The cheap and uninspiring Twin Palms (225 E. Apache Blvd., 480/967-9431, www.twinpalmshotel.com , $80–150 d) is conveniently situated across the street from Arizona State University ’s campus and Gammage Auditorium . It’s a perfectly respectable option, and the 1980s Southwestern decor has its charms. Guests also have access to the mammoth ASU fitness center across the street.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a bland, vanilla box when you travel. Thankfully, the Fiesta Resort Conference Center (2100 S. Priest Dr., 480/967-1441, www.fiestainnresort.com , $140–200 d) is an unexpected bit of character in the midlevel price range. The Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired resort is nicely maintained, and its 270 rooms just received a much-needed updating. Thankfully, though, the public spaces retain much of their vintage character, with stacked concrete blocks, warm woods, and stained-glass accents. Guests can soak up the sun at the pool, which is surrounded by green lawns and tall palm trees.
Tempe Mission Palms Hotel (60 E. 5th St., 480/894-1400, www.missionpalms.com , $225–300 d) is a solid choice if you’re in town to catch a game at Sun Devil Stadium. You can’t beat the hotel’s Mill Avenue location, which houses dozens of bars and restaurants just outside the front door. The hotel itself is rather dated, though its rooftop terrace pool and tennis court are great places to hang out and survey Tempe  and the adjacent ASU campus.
The W Hotel’s younger, funkier sibling, Aloft (951 E. Playa Del Norte Dr., 480/621-3300, www.alofthotels.com , $325–375 d) packs a bit of style into its Tempe Town Lake  location. The loft-inspired space plays up its urban appeal with light woods, exposed ducts, and a hip patio with neon-green lounges and trendy lighting. Guests check in at a self-serve kiosk before heading up to the bright, airy rooms. Even the walk-in showers, loaded with Bliss Spa products, benefit from natural light. The outdoor pool, sleek gym, WXYZ bar, and small lounge with a hot-pink pool table add to the sleek L.A. vibe.