4. The Pearl, San Diego
1410 Rosecrans St
Twenty-three feature-rich guestrooms and a happening weekend be-seen scene have made this the top South California choice for the canny value vacationer since it opened in August 2007. The Pearl's tongue-in-cheek retro-chic décor has its roots in mid-century modern design; curves and '60s hues star. Rooms feature free WiFi and local calls, fishbowls hanging from walls, vintage-modern furniture, chrome bathroom fixtures and top of the range audio options, such as Roku SoundBridge Radio. The saltwater swimming pool and its secluded cabanas are as much of a scene as the Restaurant at the Pearl; reserve ahead for outdoor dining or bottle service. Get in a few lengths or grab a seat at the poolside lounge and catch a Dive In movie on the 10-foot screen. Late night arrivals (after midnight) can benefit from the Play and Stay rate of $79.
5. Ace Hotel, Portland, Ore.
1022 S.W. Stark St
503 228 2277
The Rose City presents some tough choices when it comes to picking hip economical digs (Portland is also home to homo-adored retro motel Jupiter, home to many a queer night), but the Ace is my favorite P-town pad. Within swinging distance of Stark Street's gay bars and clubs and a short sashay from the delights of downtown Portland, the edgy Ace is a reinterpretation of a classic turn-of-the-century hotel. Coffee aromas greet you when you enter the dark wood lobby, where you might find guests lounging round a vast coffee table, reading papers, having impromptu photo shoots or playing with old Super 8 cameras. Guestrooms have features such as turntables, clawfoot tubs and vintage furnishings. Eclectic art, free WiFi and flatscreens beckon from all 79 rooms. Pets are welcome.
6. Aqua Aloha Surf, Honolulu, Hawaii
444 Kanekapolei St, Waikiki Beach
This surfing-themed beach gem offers stylish digs close to the waves. The water is never far away; balconies offer ocean views, the poolside scene is always buzzy and all 202 guestrooms offer watery color schemes. High-speed Net access, continental breakfast, in-room mini-fridges and microwaves and Hawaiian coffee are all on the house.
7. Inn at Mulberry Grove, Savannah, Ga.
101 O'Leary Road, Port Wentworth, Ga.
Hot breakfast, mini-fridges and free high-speed Net access star at this designer bed and breakfast in the Savannah suburbs. Price-conscious travelers en route to Florida or South Carolina can refuel at this surprisingly stylish stop on I-95.
Part One | Part Two