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Affordable luxury: the best hotels in the world to feel glam (on a budget)

Whether you define luxury as quiet seclusion away from crowds by a private pool, butler services, decadent dining at the hotel's restaurant or all of the above, these hotels are sure to hit the spot.

Imagine waking up to breakfast on your balcony. Spend your morning sipping a latte as you feel a fresh salty breeze on your skin. The hardest decision of the day will be deciding which direction to stroll along the beach at sunset. Or maybe you prefer to wander cobbled streets in search of hidden bars and vibrant street art? City and culture lovers can embark on the ultimate urban adventure to uncover local tastes, romantic rooftop restaurants and the chicest boutiques.

We’ve found some of the best hotels in the world that offer up all the decadent services you’re looking for, at a reasonable price. From the bright lights of Vegas to the sparkling South Pacific Ocean, you are sure to be tempted by these luxe-for-less hotels.

South-East Asian opulence in Penang

Penang is an intoxicating mix of old and new and east meets west. This exciting tropical island in Malaysia is a feast for the senses. From elegant temples and colonial buildings to vibrant hawker markets and a cool street art scene, Penang will enchant you from the moment you arrive.

Set on the beach at Batu Ferringhi, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa is a haven from the hustle and bustle of the island’s attractions. Here you can experience five-star luxury on a modest budget. Each spacious guest room in the Garden Wing has a marble bathroom with bathtub to soak in and a private balcony overlooking tropical gardens. A breakfast buffet, featuring a cook-to-order egg station, waffles and Asian dishes, is included in your room rate.

You would be forgiven for wanting to simply lounge by the hotel pool or enjoy walks along the beach, but make sure to experience Penang’s food and scene. Just steps from the hotel you will find the famous night market where you can try satay, char kway teow noodles and curries. Look for the stalls with queues in front as they are usually the best. Take a trip into Georgetown to browse the galleries and boutiques. At Jonathan Yun, you can choose from gold and silver jewellery inspired by creatures of the sea.

Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa

Top rated
Batu Ferringhi, 1 km to Batu Ferringhi Beach
9.0 Excellent (2800 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
Car park
Wellness centre / Spa
Gym
Outdoor swimming pool
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A glamorous stay in Las Vegas

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Live the life of a high roller in always popular Las Vegas. The United States might not be your first pick for a cost-effective vacation; but in Las Vegas, there are plenty of deals on accommodation and dining that will guarantee a deluxe experience.

The New York New York hotel on the Strip is a glitzy resort offering large and comfortable rooms with separate lounge areas, city views and marble bathrooms. Dine at one of the many restaurants on site including street food market Village Street Eateries or upscale Il Fornaio.

The Big Apple-themed hotel is packed with services and features for the discerning guest. Visit the on-site casino and try your luck on the $5 Blackjack tables. If you’re looking to brush up your skills the hotel also offers free Blackjack training sessions every day.

For those visiting Vegas to see a show, New York New York offers guests large discounts on Cirque du Soleil, which plays in their in-house theatre. You can even ride a rollercoaster that zips through the recreated New York skyline wearing virtual reality glasses. Looking for a taste of vintage Vegas? Head to the Neon Museum dedicated to preserving the iconic signs of the city and why not book a photo shoot to preserve your Las Vegas memories.

Hotel New York New York

Las Vegas, 3.9 km to Adventuredome Theme Park
8.1 Very good (50235 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.8 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Hotel CTA

Boutique beach bliss in Sri Lanka

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Palm trees sway in the breeze overhead, the ocean lapping at the shore and a waft of spices on the breeze. This is Sri Lanka and it’s the perfect place for your luxe-for-less getaway. The small island nation is fast becoming a favourite among travellers looking for a relaxing and indulgent holiday.

On Unawatuna beach close to Galle, on the island’s west coast, is Apa Villa Thalpe. A small boutique hotel with luxurious touches in every corner, guest suites are spacious with open plan design, separate lounge areas and large bathrooms. Fresh flowers adorn the rooms and canopied beds are draped in flowing white gauze.

The highlight of your stay will no doubt be relaxing by the cobalt blue infinity pool watching the waves of the Indian Ocean gently roll onto the beach beyond. Enjoying breakfast served on your veranda is another treat. Choose from traditional Sri Lankan hoppers (pancakes) and a mild curry or fresh fruit and eggs cooked to order.

You can experience the best of Sri Lanka just moments from the hotel. Venture into nearby Galle to discover the country’s Dutch colonial past at Galle Fort and lighthouse. Or join a whale watching tour from Mirissa, a short drive away.

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Apa Villa Thalpe

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (104 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Outdoor swimming pool
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Stay in an overwater bungalows (without breaking the bank)

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If you’ve been dreaming of a blissful stay in an overwater bungalow but were wary of the price tag, consider Royal Huahine in French Polynesia. This small and secluded resort on the Tahitian island of Huahine has 11 spacious overwater bungalows at a fraction of the prices you expect in Bora Bora or the Maldives.

At Royal Huahine, your day starts looking over the turquoise waters of the lagoon just steps from your bed. Rise and shine on your private terrace and spot the fish swimming about in the waters below. Do you lounge on your deck chair or snorkel in the warm Pacific Ocean? You’re on Polynesian time here, so there’s no rush.

