There’s a wide variety of accommodation in the city, but budget rooms in decent neighbourhoods are hard to come by. Most expensive are the high-rises along the Malecón, which offer great rooms and decent service, though the restaurants attached are generally sub-par; prices here are typically US$50 cheaper on weekends, when there are fewer business travellers. Given the exorbitant rate at these hotels, you should demand a room with an ocean view; initial protestations that they’re all booked are best treated with a dose of scepticism. If you’ve got this kind of budget, though, the smaller luxury pensiones tucked away in the Zona Colonial, some of them in sixteenth-century mansions, are really worth considering.
The Zona Colonial also has a few mid-range options, but keep in mind that they’re set amid the centre of city activity and thus can get a bit noisy at night. If you want peace and quiet at a more reasonable rate, head to one of the small hotels in residential Gazcue, all of which come with hot water, TV and optional air conditioning. Be sure to see your bed before paying for it; room quality can vary widely within a single establishment. There are also plenty of less expensive, basic rooms available in the shopping district around Avenida Duarte, but that neighbourhood gets very dicey at night. Wherever you go, you may want to check that your hotel has a generator that provides power during the frequent city blackouts and that the management is willing to run it 24 hours a day.