Top 50 hotels under $150

Napa, Aspen, or Maui at under $150 a night? Yes, it’s possible. Check out our fave bargain hotels that don’t skimp on style

Hotel Maya, Long Beach, CA

Poolside R&R done right at Hotel Maya

J.P. Greenwood

Pacific Edge Hotel, Laguna Beach, CA

The Pacific Edge Hotel offers the ultimate SoCal beach experience

Thomas J. Story

Bright Angel Lodge, Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon's Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins is our pick for the people's National Park lodge

Scott Johnson

Hotel Terra, Jackson Hole, WY

Eco chic reigns at Jackson Hole's Hotel Terra

Daniel Hennessy

What’s happening to room rates? We’ve noticed the creep for a while, but now it feels like any hotel near a body of water or mountain or winery, regardless of whether it’s been renovated since the Reagan era, is north of $250 per night. And that’s before you throw in add-ons like parking and wireless.

So we set out to find rooms—weekend rooms—for under $150 per night*. Call us cheap, but for that price we also want our own bathroom, no bedbugs, and rooms, or at the very least lobbies, with a dash of personality. And each one of these hotels is in a place we really want to go. (*All hotels have an under-$150 rate for at least 1 weekend through late spring and summer. Rates do not include tax.) What follows is our list of the best.

Southern California

1. 29 Palms Inn, near Joshua Tree National Park. Just outside the north entrance of the park is an inviting clutch of 20 brightly colored adobe bungalows and wood-frame cabins, plus a pool to splash in after a day spent exploring the park’s desertscape. Many rooms have views across the desert, some from private patios. $132; 2-night minimum; 29palmsinn.com  

2. Hotel Maya, Long Beach. With a cheerily mod lobby, a waterfront pool with cabanas that seem to float, and a brightly colored nuevo Latino vibe, the 196-room Maya is a touch of the tropics in SoCal and got an upgrade in 2009. Ask for a room facing the harbor, not the docks. If you’re headed downtown, a water taxi is definitely the stylish way to go. $148; hotelmayalongbeach.com      

3. Figueroa Hotel, Los Angeles. Moorish-romantic touches like ottomans, lanterns, and magic-carpet rugs give this 1920s hotel an Old World vibe. The theaters and sports arenas of the L.A. Live and Staples Center are right across the street, but it’s just as easy to stay put at the candlelit bar by the bougainvillea-shrouded pool. $148; figueroahotel.com 

4. The Pearl Hotel, San Diego. A block from the harbor, this vintage motel turned boutique hotel has kept its spirit with classic cocktails and movies by the kidney-shaped saltwater pool. Nab a lounge chair before showtime; afterward, head back to your room with a platform bed and va-va-voom mirrored ceiling. $129; thepearlsd.com  

5. Motel 6, Santa Barbara. At the first-ever Motel 6, the 51 rooms have been snazzed up with flat-screen TVs and bold splashes of color. Rooms are tiny, but you’re a half-block from the beach—and in this tony town, you cannot beat the price. $136; motel6.com     

6. Wine Valley Inn, Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Like much of the olde Denmark–loving town of Solvang, the inn looks like it could be the hideout of Snow White, down to the bridge crossing a babbling brook out back. More to the point, though, the 65-room inn is an easy home base for exploring town or driving out to taste the Santa Ynez Valley wineries’ best Pinots. $134; 2-night minimum; winevalleyinn.com     

7. Del Marcos Hotel, Palm Springs. A portrait of Ol’ Blue Eyes greets you in the lobby of this midcentury-modern charmer 1 block from downtown. The 17 rooms wrap around a saltwater pool flanked by striped chaises, a firepit, shuffleboard court, and palm-dotted mountain views that just don’t get old. Cute black cruiser bikes are a bonus. $139; 2-night minimum; delmarcoshotel.com      

8. Pacific Edge Hotel, Laguna Beach. Perhaps it’s the moment when a beach sherpa scurries out with your chair and umbrella on the white-sand beach that happy shock sets in. Or when you’re curled up in a yellow Adirondack above the waves on your beachfront balcony that you’ll shake your head in giddy bafflement. How you can be camped out at a chic hotel on the prettiest stretch of beach in Laguna and not be going into credit card debt is best left a mystery. Here, the shag carpets and polyester pillows of a former 8-building Vacation Village were ripped up, making way for sassy chartreuse walls, Endless Summer surf art, and pillow menus that you’ll appreciate when you’re not on the sand, in one of the 2 pools, or finally taking that surf lesson. $149; pacificedgehotel.com

