Image: Casa Santo Domingo, Antigua, Guatemala
Robert Fried  /  Alamy
Located in a 400-year-old monastery, the Casa Santo Domingo, in Antigua, Guatemala features 125 rooms with European antiques, doting service, a pool and a restaurant serving Guatemalan meals. It also has large collection of artifacts from the country's Baroque period. (From $120 a night)
updated 10/1/2007 1:58:54 PM ET 2007-10-01T17:58:54

Stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and you'll bed down in a 430-square-foot room with a large marble bath and deep soaking tub, a flat screen television, and skyline views of the city.

When it's time for breakfast, a butler will serve you an omelet made to order, piping hot toast and freshly squeezed orange juice. Since the property is situated in the heart of the city, you can walk to all the major shopping and sightseeing.

But perhaps the best part about shacking up here? It's cheap. The room described above costs $200 a night.

Put down your glasses. It's true: Bargains can be found even at upscale, pricey chains like the Ritz-Carlton.

What's more, while you can score good deals on deluxe properties by visiting them off-season, the kinds of hotels we're talking about have lower prices all year round. After all, who wants to visit the Caribbean in summer—the heart of hurricane season—or stay at Kuala Lumpur in June, when temperatures can surpass 90 degrees?

"No luxury hotel is going to advertise itself as having low prices, but if you dig, you'll find that luxe hotels without high price tags do exist," says Adam Weissenberg, head of the tourism, hospitality and leisure practice at Deloitte & Touche. "In countries where the currency rate works out in favor of the U.S. dollar, deals can be found at upscale chains."

While a room at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton is $460 a night, for instance, a comparable room at the Kuala Lumpur Ritz is far less, thanks to the strength of the U.S. dollar against the Malaysian ringgit.

Another a weaker currency, the peso, is driving down prices at the Four Seasons Resort in Carmelo, Uruguay, which is situated on the banks of the Rio Plata River.

Image: Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Courtesy Ritz-carlton
The basic rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur are 430 square feet, and feature city skyine views, butler service, flat screen televisions, marble baths with separate soaking tubs, iPod systems and a full breakfast. (From $200 a night)
For $200 a night, travelers stay in 1000-square-foot bungalows with hand carved beds, terraces, private gardens with outdoor showers and baths with heated floors and deep soaking tubs.

Guests can occupy themselves swimming in the property's huge pool, playing golf at the onsite 18-hole course, indulging in a four-handed massage at the spa, visiting Colonia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or checking out local wineries such as Cerros de San Juan.

Independent streak
Where the exchange rate is poor, experts recommend steering clear of hotel chains and focusing instead on local, independent accommodations.

"To find favorable prices without sacrificing luxury, travelers need to look to properties which don't have a big name attached to them," says Arabella Bowen, editorial director of, a travel deal site. "Some, even in popular tourist areas, offer lower prices."

For example, rooms at the Domaine Des Hauts De Loire in Onzain, France, in the heart of the Loire Valley, start at just $120 a night.

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Guests are welcomed to this fairytale property, once a former hunting lodge, by a large pond with floating swans, then check into one of 33 rooms, which have original 19th century furnishings, marble baths and flat-screen televisions. The hotel also has a garden full of vegetables and herbs, used to prepare meals at the hotel's restaurant. Tourists can spend their days visiting dozens of castles in the area, such as Chateau de Chaumont, which was home to Henry II, and Chateau de Chambord, the 440-room palace where Louis XIV spent his summers.

Domestic deals
The place it's most challenging to find a wallet-friendly luxury hotel, according to experts, is stateside. Still, travelers willing to look outside major cities can find deals.

At the seven-acre Tu Tu Tun Lodge in Gold Beach, Oregon, for example, rooms start at $195 a night. Rooms at this price boast Italian linens, a granite bath and a private patio, with cascading plants, overlooking the Rogue River.

The rate also includes guest activities such as kayaking and golfing, morning coffee and juice delivered bedside, an afternoon tea with freshly baked cookies, evening hors d'oeuvres such as fish kebabs, and white chocolate fudge at turndown. They can take a dip at the on-site pool or take guided boating and fishing excursions that leave from the property's dock.

With deals like these, the high-end life can be had—on a low-end budget.

© 2012


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