What $200 Gets You in Hotels Across the Country
Whether staying in the heart of Times Square or near Disney World, these hotels prove that luxury doesn't have to cost a fortune.
Photo By: The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa
Photo By: Joshua Haines Interiors
Photo By: citizenM/Richard Powers
Photo By: Arizona Biltmore
Photo By: Hotel Monteleone
Photo By: Heathman Hotel
Photo By: The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa
Photo By: Archer Hotel Austin
Photo By: Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center
Photo By: Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island Hotel
Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, Riverside, Calif.
The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa is a destination retreat about an hour outside of Los Angeles. The Spanish Mission-style resort dates back to 1876, and if its walls could talk, it would tell you about its celebrity guests, who ranged from Cary Grant to Albert Einstein. Presidents were fond of it too — the Nixons held their wedding at Mission Inn, while the Reagans honeymooned there. In fact, the historic grounds are so impressive that daily tours are offered to the public. But guests get to take full advantage of multiple restaurants, a heated outdoor pool and one of the best spas in the country. The rooms aren’t too shabby either, since even many of the least-expensive ones feature balconies with views of the courtyard, pool or the pretty town of Riverside.
The Publishing House Bed and Breakfast, Chicago
The intimate addition of The Publishing House to the trendy West Loop scene feels like staying at a wealthy friend’s renovated townhome. The building, more than 100 years old, maintains its historic charm with exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. Despite its bed and breakfast status, the interior is more design-forward than old-fashioned. Each of the 11 rooms is individually decorated with items like platform beds, teal velvet couches and cowhide rugs. Second City is the least expensive room and just 220 square feet, but even that gets you a queen-size bed, flatscreen TV, large bathroom and robe. There are also comfortable common living and dining areas. Speaking of the latter, the gourmet breakfast, which might involve French press coffee, homemade banana cake and eggs, is not to be missed.
The citizenM chain brands itself as affordable luxury, and it’s able to provide quality accommodations by doing away with certain services, such as dry cleaning and bellhops. That doesn’t mean guests endure a bare-bones experience. The popular European chain is a game changer in notoriously expensive cities like New York. In fact, Times Square is the first U.S. outpost of the trendy, high-tech chain, where a stylish, modern lobby overflowing with colorful artwork and décor greets guests. Though rooms are small, each manages to fit a king-sized bed and functional desk. Plus, a wall-length picture window, extra soundproofing and a rain shower are high-end touches that aren’t a given in more expensive hotels. A casual 24/7 cafe, rooftop bar and fitness room are additional differentiators at this price point. A new Bowery location on the Lower East Side, located in the world’s tallest modular hotel, is another worthy option.
Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix
Five-star luxury is definitely within reach during summer’s low season at this Waldorf Astoria property in Phoenix. Among the resort highlights worth mentioning are eight swimming pools, seven tennis courts and a comprehensive spa containing a salon, fitness center with classes and locker rooms, sauna and more. Dining options offer numerous casual and upscale restaurants, including afternoon tea. And Wright’s at the Biltmore differentiates itself by incorporating Native American ingredients into the menu. Not that the resort needs additional incentives to visit, but those who don’t mind summer temperatures will be also treated to block party programming — think poolside movies, themed pool parties, snow cones, live music and more.
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans
Iconic, centrally located and possibly haunted, the Hotel Monteleone proves an exceptional value when rates drop. The property dates back to the early 19th century and counts Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and William Faulkner among its roster of famous guests. You can read more here about the resident guests who haunt the hotel. Regardless, today’s experience provides updated rooms that maintain their traditional feel, along with a rooftop pool and fitness center, rooftop yoga classes and a full-service spa. Just as famous as the hotel is the Carousel Bar & Lounge, a destination in and of itself. True to its name, the bar is an actual revolving carousel, minus the horses. And when you’re ready to explore the city, Royal Street, and the heart of the French Quarter, is just beyond.
Heathman Hotel, Portland, Ore.
If the Heathman Hotel looks familiar, that could be because scenes from Fifty Shades of Grey were filmed here. But the hotel isn’t a newcomer to the downtown Portland scene. The iconic building dates back to 1927, although its reputation doesn’t rest upon its bygone days. This historic venue is nearing the end of an extensive renovation that will reveal a more modern look throughout the hotel. However, room amenities remain the same, such as robes and slippers, local coffee and tea and even a bed menu, allowing guests to choose from three mattress options. Also of note, is the hotel’s extensive collection of signed books, believed to be one of the largest collections in the world with more than 2,700 autographed works. Memorable dining options include the Russian tea experience in the lounge, as well as the renovated Headwaters restaurant. Both are overseen by Chef Vitaly Paley, who holds the James Beard Best Chef Northwest honor. Luckily, snagging a room for less than $200 is possible between November and February.
The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Vail Valley, Colo.
It’s possible to snag affordable rates outside of ski season at this Vail Valley resort, and warmer weather means festivals, rodeos, fly-fishing, hiking and golf throughout the area. Even standard rooms offer 400 square feet, making the property ideal for family vacations. Speaking of size, the spa sprawls across 27,000 square feet, containing 14 treatment rooms, a saltwater pool, salon and a fitness center. Fitness class offerings rivaling a gym schedule are also held year-round, such as pilates, kickboxing and aerial yoga. Summer also brings paddleboard yoga, along with live music outside of Maya, a stylish restaurant serving modern Mexican fare.
Archer Hotel Austin, Texas
One of Austin’s newest boutique hotels combines the best of rustic chic with modern amenities and Texan flair. Even better, the Archer Hotel Austin claims a prime location in Domain Northside, a new popular shopping district. As a four-star property, even the least expensive rooms offer Frette bathrobes, Malin and Goetz toiletries and king-sized beds. Welcoming handmade salted caramels, floor-to-ceiling murals and Nespresso coffee machines are additional luxe touches. Beyond the rooms, local favorite Second Bar + Kitchen added another location at the Archer. Its seasonal dishes from Chef David Bull attract foodies beyond the hotel, although guests can take advantage of cooking classes and even experience being chef for a day. And while there’s no on-site spa, the hotel has partnered with Viva Day Spa just around the corner.
Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Kissimmee, Fla.
Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center is just minutes from all the Disney action, yet rates dip below $200 during off-season — including the coveted atrium-view rooms. Regardless of the rate, free shuttle service to and from the theme parks and Downtown Disney is provided to all guests. In a way, the property feels like an extension of a Disney park, complete with a glass-enclosed, 4.5-acre botanical garden that’s filled with towering palm trees and small waterfalls. Guests can even take a tour to learn more about the various plants and features. The garden isn’t the only amenity for those with some free time; there’s a 25,000-square-foot spa, shopping, multiple restaurants and a water park complete with amusement-park-worthy water slides.
Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island Hotel, S.C.
Even during peak season, $200 rates (or close to them) can be found at the four-star Sonesta Resort Hilton Head resort on Hilton Head Island. This price nets you a beachfront location on a property that’s benefitted from a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2013. There’s a full-service spa, meandering pools, manicured grounds and large rooms with either balconies or patios. And since Hilton Head offers plenty of activities, a bike rental service allows guests to take advantage of the island’s extensive trails. Those wishing to maximize their resort time will find a 24/7 fitness center, plus a neighboring tennis court and golf course. Five dining options also present tempting reasons to stay put, not least of which is the Friday night seafood buffet, a long-standing tradition.