Our picks of Australia's best budget hotels, from Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane to Adelaide.
If we had an award for best hotel rebrand, it would likely go to the new Adelaide Ibis, a fresh and funky reimagining of the no-frills brand that makes staying in a three-star hotel suddenly seem appealing. The $70 million, 311-room property has murals by street artist Ghostpatrol and Samsung Smart TVs for streaming music, movies and games. What it lacks in minibars and room service it more than makes up for with a convenient CBD address and competitive rates.
In Sydney's top-dollar accommodation market, the Central Station Hotel stands out for its renovated rooms and advance-purchase rates of less than $100 a night. No two rooms are the same, so guests can choose a heritage-accented space to suit their budget - from "Shoeboxes" of 10 square metres to adjoining rooms for families. The CBD-edge location, handy to Oxford Street, Chinatown and Surry Hills, saves on transport costs.
Down on the New South Wales-Victoria border, the Atura Albury is a sharp restyling of the old Rydges Hotel. Brace yourself for the bold foyer and inflatable pool flamingos at this self-conscious "lifestyle" hotel, but rest assured the 140 rooms have substance as well as style - hence the espresso machines, Malin+Goetz toiletries and sofa beds for extra guests.
In newly fashionable Hobart, we like the distinctly unfashionable Fountainside Hotel for its CBD vantage (and views from higher floors) but most of all for its minibars. The comfortable rooms won't win any design awards but the minibars deserve a medal for stocking drinks at shop prices. The free WiFi, parking and cable TV are added bonuses.
The art-accented Larwill Studio in leafy Parkville, Victoria, handy to the Royal Children's Hospital and Melbourne Zoo, is a budget offering by Art Series Hotels (The Cullen, The Olsen). Inspired and decorated by contemporary artist David Larwill, the hotel has 96 "workspaces" with twin and king beds, coffee machines and soothing parkland views. Smart cars and bikes for hire encourage urban explorers.
Brisbane's new Tryp Fortitude Valley Hotel is street-art smart and affordable and offers beaut laneway breakfasts at onsite restaurant Chur.
In notoriously pricey Perth, the three-star Sullivans Hotel has a peaceful Kings Park location, helpful staff and impressive breakfasts. Deluxe rooms have balconies, and there's free WiFi, bicycles and a city shuttle bus. With rates this reasonable (from $163), just don't expect designer digs.