1. Mama Shelter
A stone’s throw from the final resting place of Jim Morrison and Frédéric Chopin at the Père-Lachaise cemetery, this cool design hotel is part of a small chain by Philippe Starck — hip and colourful. Chic rooms come with wi-fi and iMacs, plus there’s a restaurant, a pizzeria and a relaxed rooftop bar with umbrellas and city views.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £66 a night (00 33 825 00 62 62, mamashelter.com)
2. Hôtel Arvor
Saint Georges Paris
There’s a refreshing mix of Parisian style, pop art and country retreat at this small hotel a minute’s walk from the Saint-Georges metro station. Bright rooms have feature walls, a smattering of modern and retro furniture and interesting lithographs. You get goodies such as Jean-Paul Hévin chocolates and free wi-fi.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £78 a night (00 33 1 48 78 60 92, hotelarvor.com)
3. Auberge de la Source
Saint Ouen sur Morin, Seine-et-Marne
A short drive from the beaches of the Seine estuary, this charming hotel-restaurant dates back to 1763 and was a favourite haunt of Montmartre artists. Rustic-chic rooms have stark white walls and some have period features such as fireplaces or beamed ceilings. The restaurant serves food with produce from the local market and there’s a good champagne menu, thanks to its proximity to the sparkling wine region. Outside, there’s a pool and a deck with sun loungers, all shaded by a huge chestnut tree.
Details: B&B doubles are from £64 a night (00 331 60 24 80 61, sawdays.co.uk); Brittany Ferries (brittany-ferries.co.uk) has Portsmouth to Le Havre returns for a car and two passengers from £158. It’s about a three-hour drive from Le Havre to the hotel
4. Hôtel Jeanne d’Arc
In the heart of Le Marais is this village-style hotel, a short stroll from Place Bastille and the Seine. The straightforward façade hides a charming, eccentrically designed place with warm-toned rooms, distressed furnishings and eclectic artwork.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £73 a night (00 33 1 48 87 62 11, hoteljeannedarc.com)
5. La Cour de Rémi
Visit this country estate and you’ll never drive off the ferry from Dover and put your foot down again. Centred on a farmhouse built in the French restoration period, hotel rooms in converted stables have a rustic feel with exposed beams and bricks. There’s also a glamping option in a treehouse with a patio. The food’s pretty good, too — the owner Sébastien de la Borde was trained in French cuisine by Stephane Jego of L’Ami Jean in Paris.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £63 a night (lacourderemi.com); DFDS Seaways (dfdsseaways.co.uk) has return voyages for a car and up to nine passengers from about £60. It’s just over an hour’s drive from Calais to the hotel
6. Villa fol Avril
A former 19th-century coaching inn midway between the D-Day landing beaches and the Loire Valley, Villa fol Avril is another bucolic French offering. Its 12 rooms are wonderfully light, and marry natural materials, such as lime-wood and terracotta, with period furnishings picked up at the many antique shops in La Perche. There’s also a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the walled garden, and an open-air heated pool.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £73 a night (00 33 2 33 83 22 67, villafolavril.fr); Brittany Ferries (brittany-ferries.co.uk) has Portsmouth to Le Havre returns for a car and two passengers from £158. It’s a little over a two-hour drive from Le Havre to the hotel
7. Hotel-Restaurant La Grange du Relais
Surrounded by the vineyards of the Champagne region, this quirky hotel’s rooms have rustic-chic styling and exposed brick walls. There’s an on-site curio shop that’s worth a good rummage and a homely restaurant with set menus from £9. The Cross of Lorraine museum and memorial dedicated to Charles de Gaulle, who lived in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, is a few minutes’ walk away.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £58 a night (00 33 25 02 03 89, lagrangedurelais.fr); Eurostar (eurostar.com) has returns to Troyes from about £180. From Troyes it’s a one hour drive to the hotel
8. Le Château d’Etoges en Champagne
You get a lot of bang for your buck at this affordable 15th-century château hotel that was a favourite haunt of Napoleon. There are period character rooms from cosy doubles in the attic to huge tower suites, plus more modern offerings in a converted orangerie. There’s also a gourmet restaurant, vast parklands and even a moat. And if the price isn’t cheap enough, you can score an extra 10 per cent off if you “like” their Facebook page.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £69 a night (00 33 3 26 59 30 08, etoges.com); Eurostar (eurostar.com) has returns to Rheims from about £180. From Rheims it’s a one-hour drive to the hotel
9. Château de Gramazie
From a 9th-century abbey to a 19th-century manor house, this Languedoc château had several uses before being turned into a country hotel. Unlike many of its ilk, though, its rustic stylings have been replaced by modern, monochrome rooms in the main house and a soon-to-open wing. Common areas have hints to the hotel’s past, thanks to super-high painted ceilings, plus there’s a smart restaurant and an orangerie bar.
