Infusing Eastern mystique and Old-World elegance, Budapest delivers grandeur on the banks of the Danube River.
Having long inspired artists and travellers with its unique beauty and vibrant cultural life, the capital of Hungary was born of the gradual merging of three cities – Óbuda, the oldest and original settlement; Buda on the higher bank of the Danube; and the densely populated Pest on the right bank. The old towns are connected by the 19th-century Chain Bridge.
Rising above the Danube on Castle Hill is Buda Castle, a massive 200-room 18th-century palace that is home to the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. Budapest is famous for its many natural springs and baths credited for their physical and meditative benefits. The most visited is the impressive Szechenyi Baths, built-in 1913 in a Neo-baroque palace that honours the City of Baths.
The BusinessClass.com guide to the best luxury hotels in Budapest:
The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest is an art nouveau masterpiece that embodies the spirit of the city’s Golden Era. Entry is through iconic wrought-iron peacock gates and the lobby is adorned with over two million mosaic tiles illuminated by the striking chandelier. The original sweeping staircases and stained glass are beautifully resorted. Bringing this architectural jewel into the 21st century are the generously sized rooms and suites with step-out balconies and vaulted ceilings. All 179 are classic and light with Art Deco-style décor, marble bathrooms and modern amenities. Suites offer iPod Docking Station, satellite TV, and an extra guest bathroom. All have views of either the courtyard or towards the Royal Castle and Buda Hills.
Enjoy dinner at the Kollázs Brasserie & Bar, a modern European brasserie overlooking the Chain Bridge that offers a blend of French and Hungarian cuisine. The craft cocktail bar Múzsa serves a transportive fusion of Hungarian and Asian cuisines. Occupying the entire top floor, the hotel spa has seven treatment rooms, a sauna, and steam rooms. Swim in the infinity edge pool and take advantage of the Touch of the Earth Spa Treatments designed around the healing qualities of Hungarian moor mud. Situated on the Pest side of the Danube, this landmark hotel was built in 1906 and entirely renovated in 2004 to offer a fairy-tale palace experience in the heart of the city's gastronomical
Hotel Corinthia Budapest - 9/10
Hotel Corinthia Budapest combines the glory of bygone days with modern day comforts. Built in 1896 and having undergone two major renovations, the hotel carries itself with effortless grace. Wide spaces, creamy marble and two dividing glass-covered atriums ensure natural light and offer a sense of space that is continued into the public spaces. The neo-classical façade opens onto the lobby where a centrepiece staircase sweeps up to a vast ballroom. There are 412 rooms – Superior, Deluxe, Executive and Suites. The standard Superior rooms are stylishly designed with queen-sized beds, soft green carpets and marble bathrooms, with both a bath and a shower. Executive rooms include access to the Executive lounge, where complimentary snacks and drinks are available. The 14 Suites and Presidential Suite have had recent makeovers.
Hotel Corinthia Budapest has four restaurants; the Brasserie & Atrium serves Hungarian and international dishes, while the Rickshaw offes Japanese, Thai, Chinese and Indonesian dishes. The Bock Bistro is linked to a renowned Hungarian wine producer, and the Caviar and Bull is an independent restaurant specialising in beef and caviar. Facilities at the Royal Spa include a range of treatment rooms, there are two Finnish saunas, whirlpool tubs, a steam room and complimentary juice bar. The stunning pool is surrounded by Corinthian columns and topped with a stained-glass ceiling. There’s also a 24-hour gym with up-to-date cardio machines. The hotel’s large inner courtyard is a quiet relaxing space in which to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest is housed in a modern glass and stone building in the pedestrianised area to one side of Erzsébet tér. The ground floor resembles a promenade and brings the outside in with little ‘streetside’ establishments such as a takeaway deli, a café, a flower and gift shop, and a gallery area that showcases the work of young artists. The Living Room is a comfortable space with sofas, bookshelves and a virtual fireplace to relax in. The sophisticated 315 rooms and 38 suites are light and spacious, decorated with classic cream and gold tones, luxurious touches and a stylish bathroom. In keeping with the Budapest theme, there are Art Deco influences such as the design of the headboard and delicate curves of the New Empire style furniture. The superior rooms are above average size, while the suites feature some of the original artwork from the Corvinus Collection of Hungarian contemporary art. The refurbishment was overseen by British designer Alex Kravetz.
ÉS Bisztró is a casual in-house brasserie with chalk board menu that focusses on Hungarian or Austrian cuisine. Nobu, part of the chain of high-end Japanese fusion restaurants under the direction of Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, serves delicious sushi and Japanese dishes. Beyond these, ÉS Deli serves pastries and coffee. Although you might opt for the Blue Fox for post-dinner drinks, a chilled cocktail bar with silver scatter cushions. Kempinksi the Spa is on the second floor and has steam baths, an aroma sauna as well as a decent gym. Swim in the heated pool, or train and exercise in the fitness centre. The hotel is situated just 700 m from the Chain Bridge and Saint Stephen’s Basilica.
