Release Year: 2022
Cost: US $199.99 / DE €199.99 / UK £179.99 / AU $319.99
Pieces: 3066 (with seven minifigures)
Another year, another modular building! Modular #17, celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the theme is 10297 Boutique Hotel, and it’s a nice bookend set to the very first modular, 10182 Cafe Corner – a corner modular and a hotel too. It’s amazing to see just how far the techniques have come! This one is unique, with a standout shape and very interesting colour scheme, using light nougat throughout. This is usually a colour that’s reserved for minifigure skin tones, so it’s interesting to see it in use here.
There’s 20 numbered bags across 14 build stages inside the box, with a light bluish grey baseplate and the manual. While the angle of the building means for a smaller footprint, the addition to the little art gallery means not a lot of baseplate space is wasted, which is good. The seven minifigures in this set include:
- two hotel staff (a male and a female) – both dressed in the sand green uniforms and white gloves (with a very nicely executed luggage trolley);
- the art gallery owner – a simpler torso print but I love the glasses on the face;
- A coffee cart owner (I still love this torso and leg print combo)
- and three hotel guests – a businessman with a top hat and briefcase (supposedly an accountant to do the books for the art gallery); an older lady with a new suitcase and parasol for the upper class floor, and a backpacker for the budget accommodation. It’s a shame the backpack isn’t the nice version from the CMF series, but I do like the hair piece.
Let’s take a look floor by floor. As you build you’ll find little notes and references to previous modular buildings. Some are rathercursory, but others are really well worth looking into!
The ground floor features some stunning tiling and that diagonal wall. I love it when the designers flex their knowledge of LEGO geometry. It never ceases to amaze me! The first brilliant details come in the reception desk area, with the simple desk and fantastic key rack! On the flip side of the keys is the wall of the art gallery, complete with some very cool modern art pieces. There’s an abstract Picasso style piece on the back of the wall, plus an excellent Mondrian, and a printed tile art piece too (do I see a subtle Galidor nod there?). The best one is the old Creator Expert logo using six transparent headlight bricks! This is just great. There’s also a water fountain embedded in the stone stairs, which in and of itself is another great build using SNOT techniques.
The rest of the reception area includes another artwork of what I can only presume to be a sunset, a lovely wrought iron staircase and a couch. The outside wall is pretty simple, but I love the little planter boxes for a pop of colour. The stairs leading up to the bar outside have a noticeboard featuring a bunch of previous modular references – the chef from the Parisian Restaurant, the Pet Shop painter, the Green Grocer’s apple, the coffee from Cafe Corner, Ace Brickman and the barber shop from the Detective’s Office, boxing lessons at the Downtown Diner’s gym, and what I can only assume is the music store in the Assembly Square.
Moving upstairs we hit the flesh colour floor. It’s an interesting choice but it works! The angles are done with joined wedge plates with hinge plates underneath. The white pillars in the light nougat walls and dark red window frames is a fantastic colour choice. The wrought iron trims everywhere are stunning. Inside the first floor is the budget accommodation. There’s a couple of simple beds, a desk, desk lamp and typewriter (suspiciously familiar to another typewriter set) a couple of wardrobes and two different chairs. No bathroom though. The curse of the modulars strikes again?
On the outside, above the art gallery is a brilliant rooftop bar! The palm tree is extremely unique, although I’m not sure about the leaves. They look a bit too haphazard for me. The trunk is the crown jewel though! Sorry. I had to. The wrought iron gate here in particular, using a short flex hose just looks great.
The second floor is the fancier apartment, utilising white and sand green, one of my favourite colours. I did notice that the 1×6 white bricks in my set were quite discoloured, which is a shame. I really like this floor’s fit out too. An enormous bed dominates the floor space, with cupcake topped lamps either side (love this!) and a chocolate turndown service. There’s a big armchair and what I can only assume is a bottle of sparkling water or maybe even wine waiting nearby, and a large dresser. This dresser in particular uses the pneumatic t-bar and some reversible 1×3 tiles to incredible effect to make some drawers. It’s so clever! The big bath is also superb! It’s big enough for a minifigure to actually use. The curved top floor looks like it’s meant to be aged copper and it works so very well. The little balcony at the top is another clever build. The TV is another nod to a previous modular, as the movie star is from the Palace Cinema!
Lastly the roof is a bit more uninteresting aside from the big skylight, wrought iron fencing using snake heads and that stunning domed roof point. It’s so good and perfectly finishes off the build.
Anderson Ward Grubb, the designer for this set has done a great job for his first modular. I’m excited to see what’s next for him.
Overall, the build is definitely of the calibre we’d expect from a modular. I would have liked to see more detail in the ground floor area, and the obvious discoloration isn’t great, but the rest is superb. How are they going to top it next year? Time will tell!
A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.