Image: Golden Nugget
AP
In deal-crazy Las Vegas, you'll have no problem finding a great hotel for less than $100.
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updated 12/9/2010 11:29:05 AM ET 2010-12-09T16:29:05

What can you buy with a Benjamin? When it comes to hotels, you might just be surprised.

Sure, a $100 nightly budget in an expensive city like New York may consign you to cramped digs and a bathroom down the hall. But in destinations where the dollar is strong or deals are plentiful, you can live surprisingly large on $100 a night — imagine sleeping in a historic Moroccan palace, or meeting monkeys face to face at a jungle lodge in the Costa Rican rain forest.

IndependentTraveler.com has compiled 10 affordable hotels in destinations around the world, showing the full range of luxury (or lack thereof!) that can be yours for $100 or less per night.

Fez, Morocco
Where: Dar Seffarine

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How Much: From $91 a night before taxes, including breakfast

The Digs: The U.S. dollar goes a long way in Morocco — which means that even budget travelers can enjoy luxurious accommodations within the historic Fez medina. The building that houses Dar Seffarine is more than 600 years old, and it's been restored in the style of a traditional Moroccan riad, or palace. Mosaic tile floors, copper lamps, soaring columns and ornate woodwork will make you feel as though you've traveled back in time. Don't miss a visit to the rooftop terrace for views out over the ancient medina.

St. John, U.S.V.I.
Where: Maho Bay Camps

How Much: From $80 a night before taxes

Video: Hotel bargains for the holidays (on this page)

The Digs: These affordable, eco-friendly tent cottages boast a great location for hikers and outdoorsy types, right in the heart of Virgin Islands National Park. As far as camping goes, staying here is a few steps up from pitching your own tent. While you will have to hit the communal bath house, your digs include your own private deck (complete with gorgeous views), plus beds with linens, electrical outlets, lights, a propane stove and an ice cooler. The cottages are surrounded by tropical greenery, accessible by elevated wooden walkways.

Manhattan, New York
Where: The Jane Hotel

How Much: $79 - $99 a night before taxes

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The Digs: A private bathroom in Manhattan for less than $100 a night? Dream on. New York is one of the world's most expensive cities for lodging, so at this price point you can expect to use the toilet down the hall — unless you're willing to stay in another borough or commute in from New Jersey. But it's not all bad news. Your standard or bunk bed "cabin" at The Jane (designed to resemble the sleeping quarters of a ship) includes free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, a DVD player, an iPod dock and 300-thread-count sheets. Just don't expect too much wiggle room; these rooms clock in at a "cozy" 50 square feet.

Pangasinan, Philippines
Where: Puerto Del Sol Beach Resort

How Much: From $70 a night plus tax

The Digs: You can't get much closer to the beach than these accommodations at the Puerto Del Sol Beach Resort, which overlooks the South China Sea. Most of this luxurious property's rooms are outside our $100 budget, but its nipa huts offer an affordable alternative. The huts, which can accommodate up to four or five guests, are open to the beach and the sea breeze (with curtains for privacy). They do not have private bathrooms. The resort offers a range of activities and services including a spa, kayaking, yoga and meditation classes, swimming pools and wireless Internet.

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Geneva, Switzerland
Where: Geneva Youth Hostel

How Much: From $85 a night for Hostelling International members; $97 a night for others

The Digs: This was literally the only place in town where we found a private room for less than $100 a night. (Unsurprising, considering that Geneva was named the world's most expensive city for lodging in a recent Hotels.com study.) In addition to dorms — where you can snag a bed for $29 per person — the hostel offers extremely basic private twin rooms with toilets for less than $100 a night. You'll get a better rate if you're a member of Hostelling International (membership costs $28 annually for U.S. citizens).

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Where: Hotel Babel

How Much: From $91 a night plus tax

The Digs: Located in the San Telmo area of Buenos Aires, the city's oldest neighborhood, this beautifully renovated historic mansion offers nine affordable, stylish rooms. The building may be venerable, but you won't miss out on more modern touches such as Wi-Fi and room service — because these are offered too.) The hotel collaborates with local wineries and galleries to hold regular art exhibitions and wine tastings, which are open to guests.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Where: Golden Nugget

How Much: From $69 a night before taxes

The Digs: In deal-crazy Vegas, you'll have no problem finding a great hotel for less than $100. Our search yielded dozens of appealing properties, many offering special sales or free nights. (As of this writing, this particular hotel was running a promotion with last-minute midweek rates as low as $39 a night.) We chose the Golden Nugget for its spacious rooms and oodles of amenities and entertainment options, including a casino, swimming pool, showroom, spa, salon and video arcade.

