The Best Boutique Hotel Web Sites

What do the Ace, Gramercy Park, Grand, Morgans Group and Standard Hotels all have in common? Yes, they are trendy New York City hotel establishments, each with its own unique brand culture. We all know that. But what else?

Give up? All five hotel brands have implemented aggressive online strategies. And coincidentally, it seems that they all decided to do it back in 2010 with the official launch of their blogs.

Now that a year has passed, we decided it’s the perfect time to study the success of each brand’s online strategy based on how searchable, accessible and memorable their Web sites & blogs really are. How will we do this? By comparing the amount of online votes based on Google’s Pagerank and Yahoo links each Web site has achieved as well as relentlessly analyzing the overall design and content of each of the hotel brand’s official blogs.


The Ace Hotel received an overall Pagerank of 6. In Google language, that’s huge. On a scale of 1-10, having a score of 6 means that their Web site contains a lot links (votes) from very respectable sources. Yahoo measured a total of  8,557 incoming links to their site. What we can assume from these numbers is that the Ace Hotel has an extremely authoritative presence online.

The overall design of their blog is rather simple and focused. For the most part, their content is easy to read and easy to follow. Unlike most branded blogs, The Ace Hotel seemed to have developed a very authentic voice, with cohesive imagery of people, places and objects and complimentary topics that speaks clearly to a specific audience.


The Gramercy Park Hotel scored lower than The Ace, with a 5 Pagerank and almost 3K worth of incoming links. But don’t knock them just yet. Scoring a 5 is not a bad thing. This indicates The Gramercy Hotel has acquired many links from respectable sources. Though not as authoritative as The Ace, Google still considers it a trusted site.

In terms of its blog worthiness, we found Gramercy Park Hotel’s to be the most organized and easy on the eyes. With clearly marked categories on the right side and standard vertical entries, reading was a piece of cake. The only drawback we found was that their content was somewhat all over the place.


Like the Gramercy Park, Grand Hotels scored a Google Pagerank of 5. But what it lacks in rank, it makes up in links, acquiring over 14,595 incoming links via Yahoo. So…what’s up with these lopsided numbers? What we can assess is that The Grand Hotels’ Web site conducts itself similar to a major online publisher. This means that as much as they are gaining votes from other sites, they are losing votes by giving up outgoing links from their stories – thus decreasing their Pagerank potential.

As far as their Web site/blog  is concerned, we recently tweeted that their branded blog was by far the best in terms of content and execution. The overall look, format, navigation and stories speak editorial…good editorial. Congrats!


Next up is Morgans Hotel Group. We love Morgans because they remain an innovative force in hospitality through out all these years…and they continue to be. They scored a Pagerank of 6 even with only 117 incoming links to their Web site. Puzzled? It just means that those 117 incoming links are from tremendously respectable sources.

So how does their blog compare to the rest? Well, if you want to talk about being “ahead of the curve,” their blog is just that. Instead of the usual blog formats we’re used to seeing on corporate sites, Morgans opted to go Tumblr – using a microblogging format popular amongst teens, hipsters, artists and the like. Their content is a mish-mash of artsy imagery and videos with very little copy. Though we found it nearly impossible to find information or even focus on the content, we feel Morgans deserves a nice pat on the back for their creative vision.


It’s no surprise that The Standard Hotel Web site received a Pagerank of 6, since owner and celebrity hotelier Andre Balazs generates a lot of buzz for the brand both online and off. Interestingly enough, it’s the celebrity obsessed and voyeuristic quality of his followers that makes The Standard  brand remarkable. On the site’s landing page, we were drawn to four surveillance-type videos that peer inside intriguing moments at all four hotel locations. We found ourselves captivated.

But the captivation does not stop there. While assessing the blog, we found that though it was rather busy at first, our eyes slowly began to relax and understand the method to their madness. Interesting additions such as the “Meet Our Guests” videos and the “Gallery” images kept our curiosity intact and and kept us wanting to spy a little more. What this says to us is that The Standard Hotel totally lives up to its reputation as a place we can all clamor to be amongst the cool set. Well done.

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