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Boutique Hotels in Newcastle

01.02.16

Boutique is an ambiguous word. For me, and I’m not quite sure why, it conjures something of Paris – but that is very vague. Something of luxury and exclusivity; something of decadence and the high life. But what is it? In my defence, the word is French. But, when we push harder, its locus isn’t exclusively Parisian – globalisation has meant that boutique has pervaded the world over.

Is boutique in the UK? Could boutique have even have arrived in Newcastle? Let’s be sure, here. There are fashion boutiques: their couture collections are sought-after and exorbitant; there are boutique jewellers where men study the brilliance of their stones, eroding their eyesight. There are boutique wineries where growers meticulously pluck the shapeliest grapes for their Champagne from their tiny estates.

But boutique Hotels? And in Newcastle? Certainly, the word is bound around. But how much of that is empty marketing collateral? When we plot the boutique’s coordinates, it offers something customised; specialising in one aspect of a larger industry. Could a boutique Hotel in Newcastle be part of the corporate-commercial machinery of a chain?

I think a boutique Hotel – in Newcastle or anywhere – would not be governed by ‘Head Office’. It would be a unique building, in a one-off setting and would offer something special and not contrived. Its special offering would be a top-down ideology of genuine, caring service of the highest standard. Its Restaurant would boast menus constructed from the finest, locally-sourced ingredients and wines procured from arcane vineries.

Despite any claims to the contrary, Jesmond Dene House is Newcastle’s only independently-owned, boutique Hotel.