Details: B&B doubles are from £66 a night (00 33 4 68 31 15 21, chateaudegramazie.com); Ryanair has return flights to Carcassonne from about £40. It’s about a half-hour drive from the airport to the hotel
10. Le Lion d’Or
Built in 1840 and operating as a guesthouse since 1919, this small, family-run hotel in the heart of the Pyrénées is worth its weight in gold. There’s an air of a film set about its shabby-chic rooms. Old sleighs and snowshoes hang from the walls and in the front yard a rusty bike has flowerpots in its basket. There’s also a bar and a patio garden. An on-site ski instructor offers slopeside advice, and thermal spas for post-piste relaxation are a short walk away.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £56 (00 33 5 62 92 52 87, hotel-cauterets.fr); easyJet has return flights to Toulouse from about £60. It’s about a two-hour drive to the hotel from the airport
11. Bois Joli
Built in the mid-19th century as a retreat for those taking the waters in the spa town of Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, this hotel in an Anglo-Norman villa is on the edge of the Andaine forest and close to a large lake. Cosy, colourful rooms have either Regency or Norman decor but with mod-cons, such as flat-screen TVs and free wi-fi. Days can be spent foraging for mushrooms for dinner or boating on the lake, while the town’s spa and casino from its heady days are still open.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £59 a night (00 33 2 33 37 92 77, hotelboisjoli.com); Brittany Ferries (brittany-ferries.com) has Portsmouth to Caen returns for a car and two passengers from £158. It’s a little over an hour’s drive from the ferry to the hotel
12. Hôtel Continental
Although it’s housed in an 18th-century mansion, the rooms at this Bordeaux hotel err towards function over style. What you do get, though, is a fabulous location on a semi-pedestrianised street in the Grand Hommes district, meaning key sights such as the Customs Museum, the National Opera and the banks of the Garonne are all easily reached.
Details: B&B doubles are from £65 a night (00 33 5 56 52 66 00, en.hotel-le-continental.com); easyJet has return flights from about £55
13. Hôtel Windsor
You could stay in this hotel for a good couple of weeks and not get bored — especially if you tried a different room each night. Most of them are styled by artists, making each unique. Choose from rooms with cartoons stencilled on the walls, to those with abstract art. There’s also a pretty garden with bamboo, bougainvillea, fruit trees and a pool, as well as a spa and a restaurant.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £60 a night (00 33 4 93 88 59 35, hotelwindsornice.com); easyJet has return flights to Nice from about £60
14. Hôtel Le Canberra
It’s almost impossible to find a decent hotel in Cannes for less than £100 a night but this is the closest you’ll get — even if the price tag comes with a low-season caveat. Just off Rue d’Antibes and a couple of blocks from La Croisette, you’re in the thick of the action in rooms with a nod to 1950s styling that stays on the right side of retro-cool. A highlight of the stay is the 24/7 bar-terrace, perfect for balmy evenings and pretending that you’re in town for the film festival.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £73 a night (00 33 4 97 06 95 00, hotel-cannes-canberra.com); easyJet has flights to Nice from about £60. It’s about a 40-minute drive to Cannes from the airport at Nice
15. Hôtel Mare E Monti
Inspired by the original owner’s trip to Puerto Rico in 1870, this maison Americaine has been converted to a luxurious hotel where stays are a steal. From an elevated location outside an inland village that’s 16km from the beach, it overlooks a national park and has an elegant pool deck of the kind where you’d expect to see celebs. There’s a homely feel to the rooms, and some have period features, such as original fireplaces.
