Hotels are magical places. Staying in one is like the tender beginnings of new love — everything has a rosy glow to it. The view feels quaint: Wow! You really get an awesome view of the airport from up here! The TV is better: Look! The second half of Batman Begins is on! What a TREAT! And even the most mundane breakfast seems amazing: They have hardboiled eggs just sitting there. ALL THE HARDBOILED EGGS I COULD WANT!
Even with our natural proclivty to like hotels, after a day or two we can all tell the good ones from the hovels. There’s just a huge range in quality from the motel that looks like it gave up changing the sheets when Trump took office to the hotel with volcano views and a tub filled with rose petals. And while we might be pretty happy with those hard boiled eggs, let’s face it, we all want the rose petals.
The problem is, for most of us, vacations are expensive enough. We’ve paid for a flight and a rental car. We have to eat out, and pay $200 to fall off a surfboard eight times during a lesson with six-pack abs Pablo. We can’t also drop $500 a night on our dream hotel.
If you’re in that middle place, it may feel like you have to settle for a mediocre stay or deal with a terrible location (Oh I’m sorry, when we said a view of the bay, we meant that condemned billboard of Michael Bay’s 2007 masterpiece Tranformers hanging just over the fireworks stand). But you don’t have to settle. Not even close. It may take a little more digging, but there are incredible places all around the world for $100 or less a night (and the good news is, we’re going to do the digging for you). We found a wide range of awesome choices, from a modern spa feel to a treehouse in the jungle. A few are hostels, but most, are private rooms or bungalows with en suite bathrooms.
What we love about these picks is that these hotels aren’t just affordable options in cool locations. They go the extra mile to be cool, young, and exciting. They’re beautiful but don’t sacrifice on the things that matter like, service, comfort, or activities in the vicinity to keep the prices low.
In short: These are the hotels that you’d stay at whether or not you were on a budget.
Where: Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Price: $100 per night
Why it’s cool: You get to stay in a gorgeous treehouse in the middle of the jungle surrounded by a park with: lakes, rivers, and tons of wildlife (including an elephant sanctuary!). The eco-friendly resort has a great restaurant, bar, and will organize amazing tours and hikes.
Our Jungle House would be worth three times the price, but amazingly, it’s super affordable.