by Alan Campbell, Featured Contributor
THE BOUTIQUE hotels are coming to Las Vegas, well sort of. The Artesian hotel bills itself as a boutique hotel, as far as I am concerned it falls way short of that image. (There is no accounting for taste) The Old Sahara hotel will open as a SLS luxury hotel, as far as a calling itself a boutique hotel it will never happen. You can’t have a thousand rooms and provide the boutique experience. It becomes very difficult to provide personal service when you have a mega property. Many years ago in Las Vegas the Desert Inn hotel tried to established itself as a luxury property, well it did not succeed due to, lack of training, and when you add a casino, customer service has a tendency to take a back seat.
Of course that was then, now some casino hotels do have excellent service, and have won the battle for the 4 star category: However boutique hotels are a different concept all together. I have been in them and have advised as to the criteria of what it should be. The Cromwell Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is the newest attempt at calling itself a boutique hotel. First mistake is having a casino, this opens the door to the flip flops that walk by every day. Boutique hotels have a certain clientele and flip flops is not one of them. The biggest mistake of all is offering rooms at a discounted rate when occupancy is low.
The hotel looks nice in the pictures, I just can’t see the boutique crowd lasting long at this property. Because it is a new property people will probably come, if nothing else just to see what it is like. Want to know what a boutique hotel should be, just stay at a Kimpton property. Try The Hotel George Washington D.C.
For those who do not travel the boutique way, you are missing a very neat and wonderful experience, you should try it you will be amazed at the level of service, and ambiance that will leave a lasting memory. I hope the Cromwell can pull it off, the item that draws the boutique crowd is the selectiveness of the brand, having an open casino defeats this purpose. The Del Amo hotel is also scheduled to open in Las Vegas later on: however they won’t have a casino, hats off to them. Don’t get me wrong there are boutique hotels that do offer special incentives, and packages for their guest. By the way some web sites still show the hotel as “Bills Gambling Saloon”. To add insult to injury rooms start at 58.00, but then when you scroll down you see the actual 3 figure price. Someone is not paying attention people.
There is a difference between boutique style property, and an actual boutique hotel. Of course as always these are just my opinions, and I shall visit the hotel when it opens and will follow up to see if it is indeed a boutique hotel.