Affordable European Hotels
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Affordable European Hotels

Lisa Lunder A room at the B&B Bulgravia, in London
The euro may be falling, but not fast enough. So we've done the work for you: T+L scoured 27 cities from Amsterdam to Athens and uncovered 30 modern hotels for under $250 a night where you don't have to forsake style for savings.

At the 16th-century Hotel König von Ungarn (10 Schulerstrasse; 43-1/515-840;; breakfast
), just a short walk from St. Stephen's
Cathedral, gilded mirrors, boldly graphic wallpaper, and
chandeliers ensure that no two rooms are alike. Sip coffee
in the glass-­covered courtyard atrium, steps away from
where Mozart composed The Marriage of Figaro, or try
a sekt (traditional sparkling wine) at the bar.

The two charcoal-colored town houses of the Hotel
(24 Korte Nieuw­straat; 32-3/229-0600;; breakfast included
) are
surrounded by 17th-­century churches, gabled mansions,
and cobblestoned alleys. The pared-down interiors combine
blond wood surfaces with whitewashed furniture and handmade
white porcelain vases. Orchids are everywhere. Freshly
brewed coffee and Belgian chocolates are available around
the clock in the library, which is filled with stacks of
international magazines and art books.

Most of the city's upscale hotels are impersonal, catering
to a business crowd. Not the Maximilian (14
Haštalská; 420-2/2530-3118;; breakfast included
), a welcoming spot
near the Old Town Square. For a recent revamp, Czech-born
and London-based Eva Jiricna (of Hotel Josef fame) ditched
the former cookie-cutter look in favor of light, geometric
designs. The compact rooms have imposing dark-wood
headboards that reach to the ceiling, and Philippe Starck
bathroom fixtures. The on-site spa specializes in Thai
massage, a first for Prague.

To launch its latest car, Volkswagen commissioned 21
international graphic designers, graffiti artists, and
illustrators from São Paulo to Hokkaido to renovate
the 61-room Hotel Fox (3 Jarmers Plads;
), where the wildly
fantastic décor is the draw. Brisbane-based design
group Rinzen created the Sleep Seasons room (a brown
pitched tent surrounded by a forest mural), and
Friendswithyou, from Miami, covered the Harmony's Helm room
with 25,000 powder-blue and canary-yellow mosaic tiles.

Right next to Town Hall—and close to the train
station, Tivoli Gardens, and the Strøget
shops—the Square (14 Rådhuspladsen;
) is emphatically
unsquare, with scarlet Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs in the
lobby and striking black-and-white photographs lining the
halls. As at many Scandinavian hotels, the feather
duvet–topped beds are dressed in plain white linens.
The sunny top-floor restaurant is open only for breakfast,
a smorgasbord of hearty breads and cheeses. For dinner,
don't miss the herring or the roast pork and cabbage at
nearby Det Lille Apotek.

In the middle of a grand sweep of wedding cake–style
buildings known as the Regency Mile, the discreet sign for
Drakes (43–44 Marine Parade;
) is easy to
miss. But behind their scarlet lacquered door is a
diminutive 20-room inn filled with objets d'art. Splurge on
one of the balconied suites with a freestanding tub
overlooking the sea. The Gingerman—a modern British
restaurant, which opened a year ago—has already
become a local favorite.

Too often, bed-and-breakfast implies dingy paint and
graying curtains. Enter Penny Brown, Colette Huck, and
Lynne Reid, the owners of the 17-room B&B
(64–66 Ebury St.; 44-207/259-8570;; breakfast included
), who have 40
years of hotel experience between them. The trio went high
style, gutting a Victorian town house in one of the city's
most exclusive neighborhoods. Now, orange pansies brighten
the entrance, an Ingo Maurer chandelier hangs in the foyer,
and a Conran-style sofa sits in the front room, where
guests take cappuccino by the fire. The hotel has no
restaurant or bar, but an organic full English breakfast is
prepared in a cheery room overlooking the garden.

