Europe's Best Affordable Hotels
Pool? Check. Spa? Check. Views of the Mediterranean? Check. The Hôtel du Château de la Tour delivers everything you expect from a French Riviera getaway—at a fraction of the price of other coastal hotels. So as you lounge in your Rococo-style room, gazing out at the garden and azure waters beyond, congratulate yourself on a vacation well done.
Admit it: there are probably times you’d booked a hotel in Europe based on a pound or euro rate, thinking the conversion wouldn’t be that bad—until you did the math. Now there’s no need to scramble for your calculator. T+L’s editors have found 25 stylish European hotels where the nightly rates won’t cause you to lose any sleep.
Istanbul, Berlin, and Tuscany are just a few of the spots where we discovered great-value properties. From an elegant four-room palazzo to an eco-friendly urban boutique hotel, there’s a place for almost every taste.
If Barcelona is on your radar, check in to Barcelo Raval, a new minimalist-chic hotel in the bohemian El Raval neighborhood, from $140 a night. Las Ramblas and the Gothic quarter are nearby, but come sunset, there’s no better place to be than the hotel’s rooftop terrace, with its pool, bar, and 360-degree city panoramas.
Travelers who prefer to step back in time will be drawn to the 300-year-old Relais di Villa Rossi Danielli, a rural escape outside of Rome where Julia Roberts holed up while shooting Eat, Pray, Love. The six rooms come with painted, coffered ceilings and French floral fabrics, and the adjacent converted barn has a wood-burning stone fireplace.
Read on for T+L’s complete list of Europe’s best affordable hotels to find the one that will save you money on your next trip across the Atlantic. —Donna Heiderstadt
Hotel Hollmann Beletage, Vienna
Old meets new at Hotel Hollmann Beletage (6 Köllnerhofgasse; 43-1/961-1960; hollmann-beletage.at; doubles from $194), where the neo-Gothic 19th-century façade stands in stark contrast to the contemporary interiors: bold orange lampshades and pillows; espresso-hued furniture; steel-wire chairs. Besides a prime location just steps from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the hotel’s biggest standout is its eight-seat cinema, which screens Austrian films nightly.
Montpellier Chapter, Cheltenham, England
On the outskirts of the Cotswolds, the lively university town of Cheltenham finally has a hotel to mirror its youthful energy. Housed in a Regency-style villa, the Montpellier Chapter (Bayshill Rd.; 44-1242/527-788; chapterhotels.com; doubles from $200) is outfitted with furnishings by modern British designer Matthew Hilton and cutting-edge works by leading artists such as Alison Crowther. At night, Cheltonians gather at the clubby bar and restaurant to dine on hearty English dishes (venison cutlet with parsnips, anyone?).
Hotel Indigo London Tower Hill, London
InterContinental’s sexy boutique brand just unveiled its second London property, Hotel Indigo London Tower Hill (142 Minories; 877/834-3613 or 44-20/7265-1014; hitowerhill.com; doubles from $189), in the city’s business district. The neighborhood may not have London’s most fashionable postcode, but rooms are stylish, with oak floors, four-poster beds, and brick walls. Added bonus: the Tower of London and the Tate Modern are within walking distance.
Instants d’Absolu–Ecolodge du Lac du Pêcher, Auvergne, France
High in the hills of Auvergne, a five-hour drive south of Paris, Instants d’Absolu–Ecolodge du Lac du Pêcher (Lac du Pêcher, Chavagnac, Cantal; 33-4/71-20-83-09; ecolodge-france.com; doubles from $173) isn’t for those seeking high-tech amenities or over-the-top service. Calme, on the other hand, is to be had in abundance: the farmhouse is surrounded by forested parkland, and the 12 simple rooms are furnished with pinewood tables and rough-luxe fabrics (virgin wool; alpaca; leather).
Hôtel du Château de la Tour, Cannes
Pool? Check. Spa? Check. Views of the Mediterranean? Check. What’s not to love about Hôtel du Château de la Tour (10 Ave. Font de Veyre, La Bocca; 33-4/93-90-52-52; lhotelchateaudeatour.com; doubles from $242)? The 34-room property bordering Cannes meets all the requirements of a French Riviera getaway at a fraction of the cost of hotels along the coast. Rococo-style furniture fills the traditionally designed rooms, and windows look out onto the pool and azure waters beyond.
Le Citizen, Paris
If proximity to Paris’s trendy neighborhoods is crucial but you prefer to stay off the beaten track, then don’t miss Le Citizen (96 Quai des Jemmapes, 10th Arr.; 33-1/83-62-55-50; lecitizenhotel.com; doubles from $196). Right on the edge of the leafy Canal St.-Martin, in the 10th Arrondissement, the hotel’s 12 minimalist rooms incorporate modular, pale-wood furniture, giant flat-screen TV’s, and iPads. The best asset: the views of the canal from the cozy window seats in the rooms.
