September 29, 2011

South East Asia's Most Popular Independent & Boutique Hotels

From analysis of site activity at, Asia’s leading travel metasearch engine, the best independent and boutique hotels serve two groups of travellers. The first and by far the largest comprise internet-savvy Asians who travel frequently to the region’s capitals.

This group is heavily influenced by location and hotel reviews. Among the properties they look at are the Piccolo Hotel and Prince Hotel & Residences in Kuala Lumpur, Lebua at State Tower in Bangkok and Aryaduta in Jakarta which all compete well with the branded chains in these cities and are frequently in Wego’s top 20 in terms of the volume of selections on the site.

The second group of travellers holiday at the many resorts within the short-haul radius of Asia’s low cost carriers. There is more independent choice in these destinations, but boutique properties can be hard to spot online as they lack the powerful e-distribution of their international rivals. Fortunately, presents the inventory of over 130 travel suppliers, giving them much higher visibility resulting in judgements based mainly on aggregated consumer reviews, photos and price.

Regular searches in Wego include Sawasdee Village and Twinpalmsin Phuket, Silavadee Pool Spa Resort in Koh Samui, Febri’s Hotel and Spa, Abian Biu and White Rose in Bali as well as The Frangipani in Langkawi.

The most popular reflect the local culture and environment as increasingly travellers want an authentic destination experience, along with the comforts of luxury hotel brands.

“A lot of their appeal is tied into cultural identity, a degree of self-expression and a General Manager passionate about service,” said Craig Hewett, Chief Commercial Officer at Wego.

In Singapore, where a presence is considered of strategic importance to many European and American brands, The Fullerton Hotelin the old colonial building of the Post Office has an independent feel, like Raffles Hotel, and yet regularly ranks in Wego’s top five - taking on the Las Vegas style glamour of spectacular Marina Bay Sands.

“The independent and boutique hotels know exactly who they are marketing to. They’ve built a brand strategy, even if it doesn’t conform to a chain’s model and as we’ve seen at, they enjoy enviable success,” explained Hewett.

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