Home Design Trends: The Boutique Hotel

Kelly Wearstler's work at the Viceroy Hotel, Miami. Blues are layered to oceanic depths.

Lately, as I've been plodding my way faithfully through HGTV's afternoon show round-up of real estate cum staging cum economic desperation, I've noticed a peculiar trend: the boutique hotel. In virtually every show, this phrase is ubiquitous. It costs $1,000, but it looks like a boutique hotel! We rented the furniture for this staging, and made it look like a boutique hotel! This strikes me as a rather odd choice of model. Most Americans have never stayed in anything like a real boutique hotel (this does not include bed and breakfasts, local hotels, quaint moldy inns, etc.). What most of us HAVE encountered is bland uniformity. I dearly love my Westin for its luxury bedding and faintly flowery scented soaps, but a paragon of originality it is not. I think what HGTV shows are really striving to convey to the unwashed masses is the sense of personalization, luxury, and SERVICE. Thus the hotel model. The newly decorated room (and accompanying plush-towel-scented-soap bathroom) are meant to give the impression of being cared for, ideally not by the owner. In an age without servants a hotel is really the last frontier of service without guilt. And gratified desire free of guilt really is the ultimate luxury.

Wearstler's work is true luxury; the attention to detail and complex palette are looks only a highly trained eye could create. Luckily, you don't need any special training to appreciate their beauty.

Form, color, pattern - nothing in this space is predictable. Yet, it's remarkably balanced. Spa interiors at the Viceroy by Philippe Starck.

A color saturated sitting area in a Wearstler room. 

So what do you think readers? What constitutes true luxury in your home?

All images, Kelly Wearstler and the Viceroy Hotel via the hotel and


ticklishfromadistance said...

Silence! And a good book.

Beth Connolly said...

My boutique hotel type luxuries in my home:
1. Seda France candles and diffusers
2. A beautiful and well stocked bar cart
3. Always a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator
4. Pink light bulbs
5. Wonderful sheets, goose down duvets, and goose down pillows
6. Cashmere throw blankets
7. Mohair throw blankets
8. Fresh flowers
9. My walk-in closet
10. Monogrammed towels

Averill said...

An excellent point -- quite honestly most of the homes HGTV decorates don't at all resemble a true boutique hotel (most of the ones I've stayed in are honestly a lot more originally designed, and several of them have been down right theme-y -- e.g., Night in NYC).

Luxury in the home for me is a lot like Beth's list: great bedding, plush towels, and gorgeous candles. Oh and some good books and magazines to read in a big soaker tub.

annechovie said...

A comfy bed, crisp linens, good candles and the place sparkling clean!

Ingrid Mida said...


Southern Aspirations said...

A beautiful bathroom
Crisp, yet soft, fabulous linens
Great floor covering (carpet or wood- as long as it is intentional and part of the whole ambiance)
Good lamps
Great lounge area/common area with good art.

Love seeing Wearstler's work.
PS- thanks for visiting my blog!

Sanity Fair said...

Beth, FABULOUS list. Maybe a post on how to luxe your home should be forthcoming on Style Redux!

Sanity Fair said...

Southern Aspirations - yes on the good art. That's the ultimate luxury!

Unknown said...

fine sheets, after a long hot bath, fluffy down comforter and a new design magazine -doesn't get better

Chrisy said...

The Starck Spa looks verrry inviting!

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Luxury for me is time without any plans, just plain hanging around and doing whatever hits my (our) fancy at the moment. Friday nights are usually like that around here.
Oh, and I really like that pic of the spa, now that is fun!

Porchlight Interiors said...

Beautiful post! I so need a week at the Viceroy - such a fabulous escape! Tracey xx

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