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Trip List by jpmjr1983

30 Nicest Hotel Chains...on a budget

Nov 2, 2010  World traveler with a love of luxury.
2.5 of 5 stars based on 3 votes

Being an avid traveler, I have learned to catch zzz's wherever I can. On a plane, in a hostel, at a bus station...I can make sleep happen. But after all that nothing beats being pampered at a 5-star hotel, except maybe the beating your wallet takes for it. So I decided to make a list of what I think are the 30 best hotel chains and then figure out a way to stay at them at a reasonable price. I finally completed my list, and I wanted to share it with the travelling world. I'll be adding three new hotels every 2 weeks, and I'll be going from the worst deal to the best one so keep checking back for the winner! Hope you learn something, or at least just enjoy...

  • 1. Trump International Hotel Las Vegas
    Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Avg price: $207

    This Trump was just opening a few blocks off the Strip, and we caught it at the perfect time. For $100, we got a room on the 17th floor overlooking the Strip and the desert, plus a $50 food voucher. And it was such an amazing place that we never left the hotel ...in Vegas! We enjoyed an elegant yet delicious meal by the pool & lounged in our suite-style room with a TV built into the bathroom mirror. It was the epitomy of luxury on a budget, and thus the ideal finish to this list.

  • 2. The Peninsula Hong Kong
    The Peninsula Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
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    Avg price: $705

    This is hands down the most posh establishment I have ever stayed. There is a decadent lobby, plush robes and slippers, and even complimentary limo service. This was the hotel that combined prime location with a pampered experience in a way that made it feel luxurious and chique at the same time. If you can ever afford it, I would highly recommend this chain.

  • 3. Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village
    Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, Westlake Village, California
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    Avg price: $363

    We decided to splurge for New Year's one year and it was worth every penny (especially since it was less than $200!). This hotel & spa is located outside of the hustle & bustle of LA, which gives it a quiet and relaxed feel perfect for the Four Seasons. There is a beautiful garden surrounding the hotel, and the spa truly exuntuates luxuriant relaxation. Truly a sublime way to ring in the new year.

  • 4. Ritz-Carlton Naples
    The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Naples
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    Avg price: $865

    This was one we stayed on at on a family trip back in high school, and I still remember it to this day. There was a charm to this beachside haven that made it regal for adults and yet approachable for youngsters like myself. We loved the pool and beach areas while the adults enjoyed the world-renowned spa and golf options. It's definitely fun for the home family looking for a touch of class.

  • 5. The Waldorf Astoria
    Waldorf Astoria New York, New York City, New York
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    Avg price: $495

    This is a hotel whose name sets a standard for excellence before you even walk in the door. Even though its Manhattan location means small rooms, the luxury and air of history that permeate inside make it grand in size. There are many pictures and stories telling of the history of the hotel, and the dazzling decor matches the dazzling style of its many guests.

  • 6. Hard Rock Hotel Chicago
    Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
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    Avg price: $307

    This is a chain that lives up to its name. Located in a great section of downtown Chicago right around the corner from Millenium Park, it's a hip hotel nestled inside a classy city. The lobby and rooms are filled with paraphernalia, and the accommodations make you feel like a star yourself.

  • 7. Mandarin Oriental, Macau
    Mandarin Oriental Macau, Macau, China

    This is definitely one of the swankiest chains of the bunch, but we didn't necessarily do it in style as we packed 6 into one room and I ended up on the floor. But we did get pampered at the spa and play in the extensive pool area that included a huge waterslide. It was the epitomy of luxury in a city often called the Las Vegas of the Eastern World.

  • 8. Taj Boston
    Taj Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
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    Avg price: $422

    This is a swanky chain brought over from Asia, with only 3 locations in the US. I stayed at the one in Boston with my old man when he came into town for a Celtics game. The game was great, but the hotel was better. This was the kind of place with slippers at the end of your bed and a cushy robe in the closet. We were pampered so much it was hard to leave, even though we could step right outside and be in beautiful Boston Common.

