By Jeff Ficker
November 13, 2014
Courtesy of The Clarendon Hotel

Finding a charming, one-of-a-kind budget hotel in Scottsdale can be challenging. Accommodations tend to fall into one of two categories: big, expensive resorts and chain hotels. There are options, though, for travelers hoping to experience Scottsdale on a budget—and with a little style. These more affordable options are centrally located near dining, shopping and nightlife destinations, and tend not to tack on “resort fees,” which are meant to cover the costs of gratuities and expensive amenities, such as multiple pools and golf courses. Fear not: all of the hotels below have great pools, which is a year-round Scottsdale pleasure and summertime necessity. Speaking of our most-dread season of the year, rates tumble at all of the city’s hotels when the temperatures climb well beyond 100 degrees, usually late-May through early September. You’ll find spectacular deals at what seem like out-of-reach resorts—just check around before booking. Here are my five favorite hotels that stay affordable year round.

Hotel Indigo

The hip chain packs a lot of style into an affordable package. Guests will love its unbeatable downtown location, not to mention the boldly wallpapered rooms that were inspired by more expensive boutique hotels. Take a dip in the outdoor pool, or head out to the second-story terrace for cocktails by the fire pit on cool evenings.

The Clarendon Hotel

Located in nearby Central Phoenix, the Clarendon is a funky alternative to Scottsdale’s more expensive (and beige) resorts. Most rooms open onto the property’s star attraction: the Oasis, a hip courtyard pool and 50-person Jacuzzi with striped tile and lounge-y, cabana furniture. The first-floor Mexican restaurant, Gallo Blanco, and rooftop bar are popular destinations for locals.

3 Palms

This remodeled hotel—a 10-minute drive from Old Town—is a terrific value. The budget-boutique 3 Palms has a small resort feel, thanks to its white-on-white lobby, mod guest rooms and poolside bar. Located in southern Scottsdale near Tempe, it attracts parents and friends visiting students at nearby Arizona State University.

Gainey Suites Hotel

Nothing says Scottsdale vacation like a palm tree-lined pool, outdoor bar and mountain views. A recent renovation has given this hotel a resort-like upgrade, from new furniture and appliances to outdoor fire pits and cabanas. The all-suite hotel is also perfect for families in search of a full-kitchen or an extra bedroom.

Best Western Plus Sundial

You gotta hand it to this little hotel for breaking the chain mold. Architectural details reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright—such as desert-deco concrete blocks and geometric overhangs—make this centrally located hotel an underrated gem. Clean, affordable and stylish—that’s an all-too-rare hotel trifecta in the budget category.