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West Elm to Open Boutique Hotels

Furniture seller West Elm is getting into the boutique hotel business

Partnering with hospitality management and development company DDK, the retailer (which is part of Williams-Sonoma) will design, furnish, and market two hotels—one in Detroit, the other in Savannah—expected to open in 2018. 

West Elm, which has experienced a lot of growth in recent years, sees the hotel project as a way of expanding further without simply adding more stores. 

Experts say it's a good time to open a boutique hotel. Many travelers now prefer unique experiences instead of the standardization associated with chains, yet boutique hotel rooms still account for only 2% of available units, according to figures reported by the Wall Street Journal. Other non-hospitality companies planning hotels include Restoration Hardware and Equinox fitness clubs.  

Rooms at West Elm properties will feature custom furniture as well as items from local artists and craftsmen. Three other locations are in the works: in Charlotte, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis. 

Rates start at around $175 per night—and yes, if you like the furnishings in your room, you can buy them through an app or West Elm's website.