Next: Northern California

 

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Northern California

9. Boonville Hotel, Anderson Valley. This homey roadhouse in the low-key wine region of Anderson Valley has a sprawling garden out back, a (really good) family-style restaurant spilling from the lobby onto a patio strung with lights, and, upstairs, a hallway lined with 8 tidy, stylish rooms accented by flowers cut from the garden. $125; boonvillehotel.com   

10. Ripplewood Resort, Big Sur. Staying here is a couple steps up from camping—you get all the benefits of sleeping in the forest but have a bathroom, kitchen, and mattress (plus heat if you need it). Of the 17 rustic cabins, we prefer the ones closest to Big Sur River—some have firepits—though they’re pricier. A hearty breakfast at the resort’s cafe isn’t included, but it’s still a steal. $125; 2-night minimum; ripplewoodresort.com   

11. The Cottage Inn, Lake Tahoe. This 22-room B&B is classic Tahoe all the way, down to the knotty-pine paneling, hammocks hung under evergreens, and the path down to a private beach for a bracing dip in the blue, blue lake. Mornings, there’s breakfast on the deck (or, if it’s nippy, in by the fire); afternoons, wine and cookies for the nibbling. $145; 2-night minimum; thecottageinn.com   

12. Point Reyes Seashore Lodge, Point Reyes / Olema. After switchbacking up Highway 1 to Point Reyes, road-weary guests beeline for the row of Adirondack chairs out back with a view of the sloping, sparkling green lawn and gardens. Across the small creek are 70,000 acres of national seashore, not to mention kayaking and oyster slurping up the road at Tomales Bay. The lodge has 22 rooms; get one that faces away from the road. $135; pointreyesseashore.com   

13. The Crescent Hotel, San Francisco. Union Square’s shopping and shows are just down the street, but the hotel’s jazzy Burritt Room bar is a great reason to stay put, Sazerac in hand. The 79 rooms are teensy but stylin’, with white leather headboards, oversize black mirrors, and exposed brick. $149; crescentsf.com       

14. Marina Inn, San Francisco. Pack your earplugs to block out busy Lombard Street when you check into a room that’s more country flowery than city-motel drab. You’re just blocks from the sparkling bay and on top of Chestnut Street’s shops. $99; 2-night minimum; marinainn.com   

15. L&M Motel, Sonoma wine country. The big selling point of this 19-room roadside motel, just off 101, is that it’s a 6-minute walk from Healdsburg square. Run by the great-granddaughter of the original 1940s owners, it has a funky indoor “spa” with a sauna and hot tub. $120; 707/433-6528.      

16. West Sonoma Inn, Sonoma wine country. The main action of this 32-room hotel in Guerneville, a few miles off winery-packed Westside Road, is its lovely pool and wine garden and the winemaker tastings it hosts on some Saturday evenings. The pick of the under-$150 litter is room 128, which looks out to Korbel’s vineyards. $149; 2-night minimum; westsonomainn.com   

17. Maison Fleurie, Napa Valley wine country. Yountville, home of the French Laundry and a row of must-try restaurants, has become a haven for high-end hotels too. The exception is Maison Fleurie, which has 13 small but country-sweet rooms just a stroll from town. $140 (1 room at this rate, with a full bed; others are $170 and up); maisonfleurienapa.com      

18. Doubletree Napa Valley, Napa Valley wine country. Rooms come dear in these parts, and the Doubletree (formerly the Gaia) is one smart solution: 9 miles south of Napa, next to a storage facility along the store-lined main drag into the valley, this pioneer in the eco-hotel trend has 132 just-fine rooms and a courtyard with a pool, hot tub, and lagoon. $109; napavalleyamericancanyon.doubletree.com   

19. Elk Cove Inn, Mendocino Coast. Along the ruggedly spectacular coast south of Mendocino, the Elk Cove Inn is known for its perch above a driftwood-strewn beach. Plus its decadent breakfast and free cocktail hour. There are some truly affordable rooms in the mix, tucked into the 1883 home of a mill supervisor. From $100; 2-night minimum; elkcoveinn.com    

