LOS ANGELES (
) -- Sure, you can find a hip hotel room for around $100 a night in cities like S.F. or Miami, but what about the rest of the world, where the euro and other foreign currencies reign?
In an attempt to woo foreign travelers and fill idle rooms, a few select hoteliers are promoting great travel deals. But these aren't just any hoteliers. These design hotels are some of the best in their markets, boasting cutting-edge design, trendy lobbies and desirable addresses that prove that the rich aren't the only ones who can still afford to globetrot.
Starck + Paris = 79 euros:
Sacre bleu! When Philippe Starck pulled out his magic marker in Paris's 20th, many were unsure whether the city's cultural guard would schlep to the most remote arrondissement. But the combination of a truly ingenious design hotel and rock-bottom 79-euro-a-night room rates has made it the hotel success of the city. Located in St. Blaise, Paris' hottest up-and-coming neighborhoods, the hotel is near macabre landmark Pere Lachaise Cemetery and its eternal residents that include Moliere, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison.
Mama Shelter is a budget boutique brand started by the owners of Club Med and French philosopher Cyril Aouizerate. The hotel's lobby intrigues even fluent design travelers, free of all-white gimmicks with impractical seating, like the first floor Chic-Chic lounge with its vamp decor atop slate-colored stone floors and ceiling floated with endless scribbles and philosophic ramblings. An adjacent brasserie serves exactly what you want in Paris, namely a good steak frites and a menagerie of seafood dishes. Rooms are better than what you expect for the price, with wall-mounted Apple TVs and floor-to-ceiling windows with neighborhood views.
Don't cry for $$$$ in Argentina:
Like a modern spin on a Miami Beach boutique hotel,
rise above the heart of Palermo Hollywood like an embassy of '90s Schragerism contained within two sexy metal-and-glass towers. A pristine stark white lobby is lined in polished concrete floors with minimalist leather furnishings. Free of a concierge or in-house restaurant, the property mixes the anonymity and business elements of an apartment hotel with the hip factor of an architectural design hotel. Priced from $89 a night, the result is a refined, affordable accommodation for those who don't need the white-glove service of a five-star hotel.
The rooftop pool at Buenos Aires' Hollywood Suites.
Loft apartments and smaller guest suites are an ode to sterile urban space with tall ceilings and wide-open windows revealing views of the Buenos Aires skyline. Lofts feature bi-level living areas that measure around 1,200-square-feet in size, decorated with stylishly modest furnishings and artwork. Each loft has a full kitchen including a super-complicated espresso machine and dining table sufficient to host a dinner party. The best amenity of all, however, is the rooftop lap pool and lounge terrace.
Design discounted down under:
With the Australian dollar trading at an all-time high against the U.S. dollar, it's not as easy as it used to be to find a deal down under. Priced at $113 Australian ($101), it's one of the best deals you'll find for a four-star boutique hotel in Sydney. But the
isn't just any design hotel, it was one of Australia's first boutique hotels in ever-cool Darlinghurst, known for its shopping catwalk and foodie dining scene. Fresh off a 2008 makeover, the starlet-stalked lobby designed by Connie Alessi strikes a tone reminiscent of Paris' Marais. While there is no restaurant or bar to burn the midnight oil, the hotel is close to area nightlife action.
Kirketon, much like its guests, is all about the visual. A central staircase lined in rich satin-gray fabric with shiny-silver chandelier hanging from above interconnects the hotel's 40 guest rooms and suites. Standard accommodations are compact one-room spaces in a signature silver-gray color scheme with satin window covering, ornate beveled mirrors and small writing table with Wi-Fi connection and daily newspaper. Bathrooms are clean white spaces.
Queen Mary in a N.Y. box:
All reviews for the
should be prefaced with the price, $99 a night in New York's hip West Village that's close enough to stagger home from the Meatpacking District, Chelsea and SoHo. Originally a hotel for naval soldiers before becoming a YMCA in 1944, the historic brick building features an old-style check-in counter with wooden key boxes and cute bell staff outfitted in '20s double-breasted vests. Owned by Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode (Maritme, Bowery Hotel), the hipster hoteliers operate a new lobby bar that offers a cozy steamer-style parlor with a riverfront cafe slated to open soon.
It's one of the few local hotel experiences that allow visitors to truly live like a New Yorker. Mornings are spent with the jogging masses along the Hudson River before returning to fully functional living spaces thoughtfully conceived within 50 to 200 square feet. Yes, 50 really well-conceived square feet modeled after a ship's cabins compete with wood paneling, plasma TVs and a luggage rack. Bathroom? All rooms share communal bathrooms, clean white subway tile and private shower stalls, located at the end of the hall on each floor free of seaman or YMCA jokes.
London via Bangkok:
It's the cheapest way to experience the legendary Como Shambhala Spa experience, with its starry outposts in Bhutan, London, Bali and the Caribbean. Priced at $99 a night,
is a Siam steal, especially in the first weeks on the country's high-travel season still green from the preceding monsoon season. A high-rise facade and South Sathorn address translate to a surprisingly tranquil lobby of dark wood furnishings positioned against sterile white walls and limestone floors. Home to two of Bangkok's top celeb eateries, Cy'an and Glow, each offer poolside or outdoor dining as well as direct access to the hotel's outpost of Met Bar.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.