Save your euros for ski-lift tickets in Chamonix and charcuterie and pastries in Lyon — and check out our list of the top value hotels in the French region of Rhone-Alpes.
The 89-room Mercure Chamonix Les Bossons is a modern, upper-middle-range hotel located outside of downtown Chamonix in the French Alps. Rooms are simple and straightforward, but the hotel’s common areas -- particularly its retro-cool lounge -- are stylish. An indoor pool, on-site restaurant, and sauna add value to a stay here, though guests will need to have a car or avail the hotel’s free shuttle to reach downtown Chamonix. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.
The 156-room Mama Shelter Lyon is a mid-range hotel in the Jean Mace district in easy walking distance to public transportation. The hotel's main draw is its quirky, urban decor by renowned designer Philippe Starck, which includes cool accents such as black chalkboard ceilings and a playful restaurant and bar that has live music or DJs at night. Rooms are minimalist but stylish with exposed concrete walls and brick accents, 27-inch iMacs (in lieu of TVs), free Wi-Fi, and free on-demand movies. Rooms also have air-conditioning, coffeemakers, and minibars. The hotel offers on-site meeting rooms, a lobby shop, and a concierge, but doesn't have a fitness center, and breakfast costs an extra fee. The hotel may not be in a prime location, but it offers good value for its style and amenities.
The price and central Lyon location here are hard to beat. The upper-middle-range Hotel Carlton Lyon - MGallery Collection is housed in a building that dates from 1894. It's on Lyon's Presqu' Ile in the heart of the city, overlooking the Place de la Republique. Renovated in 2013, the hotel has retained beautiful historic details from the original building, such as stained-glass windows, intricate ceiling work, wrought-iron railings, and a cage-style elevator, which blend elegantly with its sophisticated modern style. A spa, cozy bar, and breakfast (for a fee) are the main features, along with meeting rooms and free Wi-Fi. Its 80 rooms vary in size (some are small) and include flat-screen TVs, minibars, and coffee- and tea-making facilities.
The mid-range Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux Arts occupies an eye-catching 19th-century building on a busy street corner in the historic center of Lyon. Its 76 spotless guest rooms were fully renovated in 2014, and feature high ceilings and double French doors opening out to balconies with street views. The higher category rooms have notable extras like iPod docking stations and Nespresso machines. But there's not much in the way of features aside from free electric-bike rentals, free Wi-Fi, and a small lobby bar.
Hotel La Residence is a basic but comfortable mid-range hotel located on the corner of a pedestrian shopping street in central Lyon. Its 67 rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and free Wi-Fi, and there are several accessible rooms for people with reduced mobility. The decor of the public spaces, like the hallways and breakfast room, is somewhat dated but generally tidy and clean. Overall, the hotel lacks personality, but it scores marks with guests for cleanliness and its location within walking distance of tourist sights.
This budget property has 127 spacious studios and apartments with kitchenettes that primarily attract long-term residents and business travelers, as well as tourists. Service is basic, with limited hours for reception and rooms cleaned once a week. Its location by the Gare de Lyon-Vaise train station and metro is convenient to the city center, but the rooms, which don’t have air-conditioning, can be noisy, and decor is spartan and a little worn.