20. Carmel Mission Ranch, Carmel. Yes, this is his place—Mr. Million Dollar Baby and “Make My Day,” the man with 4 Oscars and a face crinkling into monument-dom. But in an era when celebrity enterprises inspire deep suspicion—see “debit card, Kim Kardashian”—Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch delivers. Many Carmel digs tend to be fussy and claustrophobic (not to mention overpriced), but the minute you turn into Mission Ranch’s drive, your blood pressure drops at the sight of so much beautiful space: simple, milk white board-and-batten buildings scattered near a curve of Carmel Bay, with Point Lobos floating on the horizon. Cottages aren’t cheap, but many rooms are so reasonable, you’ll begin to suspect this is Clint’s thank-you gift to all of us who’ve been filling multiplex seats for years. Or maybe he just likes it here—last time we took in the ranch’s Sunday jazz brunch, he was there too, looking like he was having the time of his life. $145; 2-night minimum; missionranchcarmel.com   

Next: Northwest

 

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Northwest

21. Green Springs Inn, near Ashland, OR. Where the Cascades meet the Siskiyous in Southern Oregon, a broad-porched inn draws regulars to a supper of buffalo burgers and marionberry pie. Out back in a grove of firs, 8 unfancy but clean lodge rooms are your jumping-off point for rafting the Klamath and Rogue Rivers or dipping into Ashland for a play. Six of the rooms have a hot tub for a post-hike soak, so ask for one. $89; greenspringsinn.com   

22. Hotel Modera, Portland. A luxe-redux of a frumpy former Days Inn in downtown, the 174-room Modera skimps in only one way: the price. It has a clean-lined modernism, but there’s warmth in the details—like black walnut floors, faux-fur bedspreads, and outdoor firepits. The coolest spot is the courtyard, where you’ll dig the living wall of native plants. $139; hotelmodera.com   

23. Hotel Elliott, Astoria, OR. From the rooftop deck, take in views of the Columbia River clear across to Washington. You’ll hear the rising bustle of “downtown” Astoria—known for its food and its arts scene, not to mention an idyllic seaside spot. A 2003 redo of this 1924 hotel left its 32 rooms pretty posh for the price, with heated bathroom floors and pillowy beds. $139; hotelelliott.com   

24. Chehalem Ridge B&B, Newberg, OR. With a view that it shares only with the hawks, this modern cottage has 4 cozy but unfancy rooms within striking distance of dozens and dozens of Willamette Valley wineries. Breakfast is a multicourse affair that on nice days is served out on the deck. $140; chehalemridge.com   

25. Sylvia Beach Hotel, Newport, OR. Along with an ocean-view, author-themed room (fancy the Steinbeck or the Austen?), and the attic library of your dreams comes a lively communal breakfast in the Tables of Content dining room. Quirky, yes, but if you want to dig into a novel—or just relax—this blue-shingled boardinghouse perched above the surf is your ticket. $139; 2-night minimum; sylviabeachhotel.com 

26. McMenamins Hotel Oregon, Willamette valley wine country, OR. There’s lots to love about this 42-room historic hotel on McMinnville’s Main Street. Even the smaller rooms, which can be had for two digits (and a shared bathroom), come with cotton robes. Then again, the king suite is an easy splurge at $135. Above you is a rooftop bar, below a friendly pub, and all around are Willamette Valley vineyards. $125; mcmenamins.com/hoteloregon 

27. Mt. Hood B&B, Mt. Hood, OR. On cool mornings, a fire blazes in a wood-burning stove, and scents of cinnamon and brown sugar waft from the kitchen, where breakfast is sizzling. Out the window, the perfect pyramid of the mountain rises above the 4-room, Victorian-style farmhouse’s 42 acres of orchards and pasture. $130; mthoodbnb.com 

28. West Beach Resort, San Juan Islands, WA. Way out on the west end of Orcas Island, you can rent one of the resort’s 21 pine cabins (13 have water views) with a wood-fired stove and kitchen. It’s your base for exploring by canoe or bike, crabbing on the beach, and fishing off the pier (feel free to hang your catch in the smokehouse). $140; 2-night minimum; westbeachresort.com 

29. Cedarbrook Lodge, Seattle. Yes, it’s a (free) 5-minute shuttle ride to Sea-Tac, but don’t you dare call it an airport hotel. The 104-room Cedarbrook feels more like a country lodge; it’s set on 18 acres of wetlands 20 minutes south of downtown. And it pours on extras, like a breakfast buffet and afternoon snacks. $129; cedarbrooklodge.com    

