updated 6/2/2009 9:56:07 AM ET 2009-06-02T13:56:07

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Through October 18

  1. Don't miss these Travel stories
    1. Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors

      With teams using more than 100 unique apparatuses to launch globular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is our pick as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.

    2. Airports, airlines work hard to return your lost items
    3. Expert: Tourist hordes threaten Sistine Chapel's art
    4. MGM Grand wants Las Vegas guests to Stay Well
    5. Report: Airlines collecting $36.1B in fees this year

The deal
Summer is the season for road tripping, but finding a stylish spot to bed down for the night can be a challenge. When it comes to budget lodging, most of us think of boring cookie-cutter rooms. But, you don't always have to sacrifice style to save. We've rounded up cool, reinvented motels with some serious personality, not to mention seriously affordable prices. From a Toronto artist enclave to a retro-chic Catskill mountain inn, these smart digs afford memorable rest stops for the penny-wise, from $99/night.

San Francisco: Hotel Des Arts from $99/night
San Francisco's flashy arts scene makes this city a must-see stop on any Cali roadtrip. Ideally located in between Union Square and the Financial District, the ultra-hip Hotel Des Arts offers one-of-a-kind  lodgings designed and painted by some of the world’s top emerging artists.

The boutique hotel doubles as an art gallery with iconic art installations by Shepard Fairey and Tricia Choi and guestrooms covered with edgy graffiti-inspired designs. Summer rates start at just $99/night for rooms with a shared bath, or $149/night for a deluxe queen room with complimentary continental breakfast included. Plus, at these great rates, the savings really add up on longer visits. Case in point: Book a 7-night stay and pay for only five of those nights.

Minnesota: Railcar stay from $147/night
Many of us associate trains with uncomfortable seating and cramped quarters, but Northern Rail has managed to turn vintage train cars into a unique hotel substitute. Located in the town Two Harbors in the picturesque Northwoods region of Minnesota, this unusual take on a B&B offers upscale accommodations inside 18 converted train car suites. These old-fashioned enclosed boxcars offer enough space for a family of four, many of which feature full or partial kitchens, with separate dining areas and working fireplaces.

Hopping off into the great outdoors, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for hiking and mountain biking in nearby Gooseberry State Park. Summer rates for two in the Porter Suite  start at $147/night, or try the posh Yardmaster Condo with rates from $289/night, available from June 1 through October 18.

Toronto: Gladstone Hotel from $185/night
Toronto is just a 2-hour drive from the U.S. border and the St. Lawrence River isn't the only thing making waves in this fashionable city. Sidling in with the city’s growing art scene, the cutting-edge hotel Gladstone offers 37 artist-designed guestrooms and suites, perfectly situated within the fashionable West Queen West neighborhood. Originally built in 1889, this trendy property was once a stylish stopover for overtired Canadian railway travelers.

Nowadays, it’s a place where a socially-conscious clientele can mix and mingle inside the second floor gallery spaces or at the trendy saloon-style Melody Bar. Choose from artfully decorated interiors such as the Victorian-style Echame Flores guestroom designed by local artist Rayne Baron or the cloudlike Skygazer Room by Celeste Toogood and Christopher Martin. Rates for rooms at the Gladstone start at $185/night.

Beverly Hills: Up to 30 percent off weekend stays from $245/night
Consider a summer detour to posh and trendy Los Angeles. For a stylish but affordable stay in upscale Beverly Hills, the 84-room Avalon Hotel offers sophisticated accommodations and a cool hour-glass pool and lounge that attract the chic set. Amenities include an onsite fitness center, in-room spa treatments and massages, and the elegant Blue on Blue patio restaurant, serving up tasty New American cuisine.

World’s weirdest hotelsClassic mid-century Southern California design and custom-designed furnishings by the likes of Charles Eames and Isamu Noguchi add to the slick ambience. Book the hotel’s “Spring Rejuvenation” package and you’ll enjoy up to 30 percent off rack rates on stays of two nights or longer from now through the end of June. Regular summer rates start at $290/night; book this package and you’ll snag a Classic Queen room from only $245/night.

Catskills: 2-night hiking package at The Roxbury from $543
For truly uncommon lodging, try a stay at this offbeat, pop-culture inspired motel in the heart of the scenic Catskill mountain range. Guests of The Roxbury can choose one of the various themed studios, such as Room #14, made to resemble the inside of a giant blue box from the world-famous Tiffany’s jewelry store.

Aptly named suites like The Shagadelic are also available, with 70s-inspired décor, plenty of mirrors, and a zebra patterned couch. Outside, the surrounding mountains and trails beg to be explored. We recommend the motel’s “I Like to Hike” package, with high-season weekend rates  for two nights starting from just $543. Offer highlights include packed lunch for two with assorted cheeses and wine, free maps and backpacks, and a romantic two-hour couple’s massage at the boutique Shimmer Spa.

The dollars
Taxes and fees are additional.

The catch
Gas not included.

ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletter which features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 4 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments