America's Best Affordable City Hotels
The Brown is a Kentucky institution: the Georgian Revival–style hotel in Louisville wows guests with marble flooring, ornate ceilings, feather beds—and the Hot Brown, a decadent, open-faced turkey sandwich. Even more impressive, the rates start as low as $129.
This irresistible combination of character and value makes The Brown one of America’s top affordable city hotels, as selected among high-scoring properties in our annual World’s Best reader survey. All these favorite hotels offer room rates between $90 and $250 a night—meaning there’s bound to be a hotel that’s right for you.
That’s especially good news considering that finding a good deal may get a little tougher for travelers in 2012. Business data firm TravelClick predicts that, after a long slump in hotel prices, rates will rise almost 4 percent in 2012, thanks to increased demand as the economy recovers.
At least there’s no need to compromise on quality. The Waldorf Astoria Orlando, for instance, has outposts of celebrated dining venues from the flagship property in New York. Not to mention two pools and a spa with 21 treatment rooms. But at $159 a night, its rate is less than half that in Manhattan—and you get a free shuttle to Disney World. Besides, visiting a city that’s not on the West Coast or in the Northeast practically guarantees that other costs, such as dining and entertainment, will be more affordable, too.
Top affordable hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Orlando also defy the conventional wisdom that you should look to a city’s outlying neighborhoods for a good deal. In Santa Fe, the pueblo-style Inn of Anasazi wins over guests with its tasteful, luxurious décor—handwoven rugs, paintings by acclaimed local artists, kiva-shaped gas fireplaces, and four-poster beds—placed in the heart of the action.
Although plenty of celebrities have been spotted checking into the fashionable Inn of Anasazi, you don’t need to star in a hit movie to be able to afford its nightly rates.
Read on for more top city hotels across America that won’t bust your travel budget.
$90: Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa, Las Vegas
This sprawling resort, with 490 rooms and 74 suites, opened in 2002 in Henderson, just a 20-minute drive from the Strip. Locals love the hotel’s eight restaurants, which include the trendy sushi joint Sushi + Saki. The trump card? The pool, which is set on a hillside with views of the Vegas skyline. Doubles from $90.
$129: Brown Hotel, Louisville, KY
Built in 1923, The Brown, in downtown Louisville just three miles from the Kentucky Derby’s Churchill Downs, was a magnet for celebrities through the 1950s. This year, all 293 guest rooms will undergo a renovation. Doubles from $129.
$139: Loews New Orleans Hotel
Located just three blocks from the French Quarter, the 285-room Loews New Orleans Hotel is filled with local photography and neutral-toned furnishings with bright red or blue accents. Downstairs, Café Adelaide serves inventive Creole dishes such as shrimp and roasted tomato grits. Doubles from $139.
$149: Hotel Monaco Chicago
This 191-room boutique hotel is situated in the downtown commercial district, but even with the buttoned-up location, creative touches abound, from in-room goldfish (yes, actually fish) to GM-led Segway hotel tours. Rooms have large bay windows, and suites feature separate living areas and oversize, two-person Jacuzzi bathtubs. Doubles from $149.
$159: Waldorf Astoria Orlando, FL
This mega-size resort is set on 482 acres at the edge of Walt Disney World, near Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney (suites have balconies overlooking Disney and the tranquil Bonnet Creek nature preserve). Don’t miss the outposts of beloved restaurants from the flagship New York City Waldorf property, including Peacock Alley and the Bull & Bear Steakhouse. Doubles from $159.
$169: Arizona Inn, Tucson
Just north of the University of Arizona, the Arizona Inn, set on 14 acres of elaborate gardens, feels like a proper English estate. It’s amost a feat to find your room—on your way you’re likely to bump into teams of gardeners trimming hedges. Order your breakfast by the large pool or sip afternoon tea in the oak-lined library. Doubles from $169.
$169: Wynn Las Vegas
When the Wynn opened, it was the first Las Vegas hotel to incorporate design details from the outdoors: natural light floods the casino floor, and outside, a 140-foot mountain and wall of water separate the hotel from the rest of the Strip. The smallest rooms are a capacious 620 square feet, while the six enormous villas top out at 7,000 square feet. Doubles from $169.
$179: Raphael Hotel, Kansas City, MO
This Renaissance Revival–style property overlooks Country Club Plaza, the first outdoor suburban shopping center in the U.S. The 126 rooms and suites are designed in seven different styles, but all reflect the 1920s European origins of the hotel building. In the evenings, the Chaz Restaurant and Lounge hosts local Kansas City musicians. Doubles from $179.
$189: Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City
Grand America Hotel is a Salt Lake City treasure, owned by the resident Earl Holding family, who didn’t shirk any expense when they built the opulent, European-style property. The exterior, for example, is wrapped in slabs of white Bethel granite, while rooms are done up in gold, green, and red fabrics and connect to marble bathrooms. Doubles from $189.
$190: Windsor Court, New Orleans
Following a $22 million restoration, this 324-room hotel, rising above New Orleans’s Central Business district, is bustling again. The Polo Lounge hosts local jazz bands; the elegant Grill Room is packed with patrons dining on American-Creole cuisine. The hotel is also home to an $8 million art collection that includes works by Flemish Baroque painter Anthony van Dyck. Doubles from $190.
$195: Sofitel Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.
In some way, every Sofitel is a Parisian hotel, and despite its location in downtown Washington, the Lafayette is no exception. Francophone staff click-clack over black marble floors; chic young things lounge in the wine-and-gray halls of Le Bar. To respond to the growing demand of traveling families, the hotel added the ability to connect 12 rooms last year. Doubles from $195.
$209: Hotel 1000, Seattle
Personally programmed room sensors, iPod docking stations, a virtual golf driving range: this 120-room hotel is packed with high-tech gadgetry. But it’s not just about the tech touches here. The Pacific Northwest is honored in the design. Glass sculptures and ceramic lamps in earthy tones appear throughout the public spaces. Doubles from $209.
$229: Hotel Teatro, Denver
This 110-room hotel is housed in a Renaissance Revival building filled with theater memorabilia, such as a costume worn by Annette Bening in a Denver Center Theatre Company production. All rooms have 12-foot ceilings and oversize bathtubs with Indonesian marble and sandstone finish. Don’t miss one of the hotel’s guided tours through the city. Doubles from $229.
$240: Charleston Place, Charleston, SC
This Georgian-style property, near excellent restaurants and boutiques on King Street, is home to a 3,000-piece handblown Venetian chandelier and 442 elegant rooms furnished with Chippendale-style furnishings and flat-screen TVs. And the service here is unmatched, thanks to the 1-to-2 staff-to-guest ratio. Doubles from $240.
$249: Inn of the Anasazi, A Rosewood Hotel, Santa Fe, NM
This fashionable inn puts a spin on traditional southwestern design: all 58 guest rooms, with sandstone walls and latilla-and-viga ceilings, are contemporary and sleek, with four-poster beds so high that they require special stepping stools. In the evenings, guests head to the clubby Living Room lounge, and the on-site restaurant buzzes with well-heeled Santa Fe culturati. Doubles from $249.