World's Best Boutique Hotels
We scoured the globe until we found the 31 best new hotels for under $150.
Adventure seekers typically sweep through Nicaragua's capital en route to the southern beaches or the northern mountain reserves. Hotel Contempo, in the leafy Las Praderas district, gives you an excuse to linger. The 18-room property brings together the brick shells of three 1950s houses, where creamy leather covers the teak and mahogany furniture. If you tire of lounging by the pool, the staff can arrange day trips to colonial Granada or a nearby eco reserve. contempohb.com, from $130.
Since opening last September, Hotel Habita Monterrey has given boutique-hotel aficionados a reason to detour to northeast Mexico. In the 39 rooms, floor-to-ceiling windows and a stark black-and-white palette make it feel almost as if you're floating. The sleek minimalism continues in the lobby with mirrored mosaics and exposed-concrete floors. Twin rooftop infinity pools attract crowds for cocktails and views of the Sierra Madre mountains. hotelhabitamty.com, from $150.
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There's no mistaking Oops! for a regular backpacker's dorm. This 2-year-old boutique hostel exudes energy as soon as you walk in the door: Red and white lighted boxes spell out oops! in the lobby (the architect just liked the sound of the word), a mural dresses up the breakfast area, and the 46 rooms have flourishes like electric pink or green walls. The place closes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for housekeeping, so be ready to spend the day exploring the neighboring Latin Quarter, a five-minute walk away. Request one of the 12 double rooms, which have private bathrooms. oops-paris.com, from $85 with breakfast.
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Only Philippe Starck could turn a parking garage in the 20th arrondissement into Mama Shelter, a 172-room hotel that draws locals to its weekly live music shows. Quirky phrases are threaded into carpets and chalked on the walls—in the elevator, for example, you'll learn that porcupines can float in water. For bedside lamps in the rooms, which all have kitchenettes, Starck hung illuminated Halloween masks of famous characters such as Batman, Superman, and Han Solo. Best touch: A communal kitchen pantry is stocked with bread and Nutella for late-night noshing. mamashelter.com, from $126.
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Among the region's 18th-century châteaux, the lakeside cluster of mini houses at Camping de Bordeaux Lac is an unexpected sight. Ranging from 183 to 377 square feet, the 92 cottages are divided into nine categories, each with its own whimsical motif. Toy sailboats sit on the tables inside the Cabanes de Pêcheurs (Fishermen's Cabins), and the Chalet Prestige looks like it's made of Lincoln Logs. The bungalows, which opened in June, all come with a full kitchen and a patio or porch. camping-bordeauxlac.com, one-bedroom cottages from $50, two-bedrooms from $57.
You'd think a Beatles-themed hotel would have popped up in the Fab Four's hometown long ago, but the Hard Days Night Hotel opened just last year. Beatles memorabilia and artwork is everywhere in the 110-room property: A Yellow Submarine jukebox sits in the lobby, and six-foot-tall photos of John, Paul, George, and Ringo line the spiral staircase. harddaysnighthotel.com, from $141.
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A four-hour train ride from London, Fronlas (Welsh for "Blue Hill") is a worthy weekend escape. The three rooms in the luxurious Edwardian town house face Brecon Beacons National Park, and they're all about comfort (solar-panel-heated floors, rain showerheads, log fires). If you arrive by train, the husband-and-wife owners will greet you at the door with a free bottle of organic wine. fronlas.com, from $133 with breakfast, closed mid-October through mid-January.