credits.
The large, branded hotels will always thrive. Younger generations enjoy traveling and seeking unique experiences with their hotel stay. This trend will boost the local boutique hotel business. It has been refreshing to experience the return to the smaller entrepreneurial boutique hotels. What are your thoughts on this emerging trend?
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