‘Boutique hotel’ must be up there as one of the most overused and misused terms. At Smith, not only do we adore genuine boutique hotels, but we love special stays that have their own wow-factor. In this article for the Independent newspaper, we rather summed it up.

How do we define what makes a boutique hotel or a Smith hotel? Here are the questions members of our team ask themselves when visiting hotels for the first time:

No forms, no rules, no stars, no diamonds – I want to figure out the qualities that really matter when choosing the perfect boutique hotel for two…

As you arrive, is the scene high on wow-factor?
Is the setting sensational?
Does the receptionist treat me like an old friend?
What makes the interiors imaginative?
Are any views remarkable?
Why are those flowers not fresher?
Is there a nothing’s-too-much-trouble attitude?
Would they fix me a bite to eat if I arrived out of hours?
Is there a sign pointing to conference facilities?
How long would I be happy to stay in my suite?
Are the sheets soft-to-the-touch and super-high threadcount?
Can the lighting or temperature be controlled in every bedroom?
Is the bathroom brimming with above-average products?
Will that shower really drench me?
Could you fit two in that tub?
I want a minibar full of surprises – will that just be the prices?
Can I have a full cooked-to-perfection breakfast in bed?
Are the walls thick enough to drown out my neighbours’ antics?
Is the cocktail lounge buzzing with guests and locals?
Are there too many suited-and-booted businessfolk?
Will my glass of white wine be chilled to perfection?
Can the barman mix me a perfect martini?
Am I going to be in trouble if I check out a bit late?
What table’s best for a candlelit dinner?
Could you call this hotel a destination in its own right?
Does it have that magical ambience that’s so hard to put into words?
And, most importantly… will Mr or Mrs Smith like it?