It's about time I revisited one of my favorite travel subjects: anything-but-cookie-cutter lodging for those of us who just can't swing a $1,200—or even $500—a night rate. I love a hotel that's gentle on your wallet, but also has you saying "Well, hello there" when you arrive because it's just so dang cute/artsy/romantic. (In fact, I'm so into such spots that I've blogged about others here and here.) Below are three more great options run by people who obviously know a thing or two about style:
The Caribbean island of Anguilla (where you'll feel like you've died and gone to beach heaven) has got a pretty pricey rep, but the newly opened Anacaona Boutique Hotel (from $150) is a relative steal that's a hop, skip, and jump from a mile-long stretch of sand. Each of the 27 rooms has a balcony on the outside and Frette linens and an iPod dock within.
For another take on the Caribbean, head down to Belize. The jetsetter's destination of choice? Ambergris Caye, a 25-mile-long isle off the coast. There you'll find sandy streets, long swatches of beach, and sumptuous seafood. The Blue Tang Inn (from $99) is a quaint escape with a sundeck and 14 casually cheery rooms.
About an hour north of Cabo San Lucas, the beach town of Todos Santos will hit the spot for those looking for that laid-back brand of sand, surf, and sun that Mexico dishes up so brilliantly. It's the kind of place where surfers ride the waves and locals fish them. The 14-room Guaycura (from $195) is a sexy ode to the boutique hotel complete with a roof-top bar and Venetian-tiled pool in a revamped mid-nineteenth-century townhouse. It's a helluva flight of fancy without the price tag to match.