The Roundup

Design On a Dime: Stylish, Affordable Hotels Across the U.S.A.

by Team Fathom
Photo courtesy of The Asbury.

You don't have to have deep pockets to travel richly. Take a page from our book, Travel North America (And Avoid Being a Tourist), and seek out good design on a dime.

Who says a stay in the city has to be expensive? These U.S. hotels deliver on style and service, not on price tag.

The Asbury, Asbury Park, New Jersey

The town’s Victorian-era past will mix with its rock ’n’ roll present on the Jersey Shore. Bunk with friends in dorm-style rooms that sleep up to eight or stick with a king or queen room for privacy. The beach is two blocks away, but a pool is right at hand. The fun scene on the rooftop includes yoga classes, an outdoor drive-in-style movie theater, and a cocktail bar that hosts a rotating list of DJs.

Photo by Paul Bardagly.

Hotel Eleven, Austin, Texas

This fourteen-room boutique in the up-and- coming East 11th Street neighborhood strikes a careful balance between the city's alternative spirit and contemporary design principles. Every space is unique, but you can count on cozy interiors, ample natural light, and sleek bathrooms throughout. Most guest rooms include private Juliet balconies, but for more fresh air head up to the rooftop and take in the 360-degree city views. Because the hotel is just down the street from Franklin Barbecue – the best BBQ joint in town – there's no excuse not to be first in line. 

Photo by Christian Harder / courtesy of The Dean.

The Dean, Providence, Rhode Island

 Designed to reflect the city’s history and culture, this masculine boutique hotel is filled with locally made furniture and found objects from Europe. Pick up a
mic and get down with your favorite tunes in a private room at The Boombox, Providence’s first and only karaoke lounge.

Photo courtesy of The Marlton.

The Marlton Hotel, New York, New York

Channeling a Parisian hôtel particulier in Greenwich Village, this place is elegant without having an ounce of snobbishness. The cozy lobby living room has lots of seating, a cafe kiosk, free WiFi, and a roaring fire; bistro Margaux has a solarium perfect for quiet breakfasts and two-top banquettes for buzzy dinner dates. The rooms are bright and feminine, but tiny, so come in a cozy state of mind.

Photo courtesy of Boon Hotel.

Boon Hotel + Spa, Guerneville, California

This Russian River Valley hotel is clean and cozy, fun and free-spirited, and well-positioned near the farm-to- table restaurants of Healdsburg and the vineyards of Sonoma County. Grab a bike and go exploring, hit the saltwater pool and spa for hangover relief and the outdoor hot tub for midnight smooching. 

Photo courtesy of Hotel Normandie.

Hotel Normandie, Los Angeles, California

Bohemian minimalism prevails in this budget-friendly Koreatown hotel where tiny rooms make up for the lack of space with beautifully restored wood floors, plush bedding, and glimmering white tile. The charming lobby is a wonderful place to sip an espresso while taking in the wood beam ceilings, glowing chandeliers, and the public-use typewriter. 

Photo courtesy of Life House.

Life House Little Havana, Miami, Florida

In the heart of Miami’s Cuban quarter, this hotel lives and breathes the spirit of its locale. The historic 1920s, guava-tinted Art Deco mansion has been filled with tropical plants (many of which are edible), vintage rattan furniture, and Afro-Cuban ceramics, and has a large outdoor courtyard draped with hammocks inviting guests to retire with mojitos on balmy Miami nights. Other sister hotels in Miami are just as welcoming.

Photo courtesy of Pacific Edge.

Pacific Edge Hotel, Laguna Beach, California

Playful and nautical, laid-back and family friendly, it's essentially a beach pass with benefits on a perfect stretch of Southern California sand, with waterfront views, beach bungalows, open-air dining, and an ocean-to-table restaurant.

Photo courtesy of The Dreamcatcher.

The Dreamcatcher, San Juan, Puerto Rico

The capital’s only vegetarian bed and breakfast delights with twelve boho-chic rooms, each equipped with a dreamcatcher, just steps from the beach in the residential Ocean Park area. Morning yoga, a luscious breakfast and brunch, tarot card readings, and adventure tours ensure you’re blissed out from the moment you arrive.

Photo by Adrian Gaut / Grupo Habita.

The Robey, Chicago, Illinois

Mexican hoteliers Grupo Habita continue their tradition of repurposing old structures in clever, contemporary ways. Here, Art Deco designs are fused with mid-century
modern furniture in a sleek, minimalist palette of lights and darks, resulting in a confident mix of Americana. Two onsite watering holes and a triangular rooftop pool round out the offerings on the border of Wicker Park and Bucktown.

Photo by Hannah Koehler / courtesy of Hotel San Jose.

Hotel San José, Austin, Texas

This cool, mid-century motor lodge in South Congress got a stylish minimalist makeover in forty bungalow-style rooms. Subdued spaces are punctuated with bold decor like colorful serape-patterned pillows and cowhide rugs. If the design doesn't leave you feeling rejuvenated, the onsite pool, courtyard, and gardens are guaranteed to do the trick. Custom- made kimono bathrobes and old- school tech on loan (think typewriters and Polaroid cameras) are just a few of the quirky, thoughtful amenities.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho.

Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, Arizona

The desert hideaway that used to welcome Bing Crosby and Zsa Zsa Gabor is now a vibrant and stylish hotel where vintage charm and updated luxury meet around the corner from some of the best dining, shopping, and entertainment in town. Two buildings offer different experiences: The Tower has a pool, mountain views, and rooms with private balconies, while The Hotel is dressed in Arizona artwork and floor-to-ceiling glass walls that open onto a sizable patio.

Photo courtesy of Farmer's Daughter.

Farmer's Daughter, Los Angeles, California

A trendy boutique with a flirty vibe and down-home country stylings (rooms have denim duvets, plaid curtains, and custom-made wooden chairs) on a happening strip in West Hollywood. Perks include an outdoor pool and sundeck, discounts at a nearby fitness center, and easy access to big-ticket museums, indie shopping, and the historic farmers' market at The Grove.

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Excerpted with permission from Travel North America: (and Avoid Being a Tourist) by Pavia Rosati and Jeralyn Gerba, published by Hardie Grant Books, June 2021.

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