South Beach meets the East Village at London's cutting-edge
K West Hotel & Spa (Richmond Way;
). Noel Pierce of
Pierce Design International—who also did the
Peninsula in Hong Kong—fashioned 220 calm rooms,
blending soft taupes, creams, and browns with stainless
steel and sandblasted glass. Even cooler than the
décor are the guests (mostly media mavens and
touring musicians), who keep the scene at the K Lounge
rocking all night long and recover the next day with
holistic treatments at the Asian-inspired spa.

The Hotel Linna (29 Lönnrotinkatu;
), a 1903 Finnish Art
Nouveau fortress, was originally the local university's
student union building. Historical details (stone arches,
stained-glass windows) have been preserved in the public
spaces; the 48 rooms have been spiffed up with leather
headboards, suede chairs, and mod Diogenes lamps. Ask for
No. 401, the only guest room in the imposing round tower
and steps away from one of the hotel's three saunas.

The 47-room Général Hôtel (5–7 Rue Rampon, 11th Arr.; 33-1/47-00-41-57;
), just off the Place de la
République, recently received a makeover by
architect Jean-Philippe Nuel, who designed two other
beloved affordable Paris hotels: the Axial Beaubourg and
the Lavoisier. New touches include a sleek lobby and bar
(low cocoa-colored suede sofas, walls covered in graphic
floral images), rooms in neutral tones, all-white
bathrooms, and a green apple on every pillow.

In the heart of the buzzing Mitte neighborhood, Lux
(9–13 Rosa-Luxemburg-Str.; 800/337-4685 or
) is the
latest creation from a dynamic minimalist duo, Claudio
Silvestrin and his wife, Giuliana Salmaso. The 72 rooms,
each in a monolithic space, have open bathrooms finished in
concrete and honey-colored wood. An Aveda spa occupies the
basement, and a micro–department store, run by the
former buyer for Quartier 206, one of Berlin's poshest
fashion emporiums, is adjacent to the lobby.

The 77-room East Hotel (31 Simon von Utrecht
Str.; 800/337-4685 or 49-40/309-930;
), in the city's rapidly
gentrifying red-light district, was created by Jordan
Mozer, the Chicago-based interior designer. Mozer opted for
a Gaudí-goes–Far East feel, with nonlinear
furnishings (undulating columns in the lobby and
Asian-fusion restaurant) and molten-metal moldings
(mirrored sculptures that appear to be dripping from the
ceiling). On a sunny day, hit the rooftop terrace or the
garden for a mai tai and a spicy salmon roll.

At Fresh Hotel (26 Sofokleous St.; 800/337-4685
or 30-210/524-8511;; breakfast
) color is key: hot pinks, neon oranges, and
cherry reds pop up everywhere, from the check-in desk to
the bedside vases. The 133 simple rooms follow the standard
minimalist guidelines —plastic furniture, Eames
chairs, and Artemide bedside lighting. Although it's barely
two years old, Fresh is quickly becoming a jet-set hangout
thanks to the rooftop pool with views of the Acropolis and
the nouvelle Greek cuisine at the Orange restaurant.

The Art'otel Budapest (16–19 Bem Rakpart;
36-1/487-9487;; breakfast included
) is
part of a small, aesthetically minded chain that is
considered the pioneer in the artists-designing-hotels
trend. For its first venture outside Germany, Art'otel
invited American artist Donald Sultan to incorporate
oversized images of needles, thread, and buttons into the
carpets, wall hangings, even the flatware. Dark-hued
contemporary furniture makes no place for fluff and
chintz in the spare riverfront rooms, which have
floor-to-ceiling views of the neo-Gothic parliament

Sister to the Roman property, the aristocratic Casa
Howard Florence
(18 Via della Scala;
) is
housed in a palazzo next to the Santa Maria Novella
Pharmacy, which supplies the hotel's pomegranate and mint
soaps. The 11 quirky accommodations have individual themes:
the intellectual Library Room (wall-to-wall shelves filled
with books); the sensual Hidden Room (erotic prints, a
sunken bath); and the family-friendly Play Room (videos, a
climbing wall).

