Spring is the ideal time to sneak in a few days away on a chic city break, and the good news is that staying in a stylish boutique hotel no longer means having to splash loads of cash.
Here, SL’s resident travel expert Jeannette Arnold runs through 12 of the best stays from just £85 per night…
Where To Stay: Miss Clara
Beginning life as an early 20th century girls’ school, this well-preserved, Art Nouveau building features a retro bar and a delicious Nordic brasserie, plus typically simple Scandi rooms and eye-catching artwork.
Prices From: £133 per night via Mr & Mrs Smith
Where to Stay: The Hoxton
Launched last year, The Hoxton is a stylish base from which to explore Europe’s quirkiest city. Made up of five canal houses, this grand old building was once home to the Mayor and dates back to the 17th century. Expect waterside views and top-notch dining at the hotel’s Lotti restaurant, run in partnership with the Soho House Group. Don’t leave without having a tipple in the cool cocktail den.
Price: From €89 per night.
Where to Stay: Pestana Arena
Situated in the central Sants neighbourhood, near the Fira de Barcelona and Parc de Joan Miró, Pestana Arena is the perfect base for a stay in this thriving metropolis. Ask the concierge for local tips and recommendations, relax in the sauna or with a massage, and dine on both Spanish and Portuguese dishes at the trendy Lorenzo Restaurant. To end your day, grab a drink and tapas on the terrace at the Lorenzo Bar and enjoy the view of the city lights.
Price: From £122.54 per night per room based on two people sharing.
Where to Stay: 25 Hours Hotel Bikini
If you didn’t guess from its out-there name, this hotel is all about cutting edge style, making it the perfect stay in Europe’s capital of cool. With its industrial vibes and amazing views of the city zoo from the themed jungle rooms, complete with hammocks and breath-taking views from the rooftop bar, 25 Hours Hotel Bikini will make for an unforgettable trip.
Price: From £86 per night, excluding breakfast.
Where to Stay: Brody House
This sometime film and fashion shoot set is not just a boutique bolthole – with its members’ club vibe, shabby-chic interiors and on-site gallery, it’s one of Budapest’s veritable cultural hotspots. Think regular exhibitions, live music and book readings in the dedicated ArtYard building, while each room is named after the artist whose work adorns its walls. With high ceilings and an elegant townhouse feel, it can’t be beaten on cool points.
Price: From £53 per night via Mr & Mrs Smith.
Where to Stay: Pousada de Lisboa
Located in Praҁa do Comércio square in the beating heart of Lisbon, this hotel is the perfect blend of modern and luxury, mingled seamlessly in a heritage-listed structure. Filled with original art pieces on loan from the city's museums, Pousada de Lisboa offers great views of the Tagus River and the iconic Sao Jorge castle. The hotel boasts an indoor swimming pool, spa, sauna and fitness room, while the restaurant is overseen by up-and-coming Portuguese chef Tiago Bonito with a modern menu inspired by the country's culinary traditions. Don’t forget to check out the bar, a go-to hangout for locals.
Price: From €207 per night based on two people sharing one room.
Where to Stay: Barcelo Emperatriz
The newly-opened Barcelo Emperatriz is located in a former 19th century palace right in the heart of the city’s historical quarter. Its architecture blends beautifully into the chic surroundings of small traditional boutiques, grand embassy buildings, and some of Madrid’s most elegant and prestigious streets. Located in the buzzing Salamanca neighbourhood, next to the Paseo de la Castellana and Serrano promenades, it’s the ideal spot from which to explore all the city has to offer.
Price: From €161 per night, when booked 14 days in advance.
Where to Stay: Le Close Medicis
Built in 1773 for the infamous Medici family, this is a place filled with history. Start your day in the hotel’s stunning gardens before strolling out to Saint-Germain-des-Prés or heading for a wander round the Latin Quarter. Take time out to have a drink in the cosy lounge, or snuggle up to read by the fireplace. Located in an easily accessible and legendary area, this option won’t fail to win you over.
Price: From €114 per night via ChateauxHotels.com.
Where to Stay: PiazzadiSpagna9
Looking for a modern stay in Europe’s most ancient city? With its arty vibe – the hotel is a former studio and boasts its very own gallery space – PiazzadiSpagna9 is a contemporary jewel, nestled on one of Rome’s most famous piazzas, the perfect spot for an aperitif. Stylishly intimate, with just six bedrooms, this unique find is one to book in advance.
Price: From €210 per night via I-Escape.
City: St Petersburg
Where to Stay: Hotel Astoria
If you’re suffering from War & Peace withdrawal symptoms then book a trip to Russia’s most breathtaking city, St Petersburg. A registered landmark since before the Revolution, the stunning Hotel Astoria has long played host to an illustrious list of guests thanks to its unbeatable position right in the heart of the city. Located next to St. Isaac's Cathedral, some of the St Petersburg’s top sights are just a stone’s throw away.
Price: From £133 per night for a Classic King Room.
Where to Stay: Hotel Miró
The latest European city-break hotspot, Bilbao is one to add to your must-visit list pronto. You’ll find great restaurants, a tapas bar on every corner, and amazing art at the Guggenheim. Stay at the Hotel Miró, nestled in the city’s cultural hotspot near the Museum of Fine Arts and within walking distance of the quaint Old Quarter.
Price: From £102 per night when you book via Doris & Dicky.
Where to stay: Rutland Hotel
Fancy staying a little closer to home? Make your way to Edinburgh’s Rutland Hotel for a romantic getaway – its central location will help you explore the capital’s historic beauty with ease. Boasting sumptuous décor and a relaxed vibe, the building itself is an Edinburgh institution in its own right, home to one of the city’s best bars and finest gourmet steak restaurant, Kyloe.
Price: From £135 per night for a Standard Double Room.