£20 & up -- Edinburgh Hotel: '5-Star Sleeping Experience'
Time was when £20 in Edinburgh would nae have got ye more than a night in a doss house peopled by lowlifes out of an Inspector Rebus novel, Ian Rankin’s fabuously successful crime series set in the city. But how the travel scene has changed -- and is it Stelios Haji-Ioannou who dunnit? The easyJet founder’s fingerprints are all over the Tune Hotels' concept. Just as all you really, really need from an airline is to get your body -- hopefully still breathing -- from Athens to Biarritz (which is what Stelios delivered), so Tune started with the lowest common denominator of the hostelry experience: namely, a bed. Not just any old bed, though, but what the hotel group insists is a bed of the calibre delivered to 5-star hotels.
Which is all absolutely fine by this -- male -- hotel guest. I don’t spend much time in hotel rooms when I travel: I’m too busy stomping the streets, soaking up the newness. Pretty much all I do do in the little box I’ve paid for is sleep -- sleep and shower. And that is pretty much all you get out of the basic Tune Hotels' tariff. (The shower is a power shower, I should add.) Anything else -- air con, breakfast, a safe, even a towel -- you pay for, but if you don’t use it, you don’t. What this "luxury no frills" approach, to coin a phrase, allows Tune Hotels to charge is £25 a night… in Edinburgh. And Travelzoo’s only gone and slashed another £5 off that frankly fictional-sounding price point. Can ye believe it!? (Abject apologies to all our readers north of the border.)
£75 -- Central Melbourne Hotel inc Breakfast, Save over 35%
I won’t bore you with nostalgia about what a great city Melbourne is. About how it’s commonly called the most European of Australian cities, because of the outdoor café culture and authentic Mediterranean dining the wave of Greek, Italian and other assorted continental postwar immigrants brought with them. About how, as a consequence, this metropolis where I spent five contented years brews some of the best-quality coffee on the planet (ever wondered where the flat white comes from, Londoners? That place begins with M) and how you can enjoy it in a city with a generally mild riverside climate and a manageable population of around 4m. Instead I’ll suggest you visit yourself what has also been officially labelled the "world’s most liveable city".
It’s by no means the cheapest city, though. People have discovered Melbourne over the past decade and hoteliers have discovered people discovering it. Which is why you’d struggle very hard indeed to find a better hotel in this sort of central location for this price. But why struggle? Book the deal and have a coffee instead.
£159 -- Bruges Self-Drive Summer Break, Save 30%
And so to Bruges, a genteel sort of place that, like Edinburgh, makes an unlikely setting for a crime story. And although the Belgian Flemish capital is perhaps best known recently for the eponymous Colin Farrell hitman caper, the story we’re telling at Travelzoo is all about freedom. Specifically, the freedom to make your way, under your own steam and at your leisure, across the Channel and to this little jewelbox of a medieval city by car. It’s already a cost-efficient way to travel, yet our deal lops off the price a percentage that really is almost criminal.