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Great Cities, Affordable Hotels

BUENOS AIRES
$80 The Armani-clad swarm the lobby of Design Suites & Tower (1683 Marcelo T. de Alvear; 54-11/4814-8700; www.designsuites.com; breakfast included) in swanky Barrio Norte. Downstairs, there's an art gallery, a clothing boutique, and a poolside bar where ambient tunes complement the caipiroskas. Upstairs, the 40 minimalist rooms have king-sized beds, fax-Internet connections, and personal espresso machines.

SANTIAGO, CHILE
$66 A converted 28-room mansion in genteel Providencia, near the Metropolitan Park, the Hotel Orly (27 Avda. Pedro de Valdivia; 56-2/231-8947; www.orlyhotel.com; breakfast included) is furnished like a comfortable country estate and run by an unfailingly helpful staff. Join Santiago's smart set at the Cafetto restaurant, or explore the vibrant neighborhood, brimming with great restaurants and shops.

RIO DE JANEIRO
$48 The plaids and florals may be forgettable, the bathrooms may lack tubs, and the architecture of the Arpoador Inn (177 Rua Francisco Otaviano; 55-21/2523-0060; breakfast included) may reek of 1970's Functionalism. But this 56-room hotel, set on the bluff separating Copacabana and Ipanema, is one of few in Rio with direct beach access. And it's a brief walk to some of the city's hottest restaurants (though the in-house Azul Marinho also merits a visit). At $96, the 15 oceanfront rooms still qualify as a steal.

Africa

CAPE TOWN
$193 A former Masonic lodge, the Hemingway House (1 Lodge St.; 27-21/461-1857; www.hemingwayhouse.co.za) retains an air of secrecy, unlisted and tucked away near the Mount Nelson Hotel. The courtyard, where meals are served, affords views of Table Mountain; the Afro-Colonial interiors feature African masks, crystal chandeliers, and four-poster beds. Of the four rooms—booked months in advance—the best is the North Room, with doors opening onto the pool. By September there will be four new units to choose from.

$146 Behind the gabled façade of a 1920's villa, the Winchester Mansions Hotel (221 Beach Rd.; 27-21/434-2351; www.winchester.co.za; breakfast included) has 76 rooms in styles ranging from down-home Martha Stewart to modern Terence Conran. A landmark on the Sea Point waterfront, the place has old-world charm; you're just as likely to see a dowager sipping coffee in the colonnaded courtyard as you are a model savoring oysters at Harvey's, the in-house restaurant.

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