Alice in Wonderland whimsy mixes with avant-garde design at the Weinmeister (2 Weinmeisterstrasse; 49-30/755-6670; the-weinmeister.com; doubles from $134), in the trendy Mitte neighborhood. What to expect? Oversize earth-toned chairs in the lobby and deep, cocoon-style beds surrounded by local artwork in the rooms. While there’s plenty of nightlife nearby, the ground-floor Schwarz Bar is a favorite among Berliners.
25hours Hotel Hafencity, Hamburg
Don’t be fooled by the bland, red-brick façade: 25hours Hotel Hafencity (5 Überseeallee; 49-40/2262-29590; 25hours-hotels.com; doubles from $144), in the docklands district, is rich in quirky touches. Rooms pay homage to their location with nautical-inspired accents such as porthole-style mirrors and rope ladders on the walls. Downstairs, there’s a lobby lounge where guests can practice their DJ skills, and a glass-walled restaurant serving German staples and beer.
New Hotel, Athens
One of the world’s oldest cities is getting a serious dose of high eco-style: the 79-room New Hotel (16 Fillellinon St.; 800/337-4685; yeshotels.gr; doubles from $240) is the first property by noted designers Fernando and Humberto Campana, who are known for their cutting-edge use of sustainable products. Bamboo-parquet floors, brass-clad washbasins, and asymmetrical workbenches forged from recycled materials are just a few of the hotel’s environmentally friendly details.
Relais di Villa Rossi Danielli, Lazio, Italy
When Julia Roberts chose to stay at the 300-year-old Relais di Villa Rossi Danielli (10 Strada Sammartinese, Viterbo; 39-0761/228-082; tenutadiferento.com; doubles from $218) while shooting Eat Pray Love, the estate received some well-deserved recognition. An hour north of Rome, the 17 acres provide the perfect rural escape: there’s a six-room villa with painted, coffered ceilings and French floral fabrics. Next door is a no-frills, five-room converted barn, complete with a wood-burning stone fireplace.
Casa Talia, Sicily
The seven rooms at Casa Talia (doubles from $179) are stylishly spare—think local ceramic tiles, Moroccan rugs, hand-wrought ironwork—but what impresses most is the service. The owners are at the ready to chauffeur guests into the town of Modica—or arrange just about any other excursion, including cooking lessons and trips to explore the area’s natural quarries.
Home in Palace, Tuscany
Close, but not too close, to the action in the center of Florence is the four-suite Home in Palace (26 Via Gino Capponi; 39-55/200-1039; homeinpalace.it; doubles from $203), housed in the 18th-century Palazzo Capponi all’Annunziata. Flooded with sun from skylights, the hotel’s low-slung furniture complements the smattering of 19th-century antiques, and the sleek oak-plank floors are offset by vintage kilims and Oriental runners. In a city where green space is at a premium, guests have private access to the palazzo’s manicured garden.
Renovating the six-room Follonico (Montefollonico, Torrita di Siena; 39-0577/669-773; follonico.com; doubles from $170), set in a centuries-old Tuscan farmhouse, was a labor of love for the hotel’s husband-and-wife owners (he’s Italian; she’s Dutch). The austerely chic rooms are whitewashed affairs with stone walls, weathered beams, and decorative pieces made from salvaged wood. But the real triumph is the blissfully quiet location in the middle of a vineyard-covered valley between the hilltop villages of Montepulciano and the lesser-known (but no less lovely) Montefollonico.
Locanda al Colle, Tuscany
Check all those rustic-charm expectations at the door of Locanda al Colle (102 Via della Stretta, Camaiore; 39-0584/915-195; locandaalcolle.it; doubles from $204), 7 1/2 miles from Forte dei Marmi. Midcentury Danish and Italian furniture is punctuated by paintings and photographs from the 1940’s to the present in the nine modern rooms, which have taupe and green accents. The only quaint thing about the inn is the sweeping vistas of the Tuscan countryside.
LX Boutique Hotel, Lisbon
Once a watering hole for Lisbon’s literati until it fell into disrepair, the newly restored LX Boutique Hotel (12 Rua do Alecrim; 351/213-474-394; lxboutiquehotel.com; doubles from $117) has been reborn as a sophisticated inn dedicated to Portuguese culture. Every level has a different theme, from the fifth-floor Barrio district, where rooms have graffitied walls, to the second-floor Fernando Pessoa, named for the 20th-century poet who penned some of his work at the property.
Altis Avenida Hotel, Lisbon
Never mind that it’s located in a grand Art Deco building, or that it’s steps from the historic center. The real appeal of Altis Avenida Hotel (120 Rua 1 de Dezembro, Praça dos Restauradores; 351/210-440-000; altishotels.com; doubles from $200) is its attentive staff, eager to fulfill guests’ every wish—from scoring hard-to-book restaurant reservations to organizing outings to the city’s best craft shops. The 68 rooms and two suites are decorated with retro lamps and geometric-print black-and-white carpeting.
