From the introduction to the new Budget Travel book, Secret Hotels: Extraordinary Values in the World's Most Stunning Destinations. The book is available for purchase at bookstores and at amazon.com.
Too many people believe that you have to be rich to visit the world's most alluring destinations. But they're wrong.
When I became editor of Budget Travel in 2003, I was certain that the magazine could corner the market on what I thought of as Secret Hotels. I meant the kind of properties that don't show up on big online booking engines, or get written about in fussy travel magazines—the kind of hotels you hear about from your friends.
Our first Secret Hotels feature was on Provence, and one look at the pictures (stone farmhouses, flaky croissants, lots of smiling owners) proved what we already knew: Keeping an eye on value doesn't have to mean cutting corners. We went on to assign more Secret Hotels stories, the best of which have been expanded into this book.
The truth is, every gorgeous destination has people who want to live there, and they open a hotel in order to make a living. They put their heart and soul into it, doing everything they can to make certain that their guests receive the warmest welcome.
And that's why Secret Hotels are the sweetest kind of hotels. They're run by real people for real people, and they're run with love. Even if they're secrets no more.