There is some overlap between the concept of a small boutique inn and a bed and breakfast. Boutique Inns are described as personalized, customized, unique, and individual, combining historic details with chic elegance. The most important defining features of boutique Inns are cultural, historical, authenticity; the boutique hotel is not part of a chain and that it provides interesting, unique services. Other important defining descriptors of boutique hotels include, “social spaces such as living rooms, libraries with social rooms” and “many, high-quality in‐room features”.
A "Boutique Inns" describes an approach and attitude, with no regard to hotel size. A Boutique hotel is a term that describes Inns that contain luxury facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Typically boutique hotels are furnished in a themed and stylish manner. Boutique Inns are often individual and focused on offering their services in a comfortable, intimate, and welcoming setting,
Guest rooms and suites may be fitted with telephone and Wi-Fi Internet, air-conditioning, honesty bars and cable TV, but sometimes none of these, focusing on quiet and comfort rather than gadgetry. Guest services are often attended to by 24 hour staff members. Many boutique hotels have on-site dining facilities, and offer bars and lounges that may also be open to the general public. Boutique Inns have typically been unique properties operated by individuals or companies with a small collection.
Travelers nowadays expect more than simple comfort and convenience. An increasing number of travelers prefer to be "surprised". When planning trips, they seek properties that are noticeably different in look and feel from branded hotels.