Hint: Not in the U.S. — these are some of the world's most beautiful cities.
Want to stay in a five-star hotel? You can sleep in luxury for only $175 a night — if you’re willing to do it in Cairo.
Hotels.com’s latest update to the Hotel Price Index features a look at where American travelers can put on the ritz without paying Ritz Hotel prices. (The London hotel charges about $680/night for its cheapest room.)
“While a stay at a five-star property in a major city may cost north of $500 per night,” Hotels.com says, top-notch hotels in many popular European or Asian destinations cost less than half that.
The study looked at average hotel prices from the first half of 2014 and found 10 for less than $210 per night. Below, we list the places with the cheapest luxury hotels below, along with the cost of a roundtrip flight from New York City and the coolest places for a selfie…
1. Warsaw, Poland
Hotel price: $130/night
Flight price: $997
What to see: Most of Warsaw’s Old Town was destroyed in World War II, but what survived and what has been restored is still impressive. It includes churches and a market square dating back to the 14th century. The city was also the home of composer Frédéric Chopin, so classical music fans should check out his stomping grounds.
2. Pisa, Italy
3. Cairo, Egypt
Hotel price: $175/night
Flight price: $710
What to see: The pyramids and the Sphinx are 12 miles from downtown Cairo, and you can get there on public transport. You’ll also want to wander around the Coptic section of Cairo, the oldest part of the city.
4. Mumbai, India
Hotel price: $176/night
Flight price: $983
What to see: In addition to beaches and colonial buildings, you’ll find here the world’s most expensive home, a 400,000-square-foot skyscraper. Film lovers should take a tour in the heart of Bollywood, Film City — you might even end up as a movie extra.
5. Delhi, India
6. Bangkok, Thailand
Hotel price: $186/night
Flight price: $1,002
What to see: You can reenact The Hangover II, or visit your favorite flavor of Buddha, including the dress-me-up one, the one lying down and the 5.5-ton solid gold one.
7. Budapest, Hungary
Hotel price: $199/night
Flight price: $930
What to see: The Castle Hill district includes several selfie-worthy locations, including the Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Matthias Church. Underneath is a cave and cellar complex called The Labyrinth, which historically has served as both a harem and a prison for Vlad Tepes — yep, Dracula. You can take a midnight tour with nothing but a lantern for light.
8. Brussels, Belgium
Hotel price: $205/night
Flight price: $1,059
What to see: The Grand Place, sort of the Times Square of Europe, started as a marketplace in the 10th century and grew into a place of political power. As the hometown of Tintin cartoonist Georges Remi, the city also has dozens of comic book murals.
9. Beijing, China
Hotel price: $209/night
Flight price: $794
What to see: You mean besides the Great Wall? There’s the Summer Palace emperors went to for R&R centuries ago, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City, which is no longer forbidden.
10. Istanbul, Turkey
Broaden your horizons and save
Expanding your search to four-star hotels opens up a lot more cities for the same hotel price or better — sometimes by half. Two nights at four-star hotels in Shanghai or Madrid average about $130. That’s cheaper than a single night in a one-star hotel in Honolulu ($142).
The bottom line seems to be that you’ll pay more for luxury in bland vacation destinations than exotic ones, so you might as well consider places you’ve never thought about before. Especially if the only reason you never considered them was price.