Details: B&B doubles are from £98 a night (01202 703500, justcorsica.co.uk); Skyscanner.net has return flights to Corsica from about £85
Germany and Austria
16. Hotel Hüttenpalast
This quirky hotel tops the lot. Housed in a former factory, it has an inside hall with caravans and wooden huts, and eclectic rooms. The hall is packed with reclaimed furniture and art made from found goods, plus there’s a garden and a sauna. The café-restaurant hosts a number of left-field events.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £55 (00 49 30 3730 5806, huettenpalast.de)
Overlooking the River Spree and in the trendy area between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, this cuboid hotel has pink rooms by New York designer Karim Rashid. All have iPod docks, underfloor heating and posh toiletries while communal areas include Wii consoles, a two-floor gym and a roof bar. Watch out for the open-mikenights.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £67 a night (0870 80 71 235, nh-hotels.com)
18. Michelberger Hotel
There’s a touch of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis about this hotel in a former factory. Its rooms have custom-made furniture, kooky mezzanine features and statement wallpapers. There’s a quirky reception area with cement walls lined with cuckoo clocks, a massage studio, cinema screenings and arts events.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £59 (00 49 302 977859, michelbergerhotel.com)
This small hotel is set back from the docks in the trendy Schanze area so you’re a hop, skip and jump from cool restaurants, hip bars and arty boutiques. Rooms are bright and have dashes of colour. If you can, bag one with a balcony for views over Schanzen Park. Everything else is stripped back and there’s no breakfast, but you do get free coffee, tea and juice.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £69 a night (00 49 408 222283, fritz-im-pyjama.de); easyJet flies to Hamburg from £50 return.
20. Gastwerk Hotel
This chic hotel in a former gasworks, claims to be Hamburg’s first boutique offering. Rooms have huge windows overlooking a central atrium or the city, and most have a loft feel with stylish furnishings and brick walls. There’s a bar and a spa, while key sights such as the Reeperbahn are a short walk away.
Details: Room-only doubles are from £69 a night (00 49 408 90620, gastwerk.com)
21. Hotel Concorde
Opposite the main railway station and close to the Alte Oper concert hall, this hotel is well located and has rooms to match. Simply designed and with luxury touches such as headboards made from black ostrich leather, they have lights that you can change depending on your mood. The only downside is the slightly dreary breakfast room.
Details: B&B doubles are from £42 a night (00 49 69242422, hotelconcorde.de); skyscanner.net has return flights from about £50
22. Nala Hotel
Once a 1960s relic, this hotel has been transformed into a plush, urban escape, which opened with a fanfare in September. Its individually styled and themed rooms are designed to appeal to all sorts, reflected by rooms called Zen (relaxing), Small Beauty (hip) and Climb Up (with a mezzanine). The Cinema room has a massive screen and Snow White is influenced by the fairytale. The contemporary restaurant offers chalk-board specials and Italian-influenced dishes.
Details: B&B doubles are from £72 a night (00 43 512 584444, nala-hotel.at); easyJet flies to Innsbruck from about £60 return
23. The Daniel
Housed in a utilitarian Sixties building, the Daniel offers a fun place to stay in the heart of Vienna. Quirky touches abound: there’s a sculpture of a boat by Erwin Wurm that seems to droop Dalí-style from a roof that is also home to beehives and an apple orchard, while there’s an urban gardening project that provides tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs for use in the Bakery restaurant. Rooms have an urban chic feel while a “motor pool” hires out bikes and scooters.
Details: B&B doubles are from £85 a night (hoteldaniel.com)