Melbourne, Australia
Where: Pensione Hotel

How Much: From $91 a night, including taxes

The Digs: For a great location within Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD), we sacrificed a bit of luxury to find a place under $100 a night. As its name suggests, this cozy property is modeled after European pension hotels. Many of its rooms are beyond our budget, but we struck gold with its "original" rooms, which are more affordable because they haven't been refurbished with new decor and features. But you'll still get the same high-speed Internet access, private bath and mini-fridge even in these older rooms. You can also take advantage of the hotel's cafe/bar and rooftop sun deck.

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Where: La Posada Private Jungle Bungalows

How Much: From $50 a night plus tax

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The Digs: The star of the show at La Posada is not the bungalows themselves but their location: right at the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park, with its sweeping beaches, lush rain forests and colorful coral reefs. You can easily walk from your bungalow into the park to go for a nature hike or watch the sun set over the beach. The bungalows themselves are air-conditioned and include private baths, refrigerators, microwaves, TV's, DVD players and porches with hammocks. Don't be surprised if you have an up-close-and-personal visit with a monkey or a deer while you're hanging out in the common areas or by the pool. (But take our hard-earned advice: don't feed the monkeys!)

Paris, France
Where: Hotel du Printemps

How Much: From $99 a night before taxes

The Digs: The City of Lights isn't one of Europe's cheapest capitals, but diligent bargain hunters will be rewarded — especially if you're willing to be a little flexible on location. You'll find the Hotel du Printemps in a quiet residential area near Place de la Nation, within walking distance of several Metro stations; you can hop a train and be in central Paris in minutes. Rooms have been recently renovated and include private baths, flat-screen TV's and free Wi-Fi.

Video: Hotel bargains for the holidays

  1. Transcript of: Hotel bargains for the holidays

    KATHIE LEE GIFFORD, co-host: If you're still searching for the perfect gift for someone who means a lot to you, you may want to consider sharing an experience.

    HODA KOTB, co-host: There are plenty of great getaways out there for as low as, get this, $54 a night. Nina Willdorf is here to spill, so take note. She's the editor-in-chief of Budget Travel magazine.

    Ms. NINA WILLDORF (Editor-in-Chief, Budget Travel Magazine): Hi .

    GIFFORD: Hey, sweetie.

    KOTB: This is...

    GIFFORD: It just sounds too good to be true .

    KOTB: Astonishing, yeah.

    Ms. WILLDORF: It really is, especially if you have not yet planned your holiday trip, we have some really crazy good deals to talk about today.

    GIFFORD: Good, because Hoda hasn't.

    Ms. WILLDORF: I know.

    KOTB: I...

    GIFFORD: Listen carefully.

    KOTB: I wait until the last minute, always.

    Ms. WILLDORF: OK, yeah.

    KOTB: Vegas is a hot spot, huh?

    Ms. WILLDORF: Vegas is always a hot spot, and over Christmas there is a hotel called the Rumor Hotel . They are doing deals for $54 a night.

    KOTB: Unbelievable.

    Ms. WILLDORF: Unbelievable. They have this really tranquil pool, it's three blocks off the Strip , so you have like a little bit of remove around the city. You know, what's really fun is that it never shuts down. There's some places you can go where you have to like find activities on Christmas , this one is really alive.

    KOTB: Is this one -- is this during the holidays?

    Ms. WILLDORF: Yeah.

    KOTB: Because usually that's tough. It's...

    Ms. WILLDORF: Everything I'm talking about today is during the holiday week. And we have all the information on budgettravel.com, where you can get all the details.

    KOTB: OK.

    GIFFORD: That seems almost unbelievable, OK.

    Ms. WILLDORF: I know, and it...

    KOTB: St. Pete , Florida , is the next stop.

    Ms. WILLDORF: St. Pete , Florida .

    GIFFORD: Have you ever been there, Hoda ? It's a beautiful town.

    KOTB: I have, I love it down there.