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest - 9/10
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest with its early-20th-century façade and stained-glass cupola offers a touch of tradition in a relaxed atmosphere. Having undergone a complete transformation that saw turn-of-the-century relics from the Adria Palace – as the building was known when it was the headquarters of an Italian insurance company, incorporated with modern amenities. Blue and white swirls on the carpets reflect the Danube, and there are old advertising posters, framed photos of historic Budapest street scenes, and a case displaying Hungarian memorabilia such as the Rubik’s Cube – Invented in 1974 by a Hungarian professor. The hotel has 170 elegant rooms and 30 suites decorated in a cool greys, creams and blues. Rooms are minimalist and come with a luxurious king bed, discreet storage space, a fully stocked mini bar and flat-screen TVs. They have marble baths and a separate shower. The top suites open up to private terraces overlooking the city.
The hotel’s Deák St. Kitchen is a stylish grill that specialises in steaks and traditional Hungarian classics. The Club Lounge offers meal throughout the days. A rooftop garden provides herbs for Latin inspired dishes at Ipanema Brazilian Grill, where quality Brazilian and Latin-American food is served. Ottimo specialises in dishes from the North of Italy. The Kupola Lounge is in the heart of the hotel beneath the building’s stunning signature stained glass cupola and grand crystal chandelier. The city’s thermal bath and wellness theme is continued at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, which draws on these traditions to offer a range of expert treatments. The hotel’s beautiful halfmoon pool is lined with mosaic and enhanced by naturally light, the 24-hour fitness centre, sauna, steam room, soaking tub and guidance of the concierge in planning your days out touring – all add to the experience.
Anantara New York Palace - 9/10
Anantara New York Palace Budapest Hotel occupies an elegant 19th-century building in the heart of Budapest, close to the Opera and Andrássy Boulevard. An extravagant architectural gem inspired by the Italian Renaissance, the hotel is impeccably decorated with Italian furniture and a fair share of gilding. Rather showy, the interior suits the building’s original façade with its glass ceiling in the lobby, bronze sculptures and wrought-iron entrance. The hotel’s seven stories and 185 rooms are designed by architect Maurizio Papiri with vintage-inspired furniture and carefully curated works of art. In the standard rooms the décor is more reserved. The exclusive rooms have rose marble bathrooms, tufted headboards and satin walls. Cream colours and natural light are accented by the Belle Epoque chandeliers. The Executive Suites have wingback chairs with gilded arm rests, satin curtains and the same Murano chandeliers and candelabras as the lobby.
The hotel's heart is the New York Café that has hosted the city’s poets and artists for over a century. Fitted with stunning frescos, Venetian chandeliers and over the top accessories — here you must try their world-famous 24-carat-gold coffee and Valrhona chocolate desserts. Explore modern Hungarian cuisine with Executive Chef Andras Wolf who oversees the New York Café and the Salon Restaurant, or enjoy snacks from the bar menu at the Nyugat Bar. The Spa at the New York Palace is decorated with reflective prisms, Swarovski crystals and has cascading waterfalls and rain showers. Along with the large pool, there’s a purifying sauna, fragrance-infused steam rooms and a small-size Turkish bath. It includes a steam bath and a relaxation pool. A fitness centre is also available. Tour the vibrant city in Anantara’s 59 years old chauffeur driven convertible VW SAMBA for an added level of fun.
The Aria Hotel Budapest is a luxury boutique hotel inspired by music. Master designer Zoltan Varro’s vision was to play on this while simultaneously recreating the rich, lavish atmosphere of a historic Hungarian palace. Its four wings — Classical, Jazz, Opera, and Contemporary — contain rooms named for famous musicians, from Bach to Billie Holliday, from Handel to Whitney Houston. The Classical and Opera rooms are Baroque in style, the Jazz rooms pay homage to the Twenties, and the Contemporary rooms draw on Pop Art. Each of the 49 rooms is named after a legendary musician or composer. The rooms have custom-made furnishings and state-of-the-art technology, and overlook the city or garden. The suites just get bigger and more extravagant, some with private terraces, others ‘opera’ balconies. Décor is contemporary and elegant, with shades of silver, cream, purple and blue. There’s plenty of marble and striking chandeliers. Bathrooms have separate baths and showers and Molton Brown products, as well as Nespresso machine.
The Stradivari restaurant has a soothing wall of water, violins hanging from the ceiling and a menu of excellent, well-presented Hungarian dishes that operate on a farm-to-table basis. On the ground floor is the sleek Satchmo’s Bar & Lounge, which serves cocktails. Most popular is the High Note Skybar, a sprawling, split-level roof terrace and bar that evokes the golden age of Hollywood. The Music Garden atrium lounge has a rare Bogányi piano, there’s Satchmo’s. After a busy day exploring the Budapest, relax in the underground spa and wellness centre.
