It's springtime for budget travelers, even if the calendar still says winter.
The economic recession has dampened travel, resulting in smaller crowds and lower room rates. Boutique hotels, luxurious and chic, are opening across North America, offering unique accommodations at a discount. There's never been a cheaper time to book a getaway. Check out the deals:
Ace Hotel and Swim Club; Palm Springs, Calif.: Portland, Ore.'s hippest boutique hotel recently opened up shop in this oasis city. The small chain renovated a former Howard Johnson hotel in the Deepwell neighborhood, which has been home to Eva Gabor and Elizabeth Taylor. Known for its mix of modern furnishings and abstract decor, the hotel's bright white facade and swim-club pool (seen above) have made it the new playground in town.
The hotel's minimalist rooms, which start at $89 a night, feature aluminum paneling and plasma TVs suspended above metal wardrobes. Inside, simple wooden chairs give a nod to '70s design. If you have money to spare, the hotel offers suites with furnished terraces and fireplaces that make them perfect for a romantic getaway.
Hotel Basico; Playa del Carmen, Mexico: It looks like a factory from afar, but it's actually a chic hotel for party-minded jet-setters. The hotel used recycled material like spare tires and pipes to furnish its 15 rooms, which run as low as $160. Not-so-fluffy beds are elevated on platforms and surrounded by whimsical chairs and artful bric-a-brac from local shops.
Hotel Basico is within walking distance to the beach, but guests can also relax in its two refurbished water storage tanks that overlook the azure-blue Caribbean. Later, they can lounge at the Azotea Bar on the roof, where entertainment varies from DJs to the occasional film noir.
Viceroy Miami: This new hotel is part of Icon Brickell, a three-tower complex on Biscayne Bay. The hotel's lobby was designed by Kelly Wearstler, a judge on Bravo's "Top Design," with heavy use of black and white and tufted-sofa seating. Common spaces like the 15th-floor dining room and the restaurant Club 50 are Palm Beach chic with old-money details like a cabana-lined infinity pool overlooking the city.
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