• Denny Kurien

Coming up with a name for a boutique hotel

Updated: Jun 7

Many boutique hoteliers underestimate the power of a good name. A good hotel name should align with it's values, be easily recognized, descriptive, and tingle the imagination of their hotel guests. The most boring thing they can do is name the hotel after the location that it's situated in. Like Sutton Hotel in the city of Sutton. Or maybe it's an ego-play, where they name the property to honor the legacy of their family, like "The George". The problem is that neither of these two naming methods appeals to the way a prospective hotel guest would perceive it. I would argue that picking the "right" name is something that should not be taken lightly, and requires a considerable amount of thought to be put in.

When Marriott Tribute Portfolio came to us wanting to brand a new boutique hotel that would be coming up in the city of Vaughan (just north of Toronto) - we started with first figuring out who are the kind of guests who would stay at this new hotel (that has yet to be built). What are their aspirations & goals, and what would make them want to stay at this hotel as opposed to all the other hotels in the city.

Understanding the owner of the hotel.

It all started when local Canadian entrepreneur, Carlo Parentela, who runs a wedding & banquet event venue in Vaughan, called Chateau Le Jardin with the need to accommodate his guests.

He wanted to create a dynamic meeting place where life is celebrated to the fullest. He partnered with Marriott Hotels to increase exposure and use their state-of-the-art global booking system. Marriott has strict global requirements that new hotels in its system must adhere to. We were called in as the hospitality branding consultants to develop the brand for the hotel: everything from researching the area, identifying who the customers were, and coming up with the name, logo, and visual identity for the new hotel brand.

Understanding our target audience.

The target audience for the hotel fell into four groups:

  1. Celebrants and guests of weddings and events at Chateau Le Jardin. The hotel is an extension of their celebration, a place where the party starts in style and ends in joyous revelry.

  2. Travelers visiting Vaughan for work or business. The hotel is a place in the region where they can find new and exciting experiences that mark a job well done and enhance their trip.

  3. Friends and family visiting relatives in the Vaughan region. The hotel is where they can enjoy world-class hospitality in a stylish and intriguing environment.

  4. The people living in Vaughan. The hotel is where they go to feel part of a larger community of interesting, accomplished people celebrating occasions big and small.

Figuring out the Brand Personality

We discovered through our Brand Strategy Session, that if the new hotel were a person, it would be the kind of friend you just loved being around. The kind who finds the good in everyone and is forever looking to enrich others by connecting them to those around them. This person would be magnetic, fun, and forever up for anything, exhibiting the kind of zest for life that infectiously picks up the spirits of any room.

We discovered that the importance of the hotel would transcend its physical space and serve as a symbol of the city of Vaughan itself. Since the hotel would be closely associated as a wedding & banquet venue, the act of which itself is a celebration of life, we created the brand positioning: “Where Celebration Comes to Life.” We wanted to remind customers who stay at the hotel that everything in life can be a celebration.

Coming up with names for the hotel

All the names we came up with had to meet the brand personality of fun, upbeat, dynamic, and active. We also showed the client some early color palettes & mood boards that evoked the names we were suggesting:

The Vaunt: Iconic / Bold / Lots of Attitude

Reminiscent of the name “Vaughan,” (pronounced "Von") it also means to give high praise or to boast about accomplishments. A name that works two-fold: as celebrations are always an occasion to highlight achievements, but the hotel itself is something to be vaunted about.

The Lumin: Notable / Attractive / Optimistic

Lumin is how light is measured. It’s bright, optimistic and a celebration of life. It reminds us of the word “luminaries,” which are celebrities and distinguished people who can captivate an audience with great stories and insights, many of whom we imagine will stay at the hotel.

The Revel: Cool / Chic / Offbeat

Revel means to take great delight in something or indulge in boisterous activities. It speaks to the emotional feeling of celebrations and makes the hotel a place where you can revel in good company, revel in the moment, and revel in life.

Hotel Vie: Distinguished / Hip / Local

Vie means life in French. An appropriate name, as the very best parts of life seem to happen at this hotel. From weddings, to trips of wanderlust, to business ventures, the hotel welcomes all those who are determined to make sure every experience in their life is not only memorable, but extravagantly exceptional.

The Client Chose “Hotel Vie”

The main reason being that it was a French word, which not only brought the brand strategy to life, no pun intended, but it would also work quite nicely with some of their existing properties: Chateau Le Jardin, their event venue, Marché, the restaurant & marketplace, and Après Noir, a charitable event series that brought high profile celebrities like Jennifer Hudson and Drake to perform at their venue.

You can read here how we came up with the logo design for the hotel.

Key Take-Aways

For hoteliers looking to come up with the perfect name for their hotel, follow these easy steps:

  • Be Elaborate: One thing many people look out for is the grandness of such boutique hotels and such begins with a name. While being elaborate, it doesn’t mean the name should be complex or too long. A boutique hotel like "Hotel Vie" is a great example. "Vie" is French for "Life", and the logo is that of an elaborated "V" that is graphically brought to life with embellishments and opulent filigree. This is definitely not your regular Holiday Inn.

  • Be Descriptive: Some hotels are chosen solely because the name comes with some form of description, making it easy for many people to know what they are getting into. Like "The Revel" which is associated with revelry, and you know that the guests who would stay at such a hotel enjoys good time with good company.

  • Be easily Recognized: Your hotel should have a name that is easily recognized, and rolls off the tongue. Perhaps a name people associate with something else. Think of a hotel called "The Vaunt" (something that is showy and exuberant) and that too in the City of Vaughan (pronounced "Von").

  • Align the name with it's Brand’s Values: You can come up with a name that spells out what values or principles your brand holds. When people see or hear such names, they will be more willing to associate with the brand or patronize such brand. Hotel Vie would be the perfect place for wedding guests to stay when they are coming from out of town. Weddings & banquets - the act of which itself is a celebration of life, and therefore we were able to tie the name with the overall brand values.

Hi, I'm Denny Kurien. I'm the Creative Director & Co-Founder of Rayvn Design, a branding & design consultancy in Toronto. Our primary clients are real-estate developers and boutique hotels looking to attract prospective buyers & investors to their property before it's built.

We do everything from coming up with the name of your property, to logo design, website design & development, architectural 3D renderings, all the way to designing the brochure, construction hoardings, and social media content for your upcoming properties.

If you would like to work with me and my team, then please schedule a 15 minute zoom consultation or shoot me an email at and we can chat about your upcoming property, and it's rapid path to market.

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