The Best Budget Boutique Hotels tell the story of Mr & Mrs Smith's first forays, searching for those under-the-radar gems that you only find by word of mouth, and in many instances typify our favourite kind of stays: independent passion projects with exceptional character and refreshing price tags.
More than just a flabbergastingly good-value hotel (rooms start at £50 a night), Budapest’s Brody House is also a members’ club with a stylish bar, a sometime film and fashion-shoot set, and a thriving bohemian creative hub. From the graceful façade to almost everything inside, it’s is an inventive recycler’s dream. There are old doors turned into headboards and beds incorporating attic rafters, and the walls expose old paint and wallpapers seemingly pasted long ago. It’s a shabby-chic bastion of boho treasures that you simply won’t find anywhere else.
'The fit-out, in-house food and drink offer and price is very appealing, especially to a 20–40-year-old clientele' Wayne Hemingway, designer
'Bucket-loads of cool individuality' Louise Graham, Graham & Green
'A commune atmosphere replete with diner, in-house vinyl library and rentable balcony BBQs: all very clever stuff that turns a stay into so much more' Sarah Wilson, journalist
'An idyllic city spot complete with restaurant, bar,
swimming pool, garden space, and authentically vintage wallpaper in all
the bedrooms: you can't get much more cool for your cash'
Mary Garvin, Mr & Mrs Smith head of curation
It's not about 'cheapest' – you get what you pay for – and since our collection includes hotels in the world's busiest cities and on the planet's most remote beaches, setting a price is tricky. But to qualify as luxe-for-less, we think you should be able to book a sizeable double room for under £150 – as you can at all the Smith hotels long-listed for the Best Budget Boutique Hotel award.
Inexpensive should never become uninteresting: budget boutique stays should still have the stylish look and feel you've come to expect from Smith-selected stays, brimming with individuality and charisma.
There shouldn't be a step-down in quality just because you're not paying a premium – all the usual Best of the Best rules apply, so the bed must be dreamy, the decor desirable, and the facilities and service up to par.
Are there surprise treats? Extras that you might normally expect to pay for? We're often most impressed by the smallest details: fresh flowers, the choice of bedlinen, some home-made bread at breakfast, a well-stocked honesty bar.