BLLA presented this Brief History of Boutique Hotels in the official Program Guide for the 2016 Boutique Hotel Investment Conference as part of the new BLLA Media Program. It is one of several articles in the Program Guide.  Written by John Sears, Boutique Hotel Advisors.


Hotels haven’t changed too much since Joseph and Mary arrived at the inn in Bethlehem and the clerk told them that their reservation had been lost. The hotel industry, of which started with boutique hotels, is closely linked to civilizations, periods, and nowadays, generations.



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The first wave of facilities that were offering guests accommodations are evident through biblical and medieval times. Enterprising Greeks developed thermal baths in villages designed for rest and recuperation. Not to be outdone, the imaginative Romans built mansions to provide accommodation for travelers going away for religious retreats. The creative Romans even expanded their hospitality and developed thermal baths in England, Switzerland and the Middle East. Around 1200, staging posts for travelers and stations for couriers were set up in China and Mongolia. Competition was fierce, and the competitive edge went to the enterprise that provided the best services and comfort for the guests as well as their guest’s horses.