You want style, you want service, you want a stay to make your friends green with boutique-bolthole envy… but you don’t want to entirely empty your piggy bank. Smith to the rescue! The hotels on our super-chic shortlist for the Best Budget Boutique gong at the Smith Hotel Awards 2014 boast all of the above in spades… without walloping your wallet too hard.
From hip city hubs to sprawling country estates, these are the 10 best budget-friendly hotels, as chosen by you:
Bang for your buck A superb city-centre location, just steps from Plaça Catalunya • The rooftop bar has a serious party vibe • Some of the city’s best cocktails are available in the lobby
As you’d expect from a hotspot near the famously ornate edifices of the Gothic quarter, Hotel Pulitzer is a design-conscious delight, right from the moment you walk in and spy the gilt-edged panels of the front desk…
Bang for your buck Unique, art-led design in every room • Selective, but not stuffy, members’ club atmosphere • The revitalised mansion retains its historic charm
More than just a boutique bolthole, Brody House – last year’s winner in this category – is also a members’ club with a stylish bar, a sometime film and fashion-shoot set, and a hub of local creativity with a calendar crammed full of art events and book readings.
Bang for your buck Darling Harbour location • Historic architecture • Brilliant, young staff
1888 Hotel was built in, yup, 1888, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about its gorgeous young staff or vibrant interior. The hotel champions old and new Australia, with reclaimed Ironbark beams and period windows in rooms, and a smart bar menu.
Bang for your buck Tasty hyper-local food • Acres of deer park • The potting-shed spa
The third little piggy in the Pig array of boutique stays is the grandest and perhaps most succulent of them all. The food alone is worth the price of admission at any of the Pig properties, and The Pig Near Bath edition is no exception.
Bang for your buck Affordable chic • Family-run hospitality • Innovative menu in a fabulous dining room
This family-run château near Bergerac is the sort of spot where the welcome’s warm, the gardens are pristine and the food’s très bien. (It’s fantastically kid friendly, too.) Want the full country-manor-in-the-Dordogne experience but aren’t related to some sort of French aristo? Château les Merles is the place for you.
Bang for your buck Historic hamlet setting • Warm Italian hospitality • Country-paced living
Borgo della Marmotta is the kind of hotel you lose your heart to: a 17th-century hamlet set amid 12,000 olive trees, with views of Spoleto Valley and deliciously romantic rooms.
Bang for your buck A gourmet gastropub • Serene Somerset surrounds • Utterly laid back
Rustic charmer The Wheatsheaf Inn hotel in the Cotswolds brings the trad British coaching inn bang up to date, with stylish design, tasty regional food and beer, and even a petite spa room.
Bang for your buck Young, fashionable feel • Offbeat location • Lively bar and restaurant
Claska’s at the heart of one of Tokyo’s coolest neighbourhoods, and the hotel doesn’t let down its location, thanks to Tei Shuwa’s exceptional design and the ever-evident traditional Japanese hospitality…
Bang for your buck Nearby beach and pool • Open-air spa and bar • Romantic private dining
Ekies All Senses Resort’s ridiculously jewel-coloured bay is the sort of sea you don’t want to leave: calm, warm and shallow. But when you’re out of the water, the delicious dining, serene spa and stylishly minimal rooms are almost as delightful, too.
Bang for your buck Sukhumvit setting • Characterful design • Delicious food
This Bangkok bolthole revels in its eclectic 1920s-inspired interiors: Cabochon is low on price but high on style (features range from red velvet Shanghainese sofas to cheetah skulls and ostrich legs).