Budget-Friendly Boutique Hotels

A night at a boutique hotel doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  Here are a few of my favorites, where you can getaway in style and on budget. From $90: Nueva Vida De Ramiro

Check in and chill out at Nueva Vida, a much-loved eco-friendly enclave in Tulum, Mexico, where the so-calm-it’s-almost-comatose vibe is in perfect keeping with the languorous pace of the bohemian beach town. Seaside bungalows are colorful and comfy, furnished with handcrafted furniture, local art, and silk hammocks on the veranda. No phones, no TV, and no Wi-Fi mean that you’ll have a hard time keeping up with the outside world. Turquoise water, bone-white sand and balmy ocean breezes will make you wonder why you ever wanted to.


From $95: Casa Blanca

I stumbled upon this urban retreat while on an Old San Juan shopping expedition (shocking, I know) and was so enchanted by the eclectic mashup of hanging lanterns, canopied daybeds and stunning art in the lobby (which does double duty as a gallery) I had to stop in for a tour. There are 32 compact rooms in this five-floor Calle Fortaleza walkup, each pimped out in multi-culti style with Indonesian furniture, Indian accents and Puerto Rican art. If you’re looking for a hip roost smack in the center of the city and within a stone’s throw of OSJ’s shops, sights and restaurants, look no further.


From $95: Jake’s


After a beachfront massage in Jake’s Driftwood spa I emerged transformed, literally glowing from the ministrations of the masseuse who took me from stressed out to blissed out in 60 minutes. But the spa is only one of the reasons to visit this compact Treasure Beach oasis where cosmopolitan creative types and more than a few international celebs chill out in water’s-edge villas ådecorated with Morocco-meets-Mo’Bay flair.


From $140: Idle Awhile

Negril’s white-sand strip is famous for its string of large all-inclusive resorts, but within their midst is this flip-flop-friendly boutique that offers both Jamaican style and prompt and personal service. Fourteen suites are studies in boho-chic, with sun-washed color schemes, fresh flowers and louvered windows that welcome the breeze. And the beachfront restaurant is my Sunday morning go-to for a heaping plate of ackee and saltfish with Negril’s lively beach scene on the side.