  • 9. Swissotel Chicago
    Swissotel Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
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    Avg price: $299

    This was a great European-style hotel right along the Chicago River in downtown Chi-town. The most interesting feature was the triangular shape, with one of the angles being a fully glass window looking out on the windy city. The room was stylish and the lobby was classy, so at $100 a night this was definitely a steal.

  • 10. W New York
    W New York, New York City, New York
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    Avg price: $383

    This was a trip funded by my parents during my senior year in high school, so it was cheap for me and definitely helped me fall in love with NYC. The small rooms didn't stop us from living it up in the posh lobby and the classy Whiskey Blue bar. This was when the W first came on the scene, and it sure swept us away.

  • 11. The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston
    The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
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    Avg price: $414

    This was one that I split with a buddy who came into town for a visit, so it was cheap for such a prestigious locale. The place is steeped in history, although the rooms are a bit cramped as it sits in downtown Boston. The best part is they have a dog you can borrow to take on walks...now that's home away from home!

  • 12. Loews Royal Pacific Resort
    Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, Orlando
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    Avg price: $315

    This one came as a part of a package deal with Universal Studios, so it was quite a steal. The accommodations were classy despite the Orlando stigma, although there were definitely a lot of kids around which changes the ambiance. It is definitely worth it if you want to combine luxury with the happiest place on earth.

  • 13. Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans
    Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana
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    Avg price: $341

    The room was small and the price wasn't ideal at just under $200, but it was a heck of a deal considering we stayed there on the night of Fat Tuesday and it is located in the heart of Bourbon Street. The craziest part is we didn't even know that when we booked it. It turned out to be a wild night for many reasons, and created many memories we won't soon forget.

  • 14. Omni William Penn Hotel
    Omni William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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    Avg price: $288

    This was a classy stay for a great deal thanks to Hotwire. This luxurious hotel was steeped in history, as it was named after the founder of Pennsylvania for good reason. And we were a part of history, as we stayed there at the same time as President Obama while he was on the campaign trail. We definitely felt like celebrities for many reasons.

  • 15. Sheraton Philadelphia University City Hotel
    Sheraton Philadelphia University City Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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    Avg price: $239

    This stay was definitely budget-friendly as it was covered by work, and it was one of the better places I've ever stayed on the company dollar. It is located in a newly thriving part of Philadelphia, with it's proximity to UPenn providing great restaurants and beautiful surroundings. A free upgrade to the luxury floor due to a room issue doesn't hurt either.

  • 16. Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport
    Sama-Sama Hotel, Sepang, Sepang District
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    Avg price: $165

    This was a beautiful 5-star establishment with a gorgeous lobby and magnificent rooms. The only reason the price was right was because I shared the room with 4 other people. I ended up on a cot, which was less than ideal for such an establishment. But the grandeur of the experience overshadowed the sub-par sleeping arrangements.

  • 17. InterContinental Boston
    InterContinental Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
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    Avg price: $486

    We stayed here for the weekend when I first arrived in Boston. We found a great deal on Hotwire and were able to enjoy this gorgeous hotel right on the Boston Harbour. We were a short walk from the sites and had a spacious room with a great bed. It was a great way to begin a life in a new city.

  • 18. Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel
    Sir Francis Drake Hotel - a Kimpton Hotel, San Francisco, California
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    Avg price: $343

    This one is interesting because it is not necessarily a chain by name, but it is a part of the Kimpton chain. The hotel itself is classy, with a beautiful lobby hosting a bloody mary bar and a famous niteclub on the top floor. Even though the room was small, the location couldn't be beat and the price was decent on hotels.com.

  • 19. The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport
    The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Detroit, Michigan
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    Avg price: $244

    This was another one on the company dollar, so the price was right. I had just finished one of the more challenging programs of my career, so I deserved a cozy stay at a plush hotel. I was pleasantly surprised considering it is an airport hotel. The bed was great, the lobby is beautiful and breakfast was delicious.

  • 20. Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square
    DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel New York City - Times Square, New York City, New York
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    Avg price: $480

    This one definitely wasn't much of a deal considering it's in Times Square and we booked it the day of, but it was definitely an experience to walk into a hotel in such an area, slap down a card and say "We'll take a room!" It was a pretty spacious suite considering considering the location and the views were all they were cracked up to be for a Times Square hotel.

