Leave the chain budget-hotels behind.
If you’re traveling the United States on a budget, odds are you’ve spent far too many nights staring at the dingy discolored ceiling of a motel, inn, or low-cost chain. You’ve dreaded returning to your hotel at the end of a long day, questioned the cleanliness of the sheets, and begrudgingly consumed your free “buffet” breakfast that consisted of a bruised banana, dry packaged muffin, and instant coffee. The bar for what constitutes acceptable budget lodging in the U.S. has been set incredibly low and travelers have come to expect a no-frills experience. But these 12 accommodations break the mold. Scattered across the United States, each of these hotels is under $100 per night and offers extra perks and unexpected comforts to weary travelers looking to leave the chain budget-hotels behind.
Top Picks for You
Madame Isabelle's House ($42)
WHERE: New Orleans, Louisiana
Escape the hedonistic chaos of Bourbon Street to Madame Isabelle’s eclectically decorated little pink house. For as low as $42 per night, you can enjoy an intimate private room for two that’s a short walk from the French Quarter. In addition to being right in the culinary heart of New Orleans, this lovely communal-style hotel captures the quirkiness of NOLA with its mismatched colorful decor. A jacuzzi, palm-tree shaded backyard, and free breakfast are all generous perks added to an already exceedingly affordable property.
The Green Tortoise Hostel ($36)
WHERE: Seattle, Washington
Solo travelers, this one is for you. Although the Green Tortoise Hostel offers only dorm rooms (starting at $36 per night), you won’t find a more fun or better-positioned accommodation in all of Seattle. Around the corner from the hostel is Pike’s Place Market–home of infamous fish tossing, the first Starbucks, and the epitome of quirky Seattle culture. The hostel is also within walking distance from all the best downtown restaurants, Capital Hill bars, and the iconic Space Needle. But the Green Tortiouse doesn’t just make the cut because of its prime location. It’s the over-the-top amenities that seal the deal. Guests can expect free meals (not just a simple breakfast), free walking tours, and free community events meant to help you get a feel for the grungy Seattle culture.
Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort ($40 for private)
Over 4 million people swarm Yosemite National Park each year, all jostling for views of the sheer granite face of El Capitan and the smooth curve of Half Dome. And inevitably space in the region’s few hotels. Constructed at the backdoor of America’s most beautiful national park, this “resort” is geared toward outdoorsy, adventurous, and eco-conscious budget travelers. For $40 a night, you’ll sleep in a simple, yet functional, glamping-style tent and have an all-access pass to soaking tubs in their outdoor spa. Perfect for relaxing your aching muscles after a long day of hiking. But the best part of The Bug isn’t the cute rooms, the price, or even the excellent location–it’s the phenomenal on-site restaurant. Nourish your body with locally-sourced hearty meals, or grab a takeaway bag to fuel your full day in the park.
Islander Inn ($65)
WHERE: Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina
Exceptional oceanfront accommodation on a budget? Unlikely. But apparently, not impossible. Tropical-themed rooms with hardwood floors, a foliage-adorned turquoise indoor pool, massive outdoor pool area, jacuzzi tubs, gym, and picturesque wooden boardwalk leading straight to the beach can all be yours for only $65 a night. Islander Inn offers all the amenities of a luxury hotel without costing an arm and a leg. They even have an on-site tiki bar and a complimentary pancake breakfast. If and when you decide to leave the pool and your private beach behind, you’re just a quick drive from the popular resort-goer destination of Myrtle Beach.
Carlton Arms Hotel ($80)
WHERE: New York City
This is no ordinary hotel. The Carlton Arms is an artistic masterpiece. This storied, somewhat spooky, 54-room hotel towering above East Manhattan has worn many hats in its 100-year history. What began as a ritzy hotel became a decadent speakeasy in the prohibition era, before eventually devolving into a disheveled house of ill-repute. In the ’80s, the historic hotel was given a facelift by a paintbrush and hundreds of talented New York artists. Today each room, bathroom, and hallway is covered in elaborate original murals that are ever-changing. It’s a kind of live-in museum for art enthusiasts. A stay here, in the heart of NYC, will only set you back $80.
