Housing Complex

An Explanation for the Boutique Hotel Boom


The Peebles Corp. wants to build a hotel at the site of the old Stevens School.

A while back, I wrote about the proliferation of boutique hotels–both recently-opened and in the works–in Washington D.C. and drew up a list of all the new options flooding downtown with their sleek leather furniture and funky lighting (and annoying websites with intolerable ambient music).

At my latest count, there are eight–EIGHT!–sites to consider in the District. For the whole list, check below the jump.

National Public Radio has an explanation for this madness in a recent story. At one point before the recession, customers were willing to pay about $80 more to stay in these special hotels rather than generic chain places. Boutique brand managers just expect that one day, it will all turn around again.:

[Reed Woodworth, a hotel industry analyst for PKF Consulting] says investing in new locations during a downturn can keep customers loyal and interested. But it's risky.

"It's still pretty much the wisdom in the hospitality world that this is going to be a rather slow climb out of this hole," he says. "So while they are riding the upswing as it were, it still looks to be a very gradual upswing over the next few years."

That means it could be a long time before these hotels make money. After all, people have gotten used to paying low rates for high-end hotels.

There are several proposed hotels in the works:

Plus several new additions:

Image by Peebles Corporation