    Ms. WILLDORF: It's so great. It's just beautiful white sand...

    GIFFORD: Charming.

    Ms. WILLDORF: ...about 35 miles southwest of Tampa . There's a hotel there I just love called Postcard Inn on the Beach .

    KOTB: Hm.

    Ms. WILLDORF: It's about 196 rooms. They have Adirondack chairs around a fire pit in the back, so it's just like a really kind of fun, relaxed, sort of Florida Keys surfer-y vibe.

    KOTB: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. WILLDORF: St. Pete is also called the...

    KOTB: That's beautiful .

    Ms. WILLDORF: ...sunshine city. They get 361 days of sun a year, so this time of year is one of the best .

    KOTB: And 70 bucks a night is...

    Ms. WILLDORF: Seventy bucks a night.

    KOTB: ...unbelievable.

    GIFFORD: That's amazing.

    Ms. WILLDORF: I know. Can you believe it?

    KOTB: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. WILLDORF: For that.

    GIFFORD: Now, all the way down to Granada , Nicaragua .

    Ms. WILLDORF: Granada , Nicaragua , yes.

    GIFFORD: OK.

    Ms. WILLDORF: This is a really wonderful, tranquil spa retreat. There's a hotel there called the Hotel Spa Granada and they have rooms for $72 a night. The best thing about it is -- in addition to being sort of this 19th century Spanish colonial mansion with 18-foot ceilings, you get a free spa trip with -- along with it. So you're going to get, you know...

    GIFFORD: A massage or facial.

    KOTB: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. WILLDORF: ...a massage or a facial. And then they cost...

    GIFFORD: Oh, it's quaint.

    KOTB: Beautiful.

    Ms. WILLDORF: ...10 or $20 a piece, if you want to add on.

    GIFFORD: Oh my gosh.

    Ms. WILLDORF: Unbelievable. The average highs around this time of year, about 80.

    KOTB: Oh.

    Ms. WILLDORF: Eighty degrees.

    GIFFORD: That is sounding good, Hoda .

    KOTB: That sounds really, really good.

    Ms. WILLDORF: And just, you know, zero days of rain. It's just beautiful down there.

    KOTB: And what about Mexico ? Acapulco ?

    Ms. WILLDORF: Acapulco , yes.

    KOTB: I like it there.

    Ms. WILLDORF: So Acapulco is a place that's always had this sort of great kind of romantic Hollywood glamor, and there's a hotel right at the heart of it called the Hotel Boca Chica .

    GIFFORD: Just love the name.

    Ms. WILLDORF: I know.

    GIFFORD: Boca Chica !

    Ms. WILLDORF: Boca Chica . We put it on our cover for Budget Travel in the November issue, we just love it. They're doing deals over Christmas , $111 per...

    GIFFORD: Look at how beautiful .

    Ms. WILLDORF: It has like, again, a kind of surfer-y vibe. It's right on the beach, lacquered white rooms. And if you stay...

    GIFFORD: Look at how pretty that is, Hoda . There you go, baby. There you go.

    Ms. WILLDORF: I know. Don't you want to be at that pool?

    KOTB: Gorgeous. Is there a beach there, or is that the...

    Ms. WILLDORF: Yeah, there is a beach there.

    KOTB: OK.

    Ms. WILLDORF: You can't really see it right here.

    KOTB: Wow.

    Ms. WILLDORF: But, you know, really kind of breezy rooms with private balconies.

    GIFFORD: Is this because times are just so hard right now, Nina , and they're just -- they need the...

    Ms. WILLDORF: Times are hard, yes, but hotels -- there're always great, affordable finds and that's, you know, that's what our job is to find them for you. That's what we do.

    KOTB: Last we've got the Czech Republic , Prague .

    Ms. WILLDORF: Czech Republic , this is very different. It's more of like your traditional Christmas getaway. Prague has a hotel called the Mosaic House .

    KOTB: Hm.

    Ms. WILLDORF: And they have rooms for $72 a night and they're about a 10-minute walk from the Charles Bridge .

    KOTB: Hm.

    Ms. WILLDORF: It's a very kind of romantic, warm environment with sort of rich brown walls and golds.

    GIFFORD: Looks beautiful .

    Ms. WILLDORF: And there -- Prague has this holiday market there, so you can really experience the best of the season.

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