4 Rooms, Porto
This Roman-era city north of Lisbon is undergoing a renaissance, thanks to a clutch of hotel openings. Take the seaside retreat 4 Rooms (1015 Rua Padre Luis Cabral; 351/929-190-406; 4rooms.org; doubles from $150), hidden away in an unmarked town house in the old Foz district. The best of the four modern suites is the white-on-white Loft, with a floor-to-ceiling window that faces a private courtyard. Extras like bath products from Anne Semonin (a brand that’s rarely found outside Paris) only add to the hotel’s cachet.
Hotel la Fuente de la Higuera, Andalusia
While rooms at the Hotel la Fuente de la Higuera (Partido de las Frontones; 34/95-211-4355; hotellafuente.com; doubles from $179), in the Andalusian mountains, are undeniably bare-bones (handcrafted antique furniture; dark-wood bed frames), the seven-acre property is all about la buena vida: farm-to-table dinners are served at the outdoor restaurant nightly, and the shady pool is surrounded by large acacia trees. The region’s fabled pueblos blancos—ancient whitewashed villages—are a short drive away.
Barceló Raval, Barcelona
In a striking cylindrical tower wrapped in black metal mesh, Barceló Raval (17-21 Rambla del Raval; 34/93-320-1490; barceloraval.com; doubles from $140) is a sleek addition in the otherwise bohemian neighborhood of El Raval. The interiors incorporate playful elements, from the life-size horse lamp in the lobby to the hot-pink walls in the rooms. Las Ramblas and the Gothic quarter are nearby, but come sunset, there’s no better place to be than the rooftop terrace bar.
Hotel Viura, La Rioja, Spain
Spain’s northern wine region has added another architectural marvel. Created by Spanish architects Designhouse, the just-opened Hotel Viura (Plaza Mayor, Villabuena de Alava; 34/94-560-9000; hotelviura.com; doubles from $170) is made of glass-and-reinforced-concrete cubes, stacked on top of one another like off-kilter building blocks. Inside, exposed concrete walls play off a cream-and-white palette. The friendly staff is on hand to arrange outings to the region’s vineyards.
Urune, Vizcaya, Spain
Looking for a high-design escape in the Basque countryside? The renovated 1780 farmhouse Urune (8 Txakale Auzoa; 34/94-465-1663; urunehotela.com; doubles from $135), a 30-minute drive west of Bilbao, delivers. The rooms retain remnants of the former building (plaster walls; steep chestnut roofs) but have been refreshingly updated with low-slung beds and space-agey purple pod chairs. Best of all is the shaded flagstone terrace overlooking the forested hills.
Hotel du Vin Edinburgh
What was once a city asylum is giving refuge to a different sort of resident; locavores on a (relative) budget. Occupying a stone building from 1739, the 47-room Hotel du Vin Edinburgh (11 Bristo Place; 44-131/247-4900; hotelduvin.com; doubles from $198) is decidedly modern: purple fleur-de-lis wall coverings, bright tartan throw pillows, and a lobby chandelier made of wine glasses. The real draw is the fashionable restaurant, where chef Matt Powells creates innovative Scottish dishes such as smoked haddock cassoulet.
Amsterdam-based CitizenM’s third property, CitizenM Glasgow (60 Renfrew St.; 44-141/404-9485; citizenm.com; doubles from $94), made its debut with much fanfare in Glasgow—a city that has never had a reputation for contemporary digs. The boxy façade looks more like a Jean Nouvel creation than the twee Scottish B&B that you typically find downtown. Public spaces are sprinkled with Eames chairs, and rooms include oversize beds and Philips “moodpads” to control the huge flat-screens and ambient lighting.
Hotel Skeppsholmen, Stockholm
Local architectural firm Claesson Koivisto Rune has transformed two light-filled 18th-century buildings into the Scandinavian-inspired Hotel Skeppsholmen (1 Gröna Gången; 46-8/407-2300; hotelskeppsholmen.com; doubles from $232), in the Stockholm archipelago. The high ceilings, crisp white linens, and blond-wood floors give the 81 rooms an airy, loftlike feel, but the view of the Baltic from the restaurant’s patio is its ace in the hole.
House Hotel Galatasaray, Istanbul
Design aficionados love the 20-suite House Hotel Galatasaray (19 Bostanbasi Caddesi, Beyoglu; 90-212/252-0422; thehousehotel.com; suites from $204), thanks to Turkish firm Autoban’s makeover of the 1890’s mansion. Polished parquet floors, marble staircases, and delicate moldings are set off by the subdued gray-and-taupe curtains and deep, velvet armchairs. Don’t miss the clubby penthouse lounge, with big leather sofas flanking a stone fireplace.