Which type of Cheapo are you?

Posted in: Paris Hotels


The Hotel du Nord in Paris is a "Classic Cheapo" pick.
The Hotel du Nord in Paris is a "Classic Cheapo" pick.

If you spend a few minutes in our guides to budget hotels in cities around Europe, you’ll quickly notice that we recommend a wide range of properties, from hostels to three-star hotels. You might wonder, “what’s Cheapo about a three-star hotel?” Or you might wonder why we’re recommending hostels at all.

What’s going on here? Who exactly is a “Cheapo” in the first place?

Who’s a Cheapo?

When we launched EuroCheapo back in 2001, the site primarily focused on reviewing and recommending one type of hotel. We were looking for properties that were very central, budget-friendly (under about €70), and clean. Bonus points if there was a kooky proprietor, funny theme, or great back story.

The Hotel du Nord’s receptionist is a charmer.

These are still my favorite type of hotels to come across, of course. (A great example is the Hotel du Nord in Paris, with its low rates, humorous owner, dog at reception and funky rooms.)

But “cheap” means different things to different people, and the “Hotel du Nord” type of property isn’t appealing to all budget travelers. Over the years we’ve tried to diversify a bit, adding hotels that are a bit cheaper, and some that are a bit more expensive.

We now break down our hotel picks into three categories: Classic Cheapos, Classy Cheapos, and Super Cheapos.

The Hotel Tiquetonne is another “Classic Cheapo.”

Classic Cheapos

The Hotel du Nord is a great example of a “Classic Cheapo.” These tend to be about €65-80 a night in most cities we cover, including Paris. In more expensive cities, like Rome and Venice, we raise that to about €85-90. These are mostly one- and two-star hotels, although some three-star properties qualify.

Another great example of a Classic Cheapo is the Hotel Tiquetonne in Paris, which also happens to be the most popular hotel on our site. The hotel perfectly fits the “Classic Cheapo” formula: It’s old-fashioned, super central (a quick walk to Les Halles and most of central Paris), colorful (interesting décor, funny receptionists), and very clean. A double with a shared bathroom runs about €60, and one with a private bath runs €68.

Getting “Classy” at the Hotel du Champs du Mars.

Classy Cheapos

Yet other budget travelers consider paying €100 or even €125 a night “cheap.” These travelers are looking for “hotel values,” and most of them probably expect very nice two- or three-star rooms and service.

Nearly as popular as the Tiquetonne in Paris is the more expensive Hotel du Champs de Mars, an example of the comfortable, yet affordable “Classy Cheapo” category. A night at this two-star hotel near the Eiffel Tower isn’t slumming it: Rooms have a “touch of fancy frou-frou” and the private baths offer a nice basket of toiletries. Doubles start at €100 (about $130).

The Hotel Rivoli is simple and “Super Cheapo.”

Super Cheapos

At the lower end of the Cheapo-spectrum are ultra-budget travelers who simply want to find a very inexpensive clean place to sleep. These “Super Cheapos” want a private room in a hotel, and some are open to hostels.

€50 a night next to a train station? Why not? It might share a bathroom, have steep stairs and really old rooms, but it’s super cheap.

Sticking to Paris, one of our most visited hotels is the ultra-central and crazy-cheap Hotel Rivoli, located across the street from the Hotel de Ville. This “Super Cheapo” has rooms with only the basics, and some rooms have private baths, while many share toilets and showers in the hallway. Doubles start at a startlingly low €45 (about $60).

And this is just in Paris. Similar situations, where budget travelers of all stripes share the same site, can be seen in our listings in Amsterdam, London, Rome, Venice and elsewhere.

What kind of a Cheapo are you?

These are just the three types of budget hotels we hunt down for our guides. There are undoubtedly other types that we haven’t considered.

Do you fall into one of these categories, or something else entirely? How much do you commonly spend on a double room? Share with us in our comments section.

Related articles

How to find the perfect hotel in Paris: Start here for an overview of the city’s hotel scene, choosing a neighborhood, and the difference between star ratings.

Favorite Paris hotels: Where would we stay in Paris? Here’s our quick cheat sheet.

Read before you book: 20 things to keep in mind before booking your hotel.

About the author

Tom Meyers

About the author: Tom Meyers created and launched EuroCheapo from his Berlin apartment in 2001. He returned to New York in 2002, set up office, and has led the EuroCheapo team from the Big Apple ever since. He travels to Europe several times a year to update EuroCheapo's hotel reviews. Tom is also a co-host of the New York City history podcast, The Bowery Boys. Email Tom. [Find Tom on Google Plus]

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4 thoughts on “Which type of Cheapo are you?”

  1. Déirdre Browne

    First off, let me say that I think the EuroCheapo site is a great resource and I consult it quite often. However, the hotel rates quoted are always for a double room. How about rates for solo travellers who, in my experience, are often quoted the same (or a not much cheaper) rate as 2- person occupancy even in cheaper hotels??!!?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Deidre! It’s true that we dropped the single, triple and quad rates from showing by default on our hotel reviews. This was partially to help clean up the page, but also because the rates were constantly changing (we almost dropped the double rates, too!). Hotels are now changing their rates almost daily, making it hard to say what a rate will be without doing a date search.

      If you do a date search on the hotel review you’ll be able to see rates for single travelers (or triples, quads, etc.). I hope that helps!

      1. Déirdre Browne

        Hi Tom. Thanks for your reply. Fair enough! In 20+ years of travelling solo, I’ve found that I will sometimes get a cheaper rate when I ask for it. I tend to consult sites like EuroCheapo, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Venere.com, Hotels.com, etc., to find out what hotels/pensiones/B&Bs there are in my intended destination. I then contact the establishment direct and request a quote for a single room, as well as asking some questions such as if the room has an external window, is it a converted broom cupboard (my pet hate!), private or shared bathroom, etc. If the price quoted is more than my budget, and I like the hotel/pensione, I just ask if it they could do better on the price; 6-7 times out of 10 they can and I end up with an ok room. So, fellow solo travellers, don’t be shy, ask and you shall receive (a lot of the time)!

        1. Great tips, Deirdre. So true — it never hurts to ask. I also wrote an article about tips for changing rooms when you get stuck with the “worst room in the hotel”. (Which happens to me more often when I’m traveling solo!) http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/strategy-how-to-not-get-stuck-with-the-worst-room-in-the-hotel.html

          But my point in that piece was the same as your point above: Ask *nicely*, and chances are, they will be very accommodating!


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