30.The Sylvia Hotel, Vancouver, B.C. Ivy climbs up the brick walls of the stately 1912 Sylvia, ideally located across the street from English Bay and a couple of blocks from Stanley Park. Pedal or jog along the seawall to take in the big water views or to dip into downtown, 5 minutes away. $149; sylviahotel.com   

Next: Southwest and Rockies 

 

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Southwest

31. Hotel Andaluz, Albuquerque. A recent renovation polished up the original 1930s Moorish architecture, with plush curtained nooks and beamed ceilings, and the 107 rooms have been completely redone, each with its own personality—one is decorated with balls and jacks, another with photos of famous couples like Lucy and Desi. Drop your bags and head up to tip back cocktails at the rooftop bar. $139; hotelandaluz.com  

32. Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort, Ojo Caliente, NM. This spa retreat offers mineral waters, a mud pool, and miles and miles of trails for practically a pittance. People have been coming here for a century and a half, though never quite so comfortably as since the recent multimillion-dollar overhaul. Bathrooms in the 1916 hotel lack showers—then again, a private nighttime soak next to a kiva fireplace is only $50. $139; ojospa.com  

33. Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, AZ. In its first life, back in the ’50s, with Bing Crosby and Zsa Zsa Gabor hanging around, the Valley Ho was no slouch. But its second life, since a 2005 reboot, may be even more happening: parties around the pool and mai tais in the on-site Trader Vic’s. The 193 colorful rooms have luxe touches (feather-top beds, flat-screen TVs, private balconies) that can make them pricey, but time it right and you can nab a steal. $144 last weekend of May with advance purchase, $139 most of Jun–Aug; hotelvalleyho.com  

34. El Rey Inn, Santa Fe. A traditional 1930s roadside motel along what was once Route 66, the El Rey is a 5-acre tangle of gardens, courtyards, and patio nooks. The 86 rooms are filled with paintings, carved headboards, and armoires by local artists. It’s a good 2 miles into downtown, but a bus stops right out front and the distance will save you big-time bucks. $99; elreyinnsantafe.com  

35. The Historic Taos Inn, Taos. As Southwest as they come, from the rockin’ margaritas and bedside kiva fireplaces right up to the exposed-beam ceilings. This 1936 slice of history has 44 rooms (with free ethernet, not Wi-Fi; the adobe walls are too thick for it) and is just a block from the plaza. Its hopping restaurant and great wine list also give you a wonderful excuse to stay put. $105; taosinn.com 

36. Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins, Grand Canyon. The people’s national park lodge Let the fancy national park hotels—the Ahwahnees and El Tovars—host the platinum-card-toting swells who order their personal assistants to carry them down to Plateau Point and back up again. That’s not Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Lodge. Like the national parks themselves, Bright Angel is democracy in action, awe for everybody. That mile-deep canyon outside the front door? For you! The mule rides you book at the front desk? Yours too. And so are the rickety but charming cabins, the ice cream parlor, and—best of all—the lodge’s fireplace, its rock layers perfectly duplicating those of the canyon, from Vishnu Schist to Kaibab Limestone. And all these pleasures come at prices just about anybody can pay. E pluribus amazing. $113; grandcanyonlodges.com 

Rockies

37. The Limelight Lodge, Aspen, CO. Aspen is easy to love but tricky to afford. The Limelight bridges the gap with a good downtown location and chic look, but rates that are friendlier than the town’s more storied hotels. Now that the snow is going, going, gone, book one of the lodge’s 126 rooms and take in the green mountain views. An add-on we like: The nightly resort fee (included in the room rate) gets you perks like airport pickup, ski valet, and gym access. $133; limelightlodge.com       

38. Hotel Terra, Jackson Hole, WY. Before Memorial Day, you can slip into this stylin’ eco hotel for as low as $125. Soak up luxe touches like flat-screen TVs, heated bathroom floors, deep tubs, and a third-floor infinity pool that looks out over the village and up the mountain’s slope. $125; hotelterrajacksonhole.com    

39. Mariposa Lodge B&B, Steamboat Springs, CO. They cook up a mean breakfast at this homey 4-room ranch house on the banks of Soda Creek, with bentwood rockers on the wraparound porch and homemade quilts on pine-log beds. Now that ski season’s over, Steamboat is primed for hiking and biking on Emerald Mountain, plus kayaking down the Yampa River in search of the hot springs along its shores. $139; 2-night minimum; steamboatmariposa.com  