Opened in June 2004, Alle Meraviglie (8 Via San
Tomaso; 39-02/805-1023;
) could
not have a more appropriate name (roughly translated, it
means "wonderland"). Its six airy rooms are just a
five-minute walk from the Duomo and are outfitted
with Baroque-style antique chairs; ivory, green, and
hot-pink taffeta curtains; and surreal installations, such
as a fringed sheet dipped in plaster. Each guest gets fresh
flowers, Internet access, and a radio with short- and
long-wave channels in English and Italian, but no TV's (and
no white rabbits).

After meeting her husband, Alessandro Bisceglie, on a Roman
holiday, American Elyssa Bernard moved to Italy; together
the couple opened the three-room Daphne Inn (55
Via di San Basilio; 39-06/4544-9177;
in 2001. Since then, the chic
guesthouse has expanded to 15 rooms in two palazzi near the
Via Veneto. Details include Bisazza mosaics on the walls
and offbeat artworks hanging above the beds. Each room
comes with a cell phone for calling the staff with
questions. Although Nos. 222 and 223 are the most
affordable, they lack private bathrooms.

At the ultra-minimalist Palazzo Soderini (Campo
Bandiera e Moro, Castello 3611; 39-041/296-0823;; breakfast included
), a
three-room pension hidden in a 15th-century villa,
everything is rigorously white, from the bed linens to the
marble-chip terrazzo floors. Guests breakfast on croissants
with organic honey in a walled garden amid perfumed
jasmine, red roses, and white-blossomed pittosporum trees.
There's a minimum stay of two nights, and arrival times
must be prearranged—that's a small price to pay for
this oasis near St. Mark's Square.

More than 50 Dutch artists descended upon a 1921
traditional gabled building in the trendy Eastern
Docklands, transforming it from a defunct prison into the
Lloyd Hotel (34 Oostelijke Handelskade;
). Furnished cleverly
and efficiently (a tub doubles as a table; a bed as a
chair), rooms range from one-stars, which lack bathrooms
but supply robes to wear down the hall, to spacious
five-stars like room No. 221, which has a concert piano.
The restaurant, Snel, serves farm-fresh regional dishes,
while the on-site Cultural Embassy advises on performances,
festivals, and museums.

In a country where "south of the border" means below the
Arctic Circle, there's a hotel with a surprising Latin
flavor, the Radisson SAS Hotel Nydalen (33
Nydalsveien; 47-2/326-3000;; breakfast
). "Urban" rooms have a cosmopolitan feel,
while the "Chili" quarters—with sculptures of red
peppers mounted on the walls—need only a mariachi
band to channel Mexico. At the restaurant, Circo, dishes
like roast pork rolled in Serrano ham add to the vibe.

Hotel Rialto (72 Ul. Wilcza; 48-22/584-8777;
) is an ornate masterpiece in the heart of
Warsaw. Polish firm DOM Architektury combed the
antiques shops of Europe to secure authentic period pieces
from the 1920's and 30's—the group went so far as to
design electrical outlets and thermostats that fit the
period. Most of the 44 rooms pay tribute to the work of
figures such as architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and
artist William Morris, but for something a little
different, try No. 13, which looks to Africa with its
zebraskin rug and warrior masks.

The NH Liberdade (180B Avda. da Liberdade;
888/726-0528 or 351-21/351-4060;
portends a hip new Lisbon, with its rooftop swimming pool,
black-and-cream motif, and provocative details (like the
faux-fur lamp in the lobby). The centrally-located hotel
gives guests the personal treatment, down to a choice of
pillows (firm, soft, feather). Stop by the restaurant, Do
Teatro, for baked monkfish with mango.

Touting itself as the world's most high-tech retreat, the
214-room Royal Media Hotel & Casino (154
Dunajska Cesta; 386-1/588-2500;; breakfast
) is a business and leisure traveler's dream
less than two miles from the city center. Plasma screens
line the walls in corridors, conference rooms, and
restaurants. The spacious, angular Grand Media space has
42-inch satellite TV's, wireless Internet access, and
discounted international calls. Rejuvenate with a soak in
the spa's Turkish bath, or take a gamble at the casino.

