THE OWNER'S DOG SLEEPS ON A CHAIR IN THE lobby. You could grow old waiting for the crotchety cage elevator, and the keys look like something out of a Nancy Drew story. The beds sag, the plumbing sings and the carpet could use a shampoo.
Recognize this? It's a budget hotel in London, Paris or Rome, as basic as a Days Inn or an Econo Lodge in the United States but far more idiosyncratic. The kinks and character are part of the fun. The challenge is finding a budget hotel that's not only endearingly quirky but also affordable, clean, secure, convenient and well-run.