Best lodging of 2016: Eau Claire to Tobago

A memorable overnight getaway doesn’t have to break the budget, or maybe it’s high time that you splurged. Where? I count these properties as remarkable, based on my travels and experience in 2016.

Lismore Hotel, Eau Claire: Swanky new accommodations downtown are a quick walk to the riverfront, artsy venues and other casual to classy diversions. Technically, you don’t need to leave the former Ramada Inn for some of this: The Informalist is the hotel restaurant and cocktail lounge, serving burgers to black garlic pasta, roasted cauliflower steak to steak tartare. Also at ground level is ECDC (Eau Claire Downtown Coffee), brewing espressos and blending PB&J smoothies. On a rooftop is The Dive, a former swimming pool that is now a rooftop bar, one part enclosed, one part open-air seating: It turns lively at night, especially during summer. Why call it Lismore? That is Eau Claire’s sister city in Australia. Rates start at $97., 715-835-8888

Graduate Hotel Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Mich.: The small but growing boutique hotel brand always nestles near a college campus, and that is the case here, at the corner of Huron and State streets. Planked floors, oldtime library furnishings and murals mix intriguingly in the lobby. Room views, when you’re up high enough, are widespread of the campus and city. Add two ways to dine: a fun little coffeeshop with quick treats and the retro Allen Rumsey Supper Club (named after a city founder), whose daily specials include fried chicken on Tuesday and Maine lobster on Thursdays. The Friday fry is battered whitefish. End it with cherries jubilee, made tableside. Rates start at $103., 734-769-2200

Freehand Chicago, Chicago: Here is proof that you can afford the River North neighborhood. Overnight rates in this 1920s art deco building are as low as $35 for a bed in a room with two sturdy bunks, each with a little privacy curtain. So that means the possibility of sleeping with three strangers, sharing a bathroom and having no TV, but that’s the hostel way of life. Travel as a family or with three friends, if that bothers you. Clean and safe accommodations matter most to me; this one is three quick blocks from Michigan Avenue. Rates include a bare-bones breakfast: Think cold cereal, coffee, juice. A better option, next to a roomy lounge with stylishly mismatched furniture is Café Integral, a cool coffeehouse serving porridge to granola parfaits. It transforms into a late-night taco shop on some days, a nice match for the hotel bar, Broken Shaker., 312-940-3699

SLS Brickell, Miami: New to downtown is luxury lodging with lots of modern and often-whimsical artwork, sculpture to murals, in the lobby to guestrooms. It’s an international blend of artists: Ester Partegas of Spain, Katja Loher of Switzerland, Ray Smith of the U.S. and more. A marquee space is the rooftop, whose shimmering swimming pools (including hot/cold plunge pools) and many chaise lounges for sunbathing are surrounded by skyscrapers. Walk three blocks to the chic shops and restaurants of Mary Brickell Village, or dine in at the hotel restaurants: One leans Italian, and the other serves “sea snacks,” ceviches to seaweed. Other SLS locations include Beverly Hills, and one is in the works for the Bahamas. Rates start at $249., 305-239-1300

Hotel California, Todos Santos, Mexico: You know The Eagles’ song, and this is the place that inspired it in the Baja peninsula, between the Pacific Ocean and the Laguna mountains. To get there, follow – you guessed it – a long desert highway from Los Cabos or La Paz. Brilliant colors and funky design are benchmarks for the 1947 hotel’s décor in this sophisticated little desert town with cobblestone streets, many boutiques and gourmet dining. If nothing else, drop a few bucks in the hotel’s eclectic gift shop before leaving town. A little trivia: A Chinese immigrant built the two-story hotel, and he changed his last name to “Tabasco” to fit in with the local population. The property fell into disrepair in the Eagles’ era, until it’s renovation 15 years ago. Now the 11 accommodations range from standard rooms to a two-story penthouse. Rates begin at $105., (011-52) 612-145-0525

Hotel Andreas, Bamberg, Germany: A brief walk from the main train station in this UNESCO World Heritage City is a tidy, affordable hotel on a quiet side street that is only 10 minutes – by foot – to the historic Old Town. Expect simple but homey and clean furnishings, a serve-yourself breakfast and helpful staff. Consider this a perfect base for exploring the Bavarian city long known for its tasty, smoked beer. Rates start at $52., 0951-91700777

Magdalena Grand Beach Resort, Tobago: If you truly want to get away from it all, book a Caribbean trip to Trinidad and Tobago (two islands, one nation). Trinidad, home to hardcore Carnival partying and year-round steel pan music, is the more lively and populated island. Tobago at population 60,000 is more remote, and everybody seems to know each other. Even standard rooms at this isolated resort, a place to truly relax, have an ocean view and private balcony. Rates begin at $246, and flights between the two islands are frequent., 868-660-8500