Published June 14, 2012
Ever regret the amount of money you spent on a hotel room when it came time to check out? By their very definition, hotel rooms are fleeting pleasures, so overspending on them is to be discouraged in these troubling economic times. The comforting news is that there are a number of properties in cities around the country that offer excellent value and amenities for the financially challenged traveler. Our Top 10 list takes a look at the very best — from a classic hotel on the East Coast to hip digs on the West Coast. Click here to read complete reviews for each top 10 value hotel.
Ayres Hotel Anaheim
Anaheim has more than its share of budget hotels for families visiting Disneyland and business types attending conventions. Sadly, most offer somewhat generic fare. Because of this, Ayres Hotel Anaheim stands out. Deliberately done up in classic European décor, it features ivy, gas lanterns and a lobby with marble floors, oil paintings and a fireplace for chilly SoCal nights. Rooms and suites pair luxuries such as hand-crafted wooden beds and velvet drapes with practical niceties like flat-screen TVs, fridges and microwaves.
Free perks add to the already good value: Wi-Fi, deluxe hot breakfast, evening reception and guest parking. There are meeting rooms, a pool and a fitness center on-site. Guests can walk to the Honda Center, Angel Stadium and The Grove of Anaheim, and Disneyland can be reached directly from the hotel via the Anaheim Resort Transit.
Los Angeles, California
BLVD Hotel & Spa
Sure, "the Valley" is the butt of many an L.A. joke. But it's also quietly developing its own cachet, as well as a small but notable collection of stylish hotels. Among them, BLVD Hotel & Spa is a steal of a deal. With room rates starting at roadside motel prices, this place offers surprising luxury.
The décor leans toward retro and is done in cozy shades of blue and brown. And although the property is a small one, it boasts a swimming pool, spa, café and bar serving drinks named after famous Los Angeles boulevards. Better yet, you can walk to Universal Studios, and although the beach is a bit of a haul, you're well-located for visiting Hollywood attractions and the many new boutiques, galleries and restaurants downtown. To get the most value out of this place, book a room with a view of the mountains — one of the perks of staying in this part of town. Click here to read a complete hotel review of BLVD Hotel & Spa.
The Meritage Resort at Napa
This wine country resort offers everything one could hope for from a Napa property, and then some, including wine caves that house a full-service spa and (in a separate area) a wedding chapel. Guest rooms feature gorgeous vineyard views, and executive suites have full gourmet kitchens for intimate entertaining. But if you'd prefer to have the pros cater to you, Siena restaurant serves "Napa Terroir-influenced" dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.
For recreation, guests can enjoy a wealth of activities right on the grounds, from swimming, bowling and bocce ball to vineyard hiking and lounging around the outdoor fireplaces. Best of all is access to on-site Trinitas Cellars Tasting Room, which offers wine tastings in its atmospheric Estate Cave.
Hotel St. Augustine
South Beach has long attracted the jet set, but it's not necessary to spend big bucks to mingle with the pretty people here. The restored, Art Deco-style Hotel St. Augustine is one of the area's best-kept secrets among locals and frequent visitors alike. The 24 loft-style guest rooms are done up with white décor, designed to create the serene atmosphere of a spa. Each comes with Wi-Fi, maple wood furniture and spacious bathrooms with spa cabins featuring steam and water massage systems. For added value, check the hotel's website for online specials and last minute deals. All rates include a generous complimentary breakfast.
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Boston - Downtown
In a superb Theater District location in downtown Boston, this hotel was influenced by its neighboring Asian communities and designed using feng shui principles. The guest rooms are fairly standard in style, but they're well-stocked with two phones, Wi-Fi, on-command movies, coffee makers, wet bars and more. In addition, guests enjoy complimentary access to the YMCA health club next door, which features an Olympic-size pool and weight rooms. Numerous business and meeting services are available, and house restaurant Wisteria serves casual French-Asian cuisine. There is also a Starbucks on-site.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Element Las Vegas
When the Commander-in-Chief came to Las Vegas to give a speech on energy policy, President Obama and his entourage took up the entire second floor of this hotel. Fifteen minutes from the madness of the Strip, it features more than just eco-friendly design and an electric vehicle charging station. Prices are low, and the stylish, natural light-filled guest rooms and suites come with kitchenettes or full kitchens. Freebies include wired and wireless high-speed Internet, Rise breakfast bar (muffins, fruit, signature sandwiches and more) and an evening food and beverage reception. There's even an intimate pool area, offering a pleasant alternative to the megaresort scene.
New York, New York
We have been fans of this lovely hotel for years. The rates and location lured us in. The warm, personable service keeps us coming back. The hotel strives to find ways to benefit its guests, our favorite being the loyalty program. Simply referring friends to the hotel earns you meals and free stays — after just five referrals you can even enjoy a two-night getaway on the house. And referred guests are invited to trade in their business cards for complimentary bottles of wine.
The accommodations have been jazzed up since our first visit, in a style that has the same restrained, classic appeal as the surrounding Upper West Side neighborhood. As for what you can easily walk to from here, Central Park, the Museum of Natural History and the iconic Zabar's deli are just a few blocks away. Click here to read a complete hotel review of Hotel Belleclaire.
The Magnolia Hotel
For travelers who need help finding their way, this hotel serves as a beacon — literally! It's located within one of the city's most recognized buildings, on top of which soars "Pegasus the Flying Red Horse," whose neon outline lights up the night sky. Southern hospitality sets a gracious tone at this property, where freebies include a breakfast buffet, cookies and milk buffet, and evening reception with beer and wine.
Among the accommodations, the historic rooms are the most desirable, showcasing wood floors, marble and original doors with glass transoms. The hotel has a 24-hour fitness center and popular lounge, complete with a bar and billiards room. Numerous attractions within walking distance include the flagship Neiman Marcus store, just around the corner.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City Marriott City Center
Situated in the heart of downtown, the Salt Lake City Marriott City Center is ideal for both business and leisure travelers, with a location close to the convention center and attractions such as Temple Square. It also makes a great urban base for sporty types taking day trips to area ski resorts. Perks include complimentary Internet access, as well as a fitness center and indoor pool with expansive views over the city. The attractive rooms come with marble bathrooms, flat-screen TVs and large, well-lit work desks.
For extra value, concierge level accommodations offer access to a lounge serving complimentary continental breakfast and evening cocktails with hors d'oeuvres during the week. La Bella Piastra restaurant and 15,000 thousand square feet of event space round out the hotel's facilities.
A stay at the Hotel Lombardy means that you can enjoy your very own Pennsylvania Avenue address, where quality service and refined style do the White House-adjacent location proud. Within walking distance of the Lincoln Memorial, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the World Bank, this property offers traditionally styled accommodations in a historic 1920s-era building.
Along with imported fabrics, Oriental wool rugs and stainless-steel wet bar/dining areas, the uniquely decorated guest rooms and suites feature complimentary high-speed Internet access and spacious work desks. The house bistro, Café Lombardy, overlooks James Monroe Park. Additional perks include a cardio room and free passes to the seasonal pool at nearby Washington Plaza Hotel.
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