40. Vail Mountain Lodge, Vail, CO. The rooms at this cushy yet rustic mountain lodge have gas fireplaces and soaking tubs, and the rate includes freebies like breakfast at the bistro and all the yoga and Pilates classes you can take in the massive gym. Nearby, explore the village or amble along Gore Creek. $139; vailmountainlodge.com  

Next: Hawaii, Mexico, and our top picks for 4-star service at 2-star prices   

 

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Hawaii

41. Ha‘iku Plantation Inn, Maui. This sugar plantation turned 4-room inn in Maui’s horsey upcountry is close to the Haleakala Crater, Pa‘ia town, and the gorgeous beach at Baldwin.  So you get a head start on all the Hana day-trippers schlepping from the resorty south shore. $119; haikuleana.net 

42. Ohana Waikiki East, Honolulu, Oahu. If you’re willing to walk a couple of blocks to the beach, you can save big bucks at the 441-room Ohana Waikiki East high-rise hotel—or either of its sister hotels, the Waikiki Malia or Waikiki West. Here’s the deal: You get a no-frills room (ask for an upper floor to cut down on street noise) and a pass to the trolley that endlessly circles Waikiki. $105; ohanahotels.com  

43. Hotel Lana‘i, Lanai. Lanai is the most fancy-pants of all the Hawaiian islands—virtually every visitor is bound for one of its two Four Seasons Resorts. But a few choose the Hotel Lana‘i in town, built in 1923 for pineapple plantation execs. The 11 rooms aren’t 5-star but are loaded with charm: Hawaiian quilts on the bed, hardwood floors, white wainscoting. Dinner here isn’t cheap, but it’s a must. $99; hotellanai.com  

Mexico

44. Petit Hotel Hafa, Sayulita. The laid-back vibe at this family-owned boutique hotel suits Sayulita’s slow charms. But the joint’s got style too, with Moroccan- and Mediterranean-inspired decor in the 6 rooms and rooftop lounge. Wander the 2 blocks to the beach or hit up owners Christophe and Marina for other local faves. $50; 3-night minimum; hotelhafasayulita.com    

45. Villa Amor, Sayulita. Life is all right from a private villa on the cliffs high above Sayulita Bay. Each of the 42 rooms and suites here is different in its own arty way, but all have coastal views and a gauzy-curtained bed. Tip: Rates are halved in the low season (Jul–Sep). $110; villaamor.com   

46. Villa Mirasol, San Miguel de Allende. Hotel Built around a pretty terra-cotta-colored courtyard, this 12-room hotel (once a house) is just a few blocks from the main square of one of Mexico’s most loved hill towns. Tile floors and wrought-iron headboards charm. $70; villamirasolhotel.com  

47. The Hotelito, Todos Santos. An unmarked dirt road just outside town leads you to the brightly colored casitas at the Hotelito, where each of the 7 rooms comes with a private patio slung with a lacy rope hammock. The beach is a short walk; you can also just plunge into the saltwater pool. $90; 2-night minimum; thehotelito.com      

Top picks: 4-star service, 2-star price 

These hotels are a schlep from any major airport, but the payoff is huge.

48. La Posada,Winslow, AZ. Everyone needs to see this. Got it? Everybody needs to see La Posada. The last great Western railroad hotel is out in the middle of nowhere, but that was the idea: Iconic architect Mary Colter designed this 45-room masterpiece to lure travelers to the Painted Desert and nearby Petrified Forest. Now the trackside hacienda, 3 hours from Phoenix, has been restored so you can marvel at its spectacular public spaces and Turquoise Room restaurant. $109; laposada.org

49. Grand Union Hotel, Fort Benton, MT. One of the West’s most opulent hotels happens to be in a sleepy Montana river town, sunken into the plains about 31/2 hours east of Missoula. The Grand Union dates from the era when Fort Benton was a bustling steamboat port on the Upper Missouri; now the town’s cottonwood-shaded streets have a slower pace. Lavishly restored, this hotel is a red‑brick palace with 26 rooms, a very good restaurant, and a sense of magic that comes from finding something splendid in an unlikely setting. $130; grandunionhotel.com

50. Marcus Whitman Hotel, Walla Walla, WA. Its fame as an up-and-coming wine producer notwithstanding, at heart Walla Walla—about 4 hours east of Portland—remains an easygoing farm town. Which is why the Marcus Whitman is such a surprise. The 1928 vintage tower in downtown is urbane without ever seeming snooty, and the Marc Restaurant has a wine list packed with great local Cabs and Syrahs. $149; marcuswhitmanhotel.com

 

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