Video: 5 most affordable hotels in America

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    >>> this morning on "today's travel" finding a luxurious place to stayle while you are away no longer means top dollar. we have five of the hotels that t fit the bill. good morning. you guys do all the work for us.

    >> we do.

    >> you found not just great deals but they are in cities for the most part that people travel to.

    >> exactly. we have access to our fantastic readers who give us their favorite hotels in the country. then we took those and took the ones that are most affordable. we have great hotels you will go to this summer.

    >> first off we have a four seasons which a lot of us don't think of affordable.

    >> this is the best. this is in st. louis.

    >> my family's in st. louis. i will be visiting them and stay at the four seasons next time.

    >> it's a great hotel. you have great access to downtown. you are by the beautiful gateway arch . you can see the mississippi from your room. our readers loved their pool. also has great views. and when you get there if you have little kids they have a milk and cookies welcome which may make them hyper and they get little mini robes. if you are there for a cardinals game they have a free shuttle.

    >> not far from the stadium.

    >> very convenient and under $250. reasonable.

    >> that's a bargain. number four in las vegas is the palazzo. i have stayed there as well. this is a great hotel.

    >> it's a sister to the venetian and it's all suites. if you want the over-the-top vegas experience this is the way to go. flat screen tvs, a sunken living room , and bubbly and belgian chocolates. if you get out of the room there is the mario batali and wolfgang puck restaurants. they have $149 a night starting mid-week.

    >> they have a canyon ranch spa and gym, too.

    >> you have been there. you know.

    >> i liked it. it was good. next to santa fe , new mexico. you found the rosewood inn.

    >> this is where a-listers and celebrities hang out. 58 beautiful rooms. everything is modern new mexico.

    >> i love santa fe .

    >> it's beautiful there but in this hotel you feel you're where you should be. this there are kivas in the room. they have beautiful beamed ceilings. i love all the patios so you can see the world go by while you have lunch.

    >> $250 a night.

    >> exactly.

    >> number two in the nation's capital.

    >> we're getting closer.

    >> lafayette square in washington, d.c. tell me what you get for your money here.

    >> d.c. is fantastic in the summer. if you want to be in the center of it all this hotel is a great option on lafayette square . you will be walking distance to the white house , washington monument , the smithsonian. the rooms are art deco , 237 rooms. 14 and 26 -- this is what we get from the readers. specific stuff. they have two sides of windows with lots of light. and a french bistro. if you want a little bit of a french-inspired experience in d.c. , this is the place to stay.

    >> great.

    >> and they have a four for three. so you get four nights for the price of three.

    >> that's great. good to take the kids and give them education in the nation's capital. number one on the list.

    >> drum roll .

    >> the woodlands resort and inn in south carolina .

    >> this is not in a big city -- [ drum roll ]

    >> we got it, but it was late.

    >> thank you. okay.

    >> it's a lot of build-up.

    >> we need more cow bell .

    >> done. no more sounds. the woodland inn is close to charleston. our readers love it. nothing more charming than the southern hospitality . this inn dates back to the 1900s . to tons of fun stuff including champagne brunches, local painters that come for demonstrations. there was a feature on charleston and there is a great food scene there. so restaurants like glass onion and husk are places to check out there.

    >> i have to do it. thank you so much for finding the deals for us.

updated 5/4/2011 10:10:49 AM ET 2011-05-04T14:10:49

What would the perfect hotel stay in Charleston, S.C., include? How about a white-gloved doorman welcoming you into an antebellum mansion, where you can relax in period-style rooms furnished with four-poster beds? The Planters Inn in Charleston delivers this experience — and best of all, it’s not as expensive as it seems.

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With its central location and overflowing southern charm, it’s no surprise that Planters Inn is a favorite of travelers. But its affordable rates have catapulted the 64-room property to No. 6 on the list of America’s Best Affordable Hotels, as voted by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards Survey. And all the winning hotels deliver stellar service, luxurious amenities, and rates of $250 a night or less.

Slideshow: America's best affordable hotels

So where can you find the highest concentration of these affordable gems? Las Vegas, of course: Five of the top 20 properties are located on the Las Vegas Strip. Stay at The Palazzo (No. 4), a smart choice for those who love to shop, as Barneys department store is located on the ground floor. Or choose Encore at Wynn (No. 16); you can enjoy the sun’s rays from an oversize lounge chair at the 60,000-square-foot beach club, or even while playing blackjack (the tables abut floor-to-ceiling windows).

It’s easy to find travel deals in Las Vegas. Sin City is still absorbing more than 6,000 hotel rooms added by the opening of CityCenter and the Cosmopolitan. This saturation of hotel options, along with higher gas prices, will keep the city’s room rates down, according to a recent report by Moody’s Investors Service. So if you’re looking to save money, head to the desert: Las Vegas will be a great value for travelers straight through the hot summer months.

