hotel-brextonWith most of the major hotel chains out there offering rewards programs, sticking to the “big boys” might look attractive but before you book your next stay here are a few things to know about the little guy.

First off what is a boutique hotel? According to a quick on-line search, a boutique hotel is often a luxury facility, of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. What does that really tell us about why we should book our family trip at one of these properties? Not much.

Ah, but there are nearly endless reasons out there. Take, for instance, Baltimore’s Hotel Brexton. On a recent visit to Charm City I chose to forgo my usual -points building- property and stay at this historic little gem nestled in the city’s Mt. Vernon cultural district. Only blocks from the inner harbor (a quick drive or cab ride, I wouldn’t suggest walking) this hotel lands on the Historical Registry.

wallaceStaying at a historical location can be a great teaching moment for the kids. In the case of The Brexton, its most famous resident moved in with her mother and widowed “Aunt Bessie” Merryman in 1905. Bessie Wallis Warfield (later Simpson), who would later go on to marry the man who wouldn’t be king when Edward VIII abdicated his throne for her, was only nine years old when she and her mother moved into the Brexton. Using the hotel history, (indulging my Colin Firth adore) and combining that with a screening of The King’s Speech added a great dimension to the stay.

The Brexton -like many boutique hotels- offers up eclectic decor, unique settings, personal service, that often far exceeds the service of a larger property. It’s really simple math when you get down to it. Fewer rooms equal less guests, translates into a more one-on-one experience. From an afternoon wine reception to locations in neighborhoods rather than tourist zones, to offering real insider info on where to find the best-of-the-best in those neighborhoods, hotels like The Brexton make it a point to go over the top in order to compete with the big boys, and succeeded on every level.

Being smaller, boutique hotels also tend to go out of their way to be family-friendly. Often add ons like roll-aways, are included free of charge. Special accommodations are happily made. What’s more family-friendly than a part-time pet waiting in your room? Kimpton properties -a chain of boutique hotels- offer the option of having a goldfish ready to greet you when you get to your room.

Boutique hotels generally also come with one other luxury; a smaller price tag than high-end hotel chains. Often falling between the high-end and medium level hotels, yet providing an intimate and often as luxurious stay as big ticket properties, boutique hotels are a great deal in so many ways.