Coeur de Lion BNB ($81)
WHERE: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
This absolutely massive guesthouse just outside of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s prettiest city, offers travelers a chance to unwind in a scenic landscape. Whimsical decor, incredible hosts, and a restaurant-quality free breakfast feast await guests. Pair the exceptional service with stunning views of Pacific Northwest Forest, easy access to two major cities, Silverwood Theme Park, paragliding or boating on Lake Coeur d’Alene, and an on-site sunroom and outdoor BBQ and it’s clear this guesthouse packs a punch.
The Snowed Inn ($88)
WHERE: Killington, Vermont
The idyllic countryside of Vermont is known for its high-priced BnB’s, but at The Snowed Inn, you can enjoy a quaint cabin-getaway without the high-pricetag. Travelers who choose to sleep in their “Sapling” room can listen to the soothing sounds of a babbling brook outside their window, soak in their outdoor hot tub, and warm up by the crackling real wood fireplace in the living room. If the decadent free Belgium waffle breakfast wasn’t enough, you’ll also get a daily offering of fresh baked goods to sustain you until dinner in their on-site wine bar. This budget-friendly property is perfect for hitting the ski slopes in winter or a comfortable place to stay on your New England leaf-peeping road trip.
The Brewery Lodge & Supper Club ($79)
WHERE: Michigan City, Indiana
This brick-covered cottage is straight out of fairy-tale. Surrounded by fluttering golden aspens, this lodge looks old-school but the rooms are decadently modern with massive beds and warm decor. This region of Indiana is renowned for its breweries and distilleries, and beer enthusiasts will jump at the all-inclusive brewery tour offered (for an additional price) at the lodge. After a full day of hopping around the region’s 8+ breweries and 6+ distilleries and wineries, you can enjoy a hearty elk burger at the on-site Supper Club. If you’re not someone to imbibe, you will still enjoy the warm lodge atmosphere and tranquil wildlife-filled property.
The Society Hotel ($77)
WHERE: Portland, Oregon
To score affordable accommodation in Portland without ending up in a grisly area, look no further than The Society Hotel. Walking distance from practically all major tourist attractions in Portland, you’ll enjoy rooftop views of the city in this stunningly renovated 19th-century historical building. Bright breakfast nooks, rooftop bars, and trendy coffee corners add to the hotel’s luxurious ambiance and the staff is ready to give great recommendations for exploring the city independently. Rooms are simple and bathrooms are shared, but with the average hotel price in Portland topping $150 per night, this is an absolute steal.
Yellowstone Gateway Inn ($89)
WHERE: Gardiner, Montana
Designed more like a rental property than a traditional hotel, the Yellowstone Gateway Inn offers guests a cozy room (many of which with a fully equipped kitchen) for only $89 per night. Gardiner itself is little more than a speck on a map, but the geysers, rainbow-hued sulfur pots, rugged hiking, and unparalleled wildlife viewing the nearby national park offers bring travelers to the region. The rooms are decked out in Native American art and local wildlife photos, stocked with thick blankets to ward off the brisk Montana weather, and it’s not uncommon for a stray elk to lumber across the front yard of the property.
The Revolution Hotel ($90)
WHERE: Boston, Massachusetts
Regularly offering price cuts, extra free perks, and continuously running discounts for artists, teachers, and students, you’ll seldom have to pay full-price at The Revolution. This ultra-modern sleek hotel has an on-site gym (equipped with Peloton Bikes), a virtual concierge that knows all things Boston, free bike rentals for exploring the city, and a plethora of other niche amenities such as a Spirituality library and full access to their Well + Fit program during your stay. Your room will be decorated boldly with bright colors and stocked with plushy robes and slippers for each guest. Be sure to grab a coffee to go at their coffee shop (all beans locally sourced, of course) or dinner at Cosmica their stellar Cal-Mex restaurant and tequila bar.