  • 21. Delray Beach Marriott
    Delray Beach Marriott, Delray Beach, Florida
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    Avg price: $309

    My best friend and I would frequent this hotel for some free hot tub usage throughout high school, so when our Prom was held there we figured we'd splurge and get a room for the night. It's in a great location and it's in pretty good shape for being right on the ocean. I'll always have fond memories...

  • 22. Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel
    Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel, Northbrook, Illinois
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    Avg price: $210

    My favorite part about this place was the service. From the front desk staff to the courtesy vehicle driver, every interaction was a pleasure. It was far enough away from Chicago that it was pretty affordable at $125, and it seemed newly decorated. The pool area was a bit shoddy, but otherwise lived up to to the more luxorious chain under the Marriott umbrella.

  • 23. Sofitel Chicago Water Tower
    Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, Chicago, Illinois
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    Avg price: $325

    I actually stayed at a Sofitel near the airport, but I believe it has closed down so I used this one as a replacement. The hotel was very classy as far as airport hotels go, with a nice gym and a fancy restaurant inside. You could see why it wouldn't last, as it was far too nice to be an airport hotel. It did make it much more affordable for us however ($85), which was okay by me.

  • 24. Hyatt Regency Boston
    Hyatt Regency Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
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    Avg price: $401

    This was a pretty simple downtown hotel, but the location couldn't be beat. I stayed with some friends and ended up sleeping on the floor, so the accommodations were rough but the price was right. You can walk right outside and be in Boston Common or the shops on Washington in no time. A great place to stay if you want to explore the city.

  • 25. Hilton Austin Airport
    Hilton Austin Airport, Austin, Texas
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    Avg price: $159

    I have stayed at a Hilton twice, and both times it has been in conjunction with a college football game. This one came with a package to see a Texas Longhorns game, so the price was right. Sticking to the motto of everything is bigger in Texas, the lobby was huge and grande, and as a bonus the fitness center and hot tub were classy and the breakfast at the restaurant was delicious.

  • 26. Crowne Plaza Hotel Memphis
    Crowne Plaza Hotel Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee
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    Avg price: $156

    This chain was on the cusp as far as being one of the best, but the hotel did alright. It was a Hotwire deal ($75), and being right in downtown Memphis the location was great. It even embraced the local culture by having a bit of a jazz/blues feel in the lobby, complete with flashy colors and murals on the walls.

  • 27. Novotel New York Times Square
    Novotel New York Times Square, New York City, New York
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    Avg price: $417

    This is a hotel chain that is more popular in Europe, but they got one into New York City because they have every hotel chain in the Big Apple. This place has a decent location being only about 2 blocks from Time Square, but that's the best part by far. It's small and simple, which is the European style. But when compared to the lavish chains here in the US, it doesn't quite make the cut.

  • 28. Millennium Airport Hotel Buffalo
    Millennium Airport Hotel Buffalo, Cheektowaga, New York
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    Avg price: $146

    I had seen other nice Millenium hotels in my travels, so I was interested in trying out the brand. It seems as if this location was simply another hotel that had been recently transferred over to a Millenium. It did have a pool and a decent lobby, but it was very clean and it is a stopping point to go up to Niagara Falls so it had kind of a touristy feel to it. I'd recommend a different Millenium than this one.

  • 29. Radisson Hotel Chicago O'Hare
    Radisson Hotel Chicago O'Hare, Des Plaines, Illinois
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    Avg price: $133

    Conveniently I was able to get my work to pay for this stay, so the price was right. It was one of the last hotel chains I decided to include in the list, and I can see why. It is a small step above your average hotel chain. It had a gym and a pool and the room was nice. Not a bad stay on the bosses dime.

  • 30. Wyndham Riverfront Little Rock
    Wyndham Riverfront Little Rock, North Little Rock, Arkansas
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    Avg price: $111

    This was the least bang for the buck by far. We didn't pay much for it, but we didn't get much either. It was in a decent location, but it felt more like a motel than a hotel. We had to park outside the room and it was only 2 stories. I know there are better Wyndhams out there, but this one wasn't a classic.

Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Des Plaines, North Little Rock