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My Boutique Hotel Xavier Bentès and the redesigned My Boutique Hotel website

Beyond the everyday

VOLANTE Travel editor Stanley Moss meets Xavier Bentès, the creator of My Boutique Hotel, which offers travellers a more personalized, curated experience on choosing stylish accommodation around the world
Photographed by Paula Sweet




Stanley Moss is travel editor of Lucire.

Thanks to websites like TripAdvisor, the process of choosing a hotel has been reduced to jockeying the algorithms and hoping for the best result. It’s a bit like a casino. There are few reliable guarantees that you won’t be commodified at the expense of locating an outstanding place to stay. Many new and renovated properties are coming online, making the process of selection even more complicated., a real alternative to the big dogs, can definitely be of help, in both selection and time-saving. They list B&Bs, hotels, apartments and villas and can assist in small meeting planning.

Created 13 years ago, the site has a particular mindset. It’s designed to help people not ready to accept the first recommendation from a monolithic booking engine. The brainchild of founder Xavier Bentès, MBH today lists over 3,000 boutique properties and B&Bs in 55 countries, rated five-star through mid-market, emphasizing design with a contemporary twist, service and style.

Mr Bentès insists MBH is not a directory. He’s passionate about new ideas and concepts. He looks for timeless qualities and exceptional properties, and feels that real value resides in the middle-market. He loves three-stars and up, and prefers to deal with private owners, not always those from the hotel business. He likes places that are more urban than country. And he wants to help people make quick, informed decisions. has just relaunched their website. You will find it uncluttered and easy to use, an escape from the loud and chaotic marketing-driven alternative. You can also sign up for an insider link called Our Favourites, a privately curated section not seen by all visitors, available only after giving your contact address. If you’re looking for that perfect smaller-scale executive meeting or luxury retreat for 10–40, the site can help.

Xavier Bentès says there’s nothing new in the luxury market. Boutique properties are being co-opted by the big chains, who want to own specific segments. He’s trying to go beyond the normal. ‘You definitely deserve more than the pool, the brand, the restaurant,’ he says. ‘We search for the exceptional and the timeless—it’s definitely out there to be found.’ And what about TripAdvisor? ‘I use it on the road for restaurant recommendations,’ he says. •





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