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Great Cities, Affordable Hotels

Europe

DUBLIN
$146
Ireland's best-kept secret, Number 31 (31 Leeson Close, Lower Leeson St.; 353-1/676-5011; www.number31.ie; breakfast included) is part gracious Georgian mansion, part modernized coach house. An ivy-clad door at the end of an alley opens onto a mirrored reception desk and groovy sunken lounge. Each room is individually decorated with a mix of antique and modern furniture, complemented by muted walls. Room 21, with lofty ceilings and original 18th-century cornices, may be one of Dublin's grandest places to sleep.

LONDON
$161
On a street of anonymous budget hotels near Hyde Park, the Pavilion (34-36 Sussex Gardens; 44-207/262-0905; www.msi.com.mt/pavilion; breakfast included) is a world apart. Among its 30 theatrically themed rooms are Honky-Tonk Afro, a lime-green homage to the disco seventies; Highland Fling, a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of a Scottish baronial bedroom; and the fantastical Moorish-Art Deco Casablanca Nights. Be warned: The crowd of musicians and fashionistas can get as loud as the color scheme.

$113 Caroline Main, the vivacious owner of the Main House (6 Colville Rd.; 44-207/221- 9691; www.themainhouse.com), could have installed eight bedrooms in this Notting Hill terrace building. Instead, there are just four, each occupying an entire floor and stocked with super-king beds, Egyptian-cotton sheets, and a winningly eccentric assortment of furnishings, half passed down from her family, half from the antiques shops of nearby Portobello Road.

$242 Guests at Five Sumner Place (5 Sumner Place; 44-207/584-7586; www.sumnerplace.com; breakfast included), an unassuming town house in posh South Kensington, can spend the money they're saving on a blitz of the area's high-end boutiques. Rooms are clean and cheerful—though the Victorian reproduction furnishings are slightly battered. In summer, breakfast is served on the back patio, a rare feature even at far grander hotels.

AMSTERDAM
$156 Canal houses are such prized possessions in Amsterdam that most have been kept private. The Canal House Hotel (148 Keizersgracht; 31-20/622-5182; www.canalhouse.nl; breakfast included), however, offers a chance to sleep in the 17th century. Its two narrow, carefully restored 1640 buildings stand gracefully beside the Keizersgracht, just around the corner from the Anne Frank House. The 26 rooms are furnished with antiques and framed Old Master prints; some have canopied beds or canal views.

$115 The 1720 Seven Bridges (31 Reguliersgracht; 31-20/623-1329; breakfast included) isn't as venerable as the Canal House, but it overlooks perhaps the city's most photogenic canal. Of the eight rooms, splurge on one at the front for a view of the water, or on the largest, No. 5, for a terrace over the garden. The house is filled with I from across Europe—Le Corbusier chairs, Russian carpets, 1920's café tables from Prague.

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