Within the space of a few months, at least three boutique hotels?generally defined as having fewer than 100 rooms and a hip d?cor concept?have opened their doors. The 30-room Mansion Hotel is a renovated French-style manor with private-club d?cor, evoking the swinging Shanghai of the 1920s. M Suites has a sleeker, more contemporary feel, and JIA Shanghai provides home-style luxury incorporating signature furniture pieces.

"It's a very niche market, but it's growing tremendously," says Yenn Wong, the owner of JIA Boutique Hotels, which opened Hong Kong's first boutique hotel in 2004 and is now planning its third in Beijing. "For these travelers, it's no longer about just having a comfortable hotel room. They're more in tune with the beautiful things in life."

Boutique hotels typically attract an Internet-savvy, younger crowd of working professionals. They have little need or desire for the posh features a five-star hotel typically offers, like a large business center or sumptuous dining. What matters most to them is location?being in the coolest neighborhood?and the little touches, from gourmet chocolate on the side table to organic juice in the fridge.

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