Merriam-Webster’s defines boutique primarily as
“a small fashionable shop,” and in a sense, that’s what a boutique
hotel is. Only, the goods being sold here are intimate, personal
service, distinctive and idiosyncratic decor, and the opportunity
for a group to take over the entire property.
Here is a roundup of boutique chains and consortiums with new
offerings to tempt planners who are ready to think small.
Associated Luxury Hotels’
Watermark Hotel & Spa, San Antonio
Associated Luxury Hotels
Founded 18 years ago, Associated Luxury Hotels International is
a sales and marketing umbrella organization for a remarkably
diversified portfolio of more than 70 upscale properties ranging in
six to 4,000 rooms in North America, Bermuda, the Caribbean and
A full-time sales force of 20, dedicated to meetings business,
operates out of offices in Atlanta; Boston; New York City; Orlando;
Washington, D.C.; and Irvine, Calif. Most ALHI hotels are
independently owned, with the significant exception of Loews
Hotels, added in 2003. “We see Loews as a unique, emerging brand in
the North American meetings market, and a good fit for us,” says
David Gabri, ALHI president and CEO.
Also new in 2003 was the launch of Elite Retreat Buyout, a
program that offers planners a full buyout at 15 properties of
anywhere from six to 250 rooms.
“We began seeing more corporations asking to take over our
smaller hotels for private strategic meetings,” says Gabri. “By
identifying hotels that meet the same criteria, we can better help
planners match their meetings to the right venue.”
Properties in the buyout program include the 99-room Watermark
Hotel & Spa in San Antonio and the 48-suite Spa at Doral in
Miami, the latter a self-contained resort within the Doral Golf
Resort and Spa.
ALHI’s website includes a list of individual hotels with links
to their sites. There also are forms for submitting requests for
proposal, plus “Luxury on Sale,” a revolving list of value dates
for groups at various properties.
Every year ALHI publishes A Guide to Meetings in North America, a
directory of its portfolio. Available at no charge through the
group sales toll-free number, the guide features a three-page
listing for each property, including hotel facilities, amenities
and meeting space.