For those who prefer history to hedonism, there’s The Greenbrier (No. 17), in West Virginia. This quintessential American retreat in the Allegheny Mountains was the setting of a Cold War fallout shelter for the House of Representatives and the Senate; the bunker is now open to tours. Meanwhile, Dorothy Draper interiors still draw design aficionados, and active types love the property’s adventure zone, bowling lanes, and indoor ice rink. And it’s all just $249 a night.

Copyright © 2012 American Express Publishing Corporation

Photos: Welcome to Vegas

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  1. Welcome to Las Vegas

    The Bellagio's fountain show entertains visitors nightly. In the background is Bally's Las Vegas, left, and Paris Las Vegas, which has a 50-story Eiffel Tower replica in front. Over 37.5 million people visit Las Vegas each year. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Fremont Street Experience

    Located in downtown Las Vegas, this exciting pedestrian promenade is home to approximately 16 million lights, making it one of the largest LED screens in the world. (Brian Jones / Las Vegas News Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Looking for Lady Luck

    Casion visitors play slot machines at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Dunking Elvis

    An Elvis impersonator performs a slam dunk during the 2007 NBA All-Star Game on February 18, 2007, at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. (Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAEGetty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Grand casinos

    Lights from passing vehicles are seen in front of the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Poker face

    Jamie Gold, right, of California and Paul Wasicka of Colorado go head-to-head on the final table of the World Series of Poker no-limit Texas Hold 'em main event at the Rio Hotel & Casino on Aug. 11, 2006, in Las Vegas. Gold outlasted more than 8,700 other poker players to win the top prize of $12 million. Wasicka won just over $6.1 million for finishing second. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Glitz and glamour

    A Canon display is seen inside the Las Vegas Convention Center at the Consumer Electronics Show. Las Vegas is the nation's top business travel destination, with easy airline access, numerous hotel rooms, low rates, plentiful convention facilities and a wide range of dining and entertainment options. (Karl Polverino / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Over-the-top entertainment

    Performers ride a Volkswagen Beetle across the stage during a preview of "The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil" at the Mirage Hotel & Casino on June 27, 2006, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A New York minute

    The New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas recreates the Manhattan skyline, complete with replicas of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge. (Courtesy of MGM MIRAGE) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Entertainment mecca

    Kenny Chesney performs "Out Last Night" at the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on April 5, 2009. (Mark J. Terrill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Tying the knot

    From left, Elvis Presley impersonator Norm Jones plays guitar as Bruce Barnett of Virginia Beach, Va., escorts his daughter Gayle to her wedding ceremony at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Graceland is the oldest wedding chapel in Las Vegas and offers ceremonies with or without Elvis impersonators. (David Mcnew / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Explosive attraction

    The $25 million, newly redesigned volcano display in front of the Mirage Hotel & Casino features 150 choreographed FireShooters sending fireballs more than 12 feet in the air and a custom soundtrack created by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images for MGM Mirage) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A night on the Strip

    Hotels and casinos line the Las Vegas Strip. From thrilling roller coasters to erupting volcanos to art museums, Las Vegas' many attractions appeal to people of all ages and interests. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Fight night

    David Diaz and Manny Pacquiao fight during the fourth round of the WBC Lightweight Championship at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 28, 2008, in Las Vegas. Pacquiao won in a ninth-round knockout. (Harry How / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Day at the races

    Rookie driver Shawn Langdon earned his first No. 1 qualifying position of his career at the NHRA Nationals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2009, in Las Vegas. (Richard Wong / NHRA via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Fabulous shopping

    The Juicy Couture retail store at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is seen before the grand opening February 5, 2009, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images for Juicy Couture) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Stunning shows

    Buyi Zama as “Rafiki” in the opening number “The Circle of Life” from THE LION KING Las Vegas. (Joan Marcus / Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A slice of Italy

    Visitors take a gondola ride at The Venetian in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Get into the groove

    Dina Buell, left, and Carla Giordano, both from California, dance at the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino during Rehab, the resort's weekly pool party, in 2005 in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Let’s get this party started

    Party goers gather for the grand opening of LAX Nightclub Las Vegas in 2007. (Chris Weeks / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Big laughs

    Comedian Ellen DeGeneres performs at a taping of ''Ellen's Even Bigger Really Big Show'' during The Comedy Festival at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in 2008 in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A kingly stay

    The Excalibur Hotel and Casino features a castle motif with newly refurbished hotel rooms. (Courtesy of MGM MIRAGE) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. A dancing fountain

    Visitors are silhouetted against the backdrop of The Bellagio's fountain show on the Las Vegas Strip. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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