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.
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 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.
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).
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).
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.
• Types of hotels in Paris: What’s the difference between a one-star, two-star and three-star hotel in Paris? Let us explain.
• 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.