If you’re feeling energetic, take one of the free resort kayaks and go for a paddle out on the lagoon or take the boat shuttle into Fare to explore the island. Discover Marae Anini, an ancient spiritual site dedicated to the local god Oro or lounge on the pristine white sands of Fare beach.

Back at the hotel freshen up for dinner at the restaurant in its own overwater bungalow facing west to capture the perfect sunset. The dish to try is grilled local mahi-mahi with vanilla sauce while you sip a tropical cocktail. As you wander back to your room, it’ll be hard not to be in awe of the star-studded South Pacific skies.

Royal Huahine

8.2 Very good (195 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.6 / 10
Outdoor swimming pool
Restaurant
Air conditioning
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Award-winning luxury in Porto

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Pretty Porto on the banks of the Douro River is a fun European city destination popular with culture lovers and foodies. Known for its cobbled streets and medieval architecture, the city is named for the production of port wine, which you can try in one of its many bars.

New hotel Torel Avantgarde is the perfect base to explore Porto. Winner of a coveted World Luxury Hotel award in 2018, the five-star boutique hotel is close to many of the city’s main attractions. Influenced by artists of the avantgarde, the individually-designed hotel suites have those small touches that make a stay memorable – an in-room coffee machine, fluffy bathrobes and slippers.

A highlight of your stay is a meal at Digby restaurant with spectacular views of the Duoro River. The menu puts a modern spin on classic Portuguese dishes like bivalves soup, laden with shellfish.

When it’s time to explore Porto, don’t miss the Livraria Lello – a wonderfully quirky bookshop that inspired the library at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter novels. You might also like to visit the Port Wine Museum and do some tastings, of course! For a fresh air break, the wide sandy beach at Praia de Matosinhos, which is just a short metro ride away from the city centre.

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Torel Avantgarde

Porto, 11 km to Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro
8.9 Excellent (197 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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Eastern European elegance in Riga

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Latvia is one of the best value destinations in the Baltics. The capital Riga combines historic charm and cutting edge cool making it a great base for adventures in Eastern Europe.

Soak up the cosmopolitan vibes at Neiburgs, a luxurious family-owned aparthotel with an in-house library and restaurant featuring Latvian flavours such as beetroot carpaccio and oven-baked sturgeon. Each of the suites is light and airy with silk curtains, designer furniture and fittings. There is a kitchenette where you can prepare snacks and drinks and a comfortable lounge area to relax in with views over the picturesque old town.

The Baltic states are known for their unique local spa treatments. Try a Latvian buckwheat honey wrap in the hotel spa or visit nearby and famous ESPA for one of the most decadent experiences in the city. After your relaxing treatments take a walk through the cobbled streets and enjoy the typical architecture of the House of Blackheads in the town square and the splendour of the Art Nouveau district.

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Neiburgs

Top rated
Riga, 1.2 km to Alberta iela
9.2 Excellent (1866 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Gym
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Arabian nights escape in Morocco

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If you are drawn to the exotic culture of North Africa but like your stays luxe and secluded, why not visit Essaouira on the Moroccan Coast. At Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa, you will be pampered in style and only a short drive away from the city’s UNESCO-listed medina and historic port.

The Sofitel Essaouira Mogador has all the right ingredients for the perfect stay with a mix of outdoor activities and dining options to keep you busy for days. Take a dip in one of three swimming pools in the complex or play a round of golf at one of two pro-designed courses overlooking Essaouira old town. Each of the four on-site restaurants boasts international cuisine with Moroccan influences. At the rooftop, Kasbah Cafe, enjoy their delicious chicken tagine with lemon and olives with views of the surrounding area.

Featuring colourful modern design with traditional touches, the hotel and rooms are everything you would expect from a five-star hotel. Each room has a furnished terrace and dressing room where you can freshen up in style. While you could happily stay at the resort, take advantage of the hotel shuttle into town to explore and do some shopping at the lively souk where you can watch the locals buy and sell produce and pick up authentic souvenirs including locally made Argan oil.

Hotel Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa

Top rated
Essaouira, 1.7 km to D'Essaouira
8.5 Excellent (811 reviews)
Excellent Comfort 8.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Hotel CTA

High-altitude charm in Peru

Exploring the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu is a bucket list holiday for many that shouldn’t mean breaking your budget. Start your trip of a lifetime at the Costa del Sol Ramada in Cusco for generous Peruvian hospitality and style at a very reasonable price point.

Located just steps from the city’s famous Plaza de Armas, the hotel is a former monastery, now decorated in Inca and Colonial art. On arrival, you are greeted with a refreshing pisco sour welcome drink in the modern lobby but don’t miss taking a peek at the hotel’s charming cobbled courtyard. If you are lucky you can meet one of the local craftswomen with her baby llama in tow.

Rooms are cosy as expected in a historic building of an ancient city like Cusco, but Costa del Sol Ramada has several elegant communal lounges for guests to enjoy. Why not play a game of chess or read a book from the library after a long day of sightseeing. You can also retire to the Cava del Marqués for a drink or Paprika restaurant to try Lomo Saltado – a Peruvian stir fry dish served with french fries.

Cusco is a central base to explore Machu Picchu and the region beyond. Once you have visited the ancient Incan ruins seek out the areas natural wonders. Vinicunca, also known as Rainbow Mountain, and gorgeous Humantay Lake with its stunning mountain backdrop are right on your doorstep.

Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco

Top rated
Cusco, 1.2 km to Cathedral of Cusco
8.5 Excellent (1499 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Restaurant
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