Budapest Marriott Hotel – 8/10
The Budapest Marriott Hotel is located on the Pest side of the River Danube. Opened as a Marriott in 1994, the property was built in 1969 and has always been a popular draw for travellers. The Budapest Marriott Hotel is the only hotel in Budapest that guarantees magnificent Danube river views from all of its 364 rooms. Comfortable window seating and a generously-sized rooms provide smart, seamless living, where wooden flooring, new technology and a muted tones – with splashes of colours add to the fresh feel of each room. The corner suites are particularly beautiful. Additional features include a separate living areas with a sofa, a wet bar, a modern bathroom with all amenities, and a balcony.
Enjoy the Liz and Chain Greatroom at coffee time. The Liz and Chain Sky Lounge rooftop bar is where you can enjoy sunsets, a cooling gin-tonics and ultimate Summer evenings. Dinner can be enjoyed at DNB Budapest. Relax and recover with a wide range of healing massages in the wellness areas. Stay in shape with supervised classes, or with the help of a personal trainer in the gym. Enjoy the sauna, steam bath and whirlpool for added relaxation.
Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest - 8/10
Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest – In The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, is next to the river Danube on the Pest side, surrounded by iconic sites, shops and restaurants. A palatial hotel with colourful majolica tiles, Murano glass mosaics, a commanding staircase and luxfer-prizma crystal cupola reminding of its past. The hotel has 110 graciously decorated and spacious guestrooms including 18 luxurious suites and two presidential suites. King and double queen beds, as well as connecting rooms, are available. There are Art Nouveau rooms touches and Moorish and Oriental influences.
In the hotel’s restaurant, the Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie, resident chef,Lajos Lutz focusses on cooking with honest, local ingredients to bring you his Hungarian cuisine. The dishes are accompanied by a varied drinks menu and an impressive champagne selection. Step into the Zafír Spa for soothing serenity. The Zafir or Sapphire, the gem of wisdom, is thought of as a stone with calming powers restorative and this is the theme at the spa. Located on the 1st floor, the fitness studio is open 24 hours a day. Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest has a terrace from which to watch the world go by. There’s hiking and cycling on offer and he concierge can assist with planning your days. The hotel is pet-friendly, understanding that pets are an extension of your family.
InterContinental Budapest - 8/10
InterContinental Budapest is right on the water’s edge on the Danube Promenade directly opposite Buda Castle Palace in the centre of the tourist district. The building is strikingly modern, especially alongside the city’s palaces and 19th century architecture. Inside, the lobby is low-ceilinged and there is an Art-Deco feel to the central lobby bar. The 402 rooms are divided between road-facing classic and river facing superior rooms, with some deluxe rooms and suites too. Interiors are understated in beige, ivory and cream with dark-wood furniture. Most rooms have a shower over the bath, and all have an Espresso machine, a minibar and safe.
On the first floor, with wide windows overlooking the Chain Bridge, the Club Lounge offers all-day snacks, a happy hour in the evenings, private check-in and a quieter spot for breakfast. The open plan bustling Corso Bar & Terrace serves primarily international dishes with a few Hungarian options. The terrace is extremely popular in the Summer months. ARZ Lebanese Restaurant on the ground floor, serves authentic cuisine that will transport you to the world of Lebanese culture and culinary delights. Indulge in a wide selection of Mezze, Kofta dishes, grilled meat platters and delicious sweet treats. The hotels’ wellness area has a steam cabin, sauna and swimming pool. The fitness area has state of the art cardio and strength training machines is open 24/7.
Mystery Hotel - 8/10
Mystery Hotel Budapest is an eclectic palace filled with hidden secrets. Constructed in 1896 by the Hungarian Freemasons, the building was originally the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary. Inspired by the mystery of this secret society, interior designer Varró Zoltán has created a luxurious space shrouded in intrigue. Hidden passageways, puzzles and optical illusions are just some of the fun experiences built into his design. The grand staircase is lit by old-fashioned candles, and above the reception, a carpet appears to float in thin air. The hotel’s façade retains original Masonic motifs such as the square and compass, the single most identifiable symbol of Freemasonry. There is also a sculpture of a sphinx. The 82 rooms and suites feature unique twists on famous Baroque and Renaissance masterpieces – from Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring, where the girl has an iPhone in her hand, to a revised interpretation of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Divided into three contemporary design styles – Doric, Ionic and Corinthian – there’s a column at the entrance to each room indicating which you’re in. As well as a shower, some open planned rooms have a freestanding bath in the main body of the room. Each room has a safe, Nespresso machine and a pillow menu.
Dine in The Great Hall Restaurant & Lounge at the heart of the hotel. The former ceremonial hub of the Hungarian Freemasons, the Great Hall was built in an Egyptian-Revival style and has giant chandeliers, ornate columns, and an intricately designed and fully restored ceiling. The Sky Garden Rooftop Terrace is from where to take in the views of the city while indulging in a creative cocktail. The Secret Garden Day Spa occupies the central courtyard. Magnificent fountains and huge palm trees enclose the space creating an intimate and private atmosphere with a charming pool, Finnish sauna, hot tub, two treatment rooms, and a good gym. A stay at Mystery Hotel Budapest is an experience in and of itself.
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