Boutique hotel is a term popularized in North America and the United Kingdom to describe hotels which have typically between 10 and 100 rooms, but can be as small as 2 rooms in a commercial setting (as opposed to rooms for rent in private residences), and often contain luxury facilities in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Boutique hotels began appearing in the 1980s in major cities like London, New York, and San Francisco. Typically boutique hotels are furnished in a themed, stylish and/or aspirational manner. Boutique hotels are often individual and focused on offering their services in a comfortable, intimate, and welcoming setting, so they are very unlikely to be found amongst the homogeneity of large hotels.
Guest rooms and suites may be fitted with telephone and Wi-Fi Internet, air-conditioning, honesty bars and often cable/pay TV but sometimes none of these, focusing on quiet and comfort rather than gadgetry. Guest services are often attended to by 24 h hotel staff. Many boutique hotels have on-site dining facilities, and the majority offer bars and lounges that may also be open to the general public.
Despite this definition, the popularity of the boutique term and concept has led to some confusion about the term. Boutique hotels have typically been unique properties operated by individuals or companies with a small collection. However, their successes have prompted multi-national hotel companies to try to establish their own brands in order to capture a market share. Notable example include Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide's W Hotels, ranging from large boutique hotels, such as the W Union Square NY, to the W 'boutique resorts' in the Maldives, Epoque Hotels and InnDependent Boutique Collection (IBC) Hotels in Africa, Asia, Australia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North America, South America and Middle East among many others.
There is some overlap between the concept of a small boutique hotel and a bed and breakfast.
In the United States, New York remains an important centre of the boutique hotel phenomenon, as the original Schrager-era boutique hotels remain relevant and are joined by scores of independent and small-chain competitors, mainly clustered about Midtown and downtown Manhattan.
The concept of boutique or design hotels has spread throughout the world, including European countries like Spain and East Asian countries such as Thailand, where many boutique or design hotels are sprouting, especially in resort locations, such as Phuket and Hua Hin. Other Far Eastern cities in which boutique and design hotels are becoming increasingly popular include Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Boutique hotels are even appearing in such places as Indonesia, mainland China, Iceland, Peru, and Turkey, demonstrating that the concept has penetrated beyond the typical design capitals of the world and is entering new markets.
Since a couple of years, hospitality industry is following the general "no-frill chic" consumer trend, with affordable or budget boutique hotels sprouting and thriving all around the world. 
There are two branches of Boutique Hotels: Boutique Hotels in city destinations, and Boutique Hotels in resort destinations. The Boutique Hotels in city destinations are not only visited because of their convenience, but also because of the city’s fashion. Therefore, the most common locations of the Boutique Hotels are London, New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles. Technology is an important attribute of a city Boutique Hotel. It could be technology used to emotionally connect the guest with the hotel, like music and light, or it could be technology for the guests’ convenience, such as computers with high-speed internet, cordless phones, DVD players, and flat-screen televisions.
Also, there are Boutique Hotels in resort destinations, which generally are located in hidden places, like islands or mountains. Unlike the ones in city destinations, technology is not strictly necessary in the resort destinations. Instead, exotic amenities are the core competence of the resort destinations. They commonly offer the absence of electronics, spas, yoga and/or painting classes, and connection to the environment, in order to promote their guest's comfort.
- "What Are Boutique Hotels - Written By: Karen Tina Harrison - About.com". Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- "The Boutique Hotel: Fad or Phenomenon". Retrieved 2007-04-24.
- Levenson, Eugenia (2007-11-12). "Road Warrior: Michelin Guide's Jean-Luc Naret". CNN. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
- "No-frills chic hits the hospitality industry". Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- "The Definition of Boutique Hotels - Written By: Lucienne Anhar - HVS International". Retrieved 2014-04-03.