Hotel Oceana, Santa Barbara, California $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
This beachfront hotel may only be a motel makeover, but it's a good one, with perky, beachy decor by model-turned-furnishings-maven Kathy Ireland. Created from four vintage motor inns, Hotel Oceana has 122 airy rooms with whitewashed walls and furnishings tastefully decorated in cheery red, yellow, green, and robin's egg blue. It's not without its perks—two pools, a Jacuzzi, a small spa—but all said, it's a place where you sacrifice a bit of luxury for a good rate and a prime spot facing the waterfront.