Uncovering Europe's best budget hotels since 2001.
Do you have a taste for the unconventional when you travel? Does the predictability of a chain hotel leave you cold in your bed? If you’re looking to book a hotel that has a healthy dose of personality, or perhaps is even downright unusual, we’ve got some ideas for you.
We combed through the budget hotel recommendations in eight of our popular cities looking for unique places to sleep. Some are more unusual than others. Let’s face it, some cities have a bit more “edge” than others.
Still, all of these picks struck us as interesting. After all, why have a normal night’s sleep?
Perhaps the name already gave it away. But yes, from the linens and furnishings in the guestrooms to the refreshments served in the hipster bar downstairs, everything that can be made out of hemp at the Hemp Hotel is. This appreciation for all things hemp allures hemp aficionados the world over, as does the (obviously) smoke-friendly bar downstairs. Rooms are otherwise pretty basic, but you won’t remember, anyway.
Film buffs traveling to the German capital should certainly consider a night spent in silent film legend Asta Nielsen’s 1930’s apartment. Located on one of Charlottenburg’s most beautiful streets, the Funk (meaning “radio”) is a Belle Époque dream, and rooms are as pristine as a museum’s. A great deal.
Those literally looking for a “colorful” night’s rest should look no further than Brussel’s Pantone Hotel, which holds the distinction as being the only hotel in the world built according to the Pantone color categorization system. Rooms sport rather swanky modern furnishings and the hotel attracts a fashionable (and color-coordinated) clientele, but hey, it’s still pretty affordable… for Brussels.
Okay, things don’t get too funky in Florence. However, those looking for something special should consider the sweet, family-run Bavaria. This one-star hotel is located in a 16th-century building and offers 17 large and simple rooms, some of which have restored frescoes on the ceilings and walls. Given the artistry, location and ultra-low rates, we’d consider the Bavaria quite unusual.
In a city known more for its conference rooms than hotel rooms, the Goldman 25hours delivers some welcome artistic flair. Each of the hotel’s 49 rooms was designed with gusto by a local artist, and the result is a hotel with a wide range of styles: funky, eclectic, shaggy, bright, conceptual, etc.
Travelers in search of a view who are willing to climb (and climb… and climb…) to reach their bed will feel right at home at the Ninho das Aguias, the “Eagles Nest.” Perched high over Lisbon next to the castle, this old-fashioned spot may not be modern or luxurious, but from the moment you fling your windows open to “that view” over Lisbon, you’ll be enchanted. Built in the late 19th century as a private house, the Ninho has only been lightly converted into a guest house. You’ll appreciate that when hanging out in the garden, reading on the patio, or chatting with Filomena, the friendly proprietor.
The charming little Hotel de Nesle seems plucked from a storybook, with most of its 18 guest rooms boasting a history-themed wall mural. David, who runs the St-Germain hotel with his mother and is an artist in his own right, painted these fantastic depictions of French history, including scenes with Moliere, Hugo, and famous residents of the neighborhood.
Doubles from €64
For those who don’t mind a curfew or sleeping under a crucifix, the friendly nuns of Santa Elisabetta present a fine (and spotless) budget option. Things are obviously kept quite simple in the rooms, and some share facilities while more expensive rooms have their own. Breakfast is included and served in an ornate dining room.
For more budget hotel recommendations (including many that are sadly quite a bit more conventional) visit our hotel guides for dozens of cities throughout Europe.