The CEO of a top travel app says the best boutique hotels all have the same 2 things in common, no matter what city they're in

Courtesy of Arlo HotelArlo Hotel in Soho is one of the many photographable hotel options featured on HotelTonight.
  • Sam Shank, the founder and CEO of HotelTonight, recently told Business Insider that the best boutiquehotels appeal to a sense of nostalgia.
  • Shank also said that New York City has the best collection of boutique hotels.
  • HotelTonight is an online travel company that allows users to book discounted, last-minute hotel rooms via its app or mobile site.

Booking a hotel room can be a tedious, confusing process – but it doesn’t have to be.

That’s part of the reason Sam Shank founded HotelTonight, an online travel company that allows users to book discounted, last-minute hotel rooms via its app or mobile site.

HotelTonight offers hotels across a range of price points; they classify their hotels as hip, luxe, basic, and solid. When it comes to trends in the luxury realm, Shank noted that it varies across cities – but one trend is clear.

“The best boutique hotels are appealing to people’s nostalgia,” Shank told Business Insider.

“Things like cookies and milk offered before bed, the pillow fight kit one hotel sells, games in the lobby,” he continued. “Hotels need to have things that are memorable and different.”


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Sam Shank HeadshotHotelTonightHotelTonight founder and CEO Sam Shank.

On top of that, Shank added, the hotels also have to be extremely photographable.

They need, he explained, “Amenities that are unique, buzzworthy, and Instagrammable.”

Business Insider’s Katie Warren recently toured Arlo House in Soho, NYC – one of many hotels available for booking on HotelTonight – and found the hotel to be full of such flourishes. The lobby, for example, has a candy shop and a bodega full of fresh, made-on-location offerings. The rooftop, meanwhile, offers yoga classes and a wall that’s seemingly made for Instagram and reads, “Every night should end with a story.”

As for which city holds the company’s best collection of boutique hotels, Shank was very clear.

“New York City,” he said, “hands down. The production value and the creativity in New York that gets reflected in the hotels is unparalleled.”

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