Travel Picks: Top 10 budget boutique hotels

Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:33am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Budget travel and staying at boutique hotels don't have to be mutually exclusive with a little research. Online boutique travel brand Mr & Mrs Smith ( selects 10 top boutique hotels around the world which won't cost the earth. All double rooms from less than $240. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Coastal escape: Putahracsa, Hua Hin, Thailand

When Bangkok's well-garbed and well-heeled want to escape the heat of the city, they hightail it to Putahracsa in breezy Hua Hin. A glittering white oasis in the center of town, this 59-room retreat is a stylish reinvention of 1960s motel architecture that attracts beautiful people (and beautiful people-watchers) to its languid, laid-back lifestyle. Nab a spot poolside or pay a visit to the spa and feel yourself slip into a mellower way of life.

2. Arty abodes: The Cullen, Melbourne, Australia

Art doesn't imitate life at The Cullen - instead it's this hotel's raison d'être. With skyline views of Melbourne, this cutting-edge residence takes its cue from the art of Australian enfant terrible Adam Cullen, offering 119 cool contemporary rooms starring original paintings and prints, two restaurants, a bar, Smart cars and bespoke bikes. Shopping addicts will love the fashionable Prahran location opposite the food market and within easy reach of Chapel Street's stylish clothing stores.

3. Views: The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai, China.

A hip antidote to Shanghai's shiny modernity, bijou hotel The Waterhouse at South Bund transforms a crumbling 1930s factory in the historic Shiliupu dockyards into gritty-glam designer digs. Smack-bang in the center of the action on the iconic Bund, the Waterhouse boasts 19 uniquely styled rooms that blend industrial concrete and exposed bricks with Scandi-sleek sensibilities and a cutting-edge furniture collection. On-trend drinking and dining options include Table No. 1 restaurant and a knock-out rooftop bar overlooking the bustling Huangpu River.

4. Rural: Le Couvent d'Hérépian, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

With its world-class wines and fragrant pine forests, the village of Hérépian on the fringes of the Haut Languedoc national park is seriously sigh-inducing. It's also home to Le Couvent d'Hérépian, a renovated 17th-century convent with 13 blissful suites. Polished period charms are matched with a host of modern touches in all 13 suites, such as preloaded iPods, WiFi and luscious local bath products, as well as a subterranean spa, terraced garden and table d'hôte, making for a romantic escape in a rural idyll.   Continued...

<p>Putahracsa - La Canna Pool Villa in Thailand is seen in a handout photo. REUTERS/Handout</p>