Best affordable city hotels in the U.S.

Courtesy of Charleston Place Hotel / Today
Charleston Place in Charleston, S.C., is home to 442 elegant rooms furnished with Chippendale-style furnishings and flat-screen TVs.

The Brown is a Kentucky institution: the Georgian Revival–style hotel in Louisville wows guests with marble flooring, ornate ceilings, feather beds — and the Hot Brown, a decadent, open-faced turkey sandwich. Even more impressive, the rates start as low as $129.

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This irresistible combination of character and value makes The Brown one of America’s top affordable city hotels, as selected among high-scoring properties in Travel + Leisure's annual World’s Best reader survey. All these favorite hotels offer room rates between $90 and $250 a night — meaning there’s bound to be a hotel that’s right for you.

That’s especially good news considering that finding a good deal may get a little tougher for travelers in 2012. Business data firm TravelClick predicts that, after a long slump in hotel prices, rates will rise almost 4 percent in 2012, thanks to increased demand as the economy recovers.

At least there’s no need to compromise on quality. The Waldorf Astoria Orlando, for instance, has outposts of celebrated dining venues from the flagship property in New York. Not to mention two pools and a spa with 21 treatment rooms. But at $159 a night, its rate is less than half that in Manhattan — and you get a free shuttle to Disney World. Besides, visiting a city that’s not on the West Coast or in the Northeast practically guarantees that other costs, such as dining and entertainment, will be more affordable, too.

Top affordable hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria Orlando also defy the conventional wisdom that you should look to a city’s outlying neighborhoods for a good deal. In Santa Fe, N.M., the pueblo-style Inn of Anasazi wins over guests with its tasteful, luxurious décor — handwoven rugs, paintings by acclaimed local artists, kiva-shaped gas fireplaces, and four-poster beds — placed in the heart of the action.

Although plenty of celebrities have been spotted checking into the fashionable Inn of Anasazi, you don’t need to star in a hit movie to be able to afford its nightly rates.

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