Service matters at Bauzá Hotel (79 Calle
Goya; 34/91-435-7545;
), where
the young bellhops wear the words CAN I HELP YOU?
embroidered in English on their uniforms. Rooms are
monochromatic—save for a splash of red here and
there—and have all the necessary amenities:
PlayStations; a CD, book, and pillow menu; a top-notch
sound system. Double-paned windows block the noise of the
chic Salamanca shopping district below, without obstructing
the view.

The two flights of stairs (no elevator!) that lead to 7
(14 Calle Huertas; 34/91-429-6935;; breakfast included) might dissuade
the unadventurous, but the hotel's bright, industrial rooms
are worth the climb. Each one—down to the
soap—is decorated in a single color. In the lobby
you'll find a convivial breakfast room with a communal
table; just outside are the popular bars of the trendy
Plaza de Santa Ana.

In a city where even the most luxurious accommodations tend
toward the dowdy, Villa Soro (61 Avda. de
Ategorrieta; 34/94-329-7970;
offers a much-needed dose of modern luxury. The owners of
this intimate 19th-­century mansion have preserved the
1898 manicured garden and the stained-glass windows, while
updating rooms with a neutral color scheme, wooden
furniture, and work from local artists. Superior
rooms—$268 more than the standards—are worth
the extra expense, if only for the natural light they

At first glance, Las Casas del Rey de
(2 Plaza Jesús de la
Redención; 34/95-456-1496;
) might
seem like just another Andalusian residence (whitewashed
façade, Moorish courtyards), but inside, everything
is cool sophistication. Leather armchairs and birds in
antique cages fill the inviting public areas; the 41
cream-colored, softly lit rooms have stylized wicker
furniture and renovated bathrooms. The larger guest
quarters are outfitted with DVD players and
flat-screen TV's. The more compact rooms tend to be,
as expected, more modestly priced.

Swaggering onto the scene last fall, the Palau de la
(14 Navarro Reverter; 34/96-316-2884;
) announced Valencia's coming of age.
Sandra Tarruella and Isabel López—the interior
design team behind Barcelona's Hotel Omm—remodeled
two 18th-­century palaces near the Turia River,
balancing original details (ornate carved doors, a marble
staircase) with contemporary touches, such as a striking
glass-and-steel patio. The 66 bedrooms have dark parquet
floors, crisp white bed linens, and free mini-bars—a
generous gesture, considering the hotel's gentle prices.

When he was a photojournalist, Per Hellsten dreaded missing
calls while in the shower. Now that he's owner of the
Rex Hotel (73 Luntmakargatan; 46-8/160-040;
), he has eliminated that frustration by
installing phones—along with heated floors and
towel racks—in the gray Karystos-stone bathrooms of
this 1866 building on a quiet residential street just off
the busy boulevard Sveavägen. The 32 bedrooms combine
original details such as pine-plank floors with
bright blue-and-burgundy bedspreads and Hellsten's own
black-and-white documentary-style photographs of Europe and

Local and international trendsetters flock to the bar at
the 50-room Bentley Hotel (75 Halàskargazi
St.; 800/337-4685 or 90-212/291-7730;
), where on weekends lounge music
plays well into the night. Milanese architects Piero
Lissoni and Nicoletta Canesi used large windows, spare
dark-wood furniture, and pale blue hues to give guests a
calming respite just five minutes from Istanbul's hectic
center and bustling shopping district.

Written by Lisa Abend, Elena Bowes, Anya von Bremzen,
Sascha de Gersdorff, Peter S. Green, Kristin Hohenadel,
Xander Kaplan, Robert Maniaci, Aoife O'Riordain, Kevin Raub,
Seth Sherwood, Vicki Vasilopoulos, Valerie Waterhouse,
Stephen Whitlock, and Kristine Ziwica.
shown are the lowest double rate for the month of September.

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