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Napa * Aspen * Maui: at under $150 a night? Yes, it's possible. Our guide to 50 bargain hotels that don't skimp on style.

50 UNDER $150

Dear hoteliers, What's happening to your 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. (A tip: No one who pays a grand for a weekend in a shmancy hotel feels good forking over $18 for Internet. Ever.)



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--say Palm Springs, Portland, Big Sur, Laguna Beach, or Jackson Hole.

Happy travels, The Sunset staff

* All hotels have an under-$l50 rate for at least 1 weekend in May (for many hotels, you can get this rate for multiple weekends through September). Rates do not include tax




29 Palms Inn 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; FREE BREAKFAST POOL DOG-FRIENDLY

2 LONG BEACH Hotel Maya 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; hotetmayalong FREE WI-FI POOL COASTAL DOG-FRIENDLY

3 LOS ANGELES Figueroa Hotel

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 if s just as easy to stay put at the candlelit bar by the bougainvillea-shrouded pool. $148; POOL CAR-FREE

4 SAN DIEGO The Pearl Hotel 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. $125; FREE WI-FI POOL CAR-FREE



5 SANTA BARBARA Motel 6 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; POOL COASTAL DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE


6 SANTA YNEZ VALLEY WINE COUNTRY Wine Valley Inn 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; wine FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE


7 PALM SPRINGS Del Marcos Hotel A portrait of Ol' Blue Eyes greets you in the lobby of this midcentury-modern charmer 7 block from downtown. The 17 rooms wrap around a saltwater pool flanked by striped chaises, a firepit, shuffle-board court, and palm-dotted mountain views that just don't get old. Cute black cruiser bikes are a bonus. $139; 2-night minimum; del FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI POOL DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE

8 LAGUNA BEACH Pacific Edge Hotel


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; FREE WI-FI POOL COASTAL DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE





9 ANDERSON VALLEY Boonville Hotel 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI CAR-FREE


10 BIG SUR Ripplewood Resort 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. (At press time, spring storms had affected Big Sur access. Check road conditions.) $125; 2-night minimum; FREE WI-FI

11 LAKE TAHOE The Cottage Inn 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI


12 POINT REYES/OLEMA Point Reyes Seashore Lodge After switchbacking up Highway 7 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; pointreyessea FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI

13 SAN FRANCISCO The Crescent Hotel 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. $14$; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE SPA


14 SAN FRANCISCO Marina Inn 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI CAR-FREE

15 SONOMA WINE COUNTRY L&M Motel 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. FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI POOL DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE



West Sonoma Inn 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI POOL DOG-FRIENDLY SPA

17 NAPA VALLEY WINE COUNTRY Maison Fleurie 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 (7 room at this rate, with a full bed; others are $170 and up); FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI POOL DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE



18 NAPA VALLEY WINE COUNTRY Doubletree Napa Valley 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. $103; napavalleyamericancanyon.double FREE WI-FI POOL SPA

19 MENDOCINO COAST Elk Cave Inn 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI COASTAL SPA


CARMEL Mission Ranch


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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI COASTAL

20 Budget secrets from a hotel master

California's Joie de Vivre hotels have earned a cult following for their boutiquey vibe within reach. We talk to founder Chip Conley about his magic touch.

Beach hotels are notoriously pricey. How do you keep yours affordable?

We focus on decor instead of revamping the architecture. We brighten rooms with accent painting and use lots of photography, which is a great way to connect the hotel to its place.

There was a time when we thought a grand lobby like you see in Hawaii was the definition of a great beach hotel, but it's more important to have space in the rooms. Having a spa or multiple restaurants isn't crucial at a beach hotel either. Hotels lose money on restaurants, so the more you have, the more you have to boost rates.

So where is it important to invest money?

How we connect you to the beach. The Pacific Edge in Laguna Beach is right on the sand--we actually have earplugs in the rooms for the waves.

If people are coming back sandy, you have to have a really great shower. And sheets. I love sheets. Especially at the beach, having a really high thread count is great because you've been in the sun and sand, and your body is primed for it.


21 NEAR ASHLAND, OR Green Springs Inn Where the Cascades meet the Siskiyous in Southern Oregon, a broad-porched inn draws regular 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; green FREE WI-FI DOG-FRIENDLY

22 PORTLAND Hotel Modera 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. $119; FREE WI-FI CAR-FREE


Hotel Elliott 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; FREE BREAKFAST DOG-FRIENDLY

24 NEWBERG, OR Chehalem Ridge B&B 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE-WI-FI

25 NEWPORT, OR Sylvia Beach Hotel 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; FREE BREAKFAST COASTAL

26 WILLAMETTE VALLEY WINE COUNTRY, OR McMenamins Hotel Oregon 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; FREE WI-FI

27 MT. HOOD, OR Mt. Hood B&B 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI

28 SAN JUAN ISLANDS, WA West Beach Resort 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). $740; 2-night minimum; COASTAL DOG-FRIENDLY

29 SEATTLE Cedarbrook Lodge 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. $123; cedar FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE

30 VANCOUVER, B.C. The Sylvia Hotel 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; FREE WI-FI COASTAL DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE


31 ALBUQUERQUE Hotel Atdaluz 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; FREE WI-FI DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE

32 OJO CALIENTE, NM Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort 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; FREE WI-FI POOL SPA

33 SCOTTSDALE, AZ Hotel Valley Ho 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 2O05 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, $133 most of Jun-Aug; POOL DOG-FRIENDLY SPA

34 SANTA FE El Rey Inn 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI POOL

35 TAOS The Historic Taos Inn 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; FREE WI-FI CAR-FREE

36 GRAND CANYON Bright Angel Lodge & Cables


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; CAR-FREE


37 ASPEN, CO The Limelight Lodge 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 addon we like: The nightly resort fee [included in the room rate) gets you perks like airport pickup, ski valet, and gym access, $133; limelight FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI POOL DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE

38 JACKSON HOLE, WY Hotel Terra Before Memorial Day, you can slip into this stylih' 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; hotelterrajackson FREE WI-FI POOL CAR-FREE SPA

39 STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO Mariposa Lodge B&B 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; steamboat FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI CAR-FREE

40 VAIL, CO Vail Mountain Lodge 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; vailmountain FREE BREAKFAST FREE HI-FI DOG-FRIENDLY SPA


41 MAUI Ha'iku Plantation Inn 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI

42 HONOLULU, OAHU Ohana Waikiki East 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; FREE WI-FI POOL CAR-FREE

43 LANAI Hotel Lana'i 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 n 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; hotel


44 SAYULITA Petit Hotel Hafa 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; hotelhafa FREE WI-FI COASTAL DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE

45 SAYULTA Villa Amor 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; FREE WI-FI COASTAL CAR-FREE

46 SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE Villa Mirasol Hotel Built around a pretty terra-cottacolored 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 wroughtiron headboards charm. $70; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI CAR-FREE

47 TODOS SANTOS The HotelitO 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI POOL COASTAL DOG-FRIENDLY


4-star service, 2-star price

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


La Posada 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; FREE WI-FI DOG-FRIENDLY


Grand Union Hotel One of the west's most opulent hotels happens to be in a sleepy Montana river town, sunken into the plains about 3 1/2 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 redbrick palace with 26 rooms, a very good restaurant, and a sense of magic that comes from finding something splendid in an unlikely setting. $130; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI


Marcus Whitman Hotel 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 192S 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; FREE BREAKFAST FREE WI-FI DOG-FRIENDLY CAR-FREE
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