Since I was very young, I’ve been dreaming about old-world hospitality and glamorous hotels – and when I finally came to Budapest this Fall, that’s exactly what I found! If you, too, like traditions, genuine luxury and warm-hearted people, Budapest should be on top of your bucket list!
Breathtakingly beautiful Budapest. The historical capital, which was severely damaged through World War II, still stands as a proud symbol of a grand past, but also an exciting future. You could say that Budapest is a mix of Vienna and Paris, but then again not really, cause this city is entirely its own. Did you know that Budapest is home of Europe’s oldest subway? Or that their Zoo is one of the oldest in the world?
Stay at a grand luxury hotel
With grand hotels such as Boscolo, Kempinski, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Buddha-Bar and Corinthia, Budapest is a hub for luxury hospitality. During my stay, I had the pleasure of checking in to last-mentioned, Corinthia, which offers quite an intriguing history. First opened in 1896 as Grand Hotel Royal, this five star hotel has preserved a lot of its original charm and looks. The movie ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ was heavily inspired by Corinthia Hotel Budapest – you’ll see how when stepping inside the impressive marble lobby.
Speaking of luxury; the good life is easy to access in Budapest. Whether you’re looking to sip champagne and eating caviar in your room or pampering yourself at the spa, there are plenty of opportunities.
Indulge in the spa culture
I definitely consider going to the spa as a luxury – especially, if it looks like the ones you’ll find in Budapest. The luxury spa’s at the grand hotels such as Corinthia and Ritz-Carlton are obviously beautiful but only meant for in-house guests. If you want to have a genuine Hungarian spa experience when it’s best, go to Szechenyi, which is located in the heart of the city’s main park. It’s a popular place for both tourists and locals, but I’d recommend it more for summer than winter because of the large out-door pools. Also, there are pool parties here every Saturday night during summer.
Another great spa is Kiraly, which is one of the smallest yet oldest public baths in Budapest. It was built by the Turks in the 16th century, and a lot of the beautiful Turkish architecture has remained. Guests will find four thermal pools, a steam bath and a sauna.
Did you know that the people of Budapest have been bathing in the natural thermal waters since Bronze Age? The water is said to cure all sorts of health problems.
Enjoy the food and cocktail scene
Hungarians are proud of their cuisine and their capital’s food scene is definitely on the rise. Whether you’re a fan of classic Eastern European dishes or if you prefer southern influences, all options can be found in Budapest – still, it would be a shame to visit without indulging in local, Hungarian dishes such as goulash, meat stew, fried peppers and – my favorite – Lángos, which is fried dough smothered with cheese, sour cream and perhaps garlic. Yum! A good Hungarian restaurant in Budapest is Café Kor, where all your food dreams will come true (at least, if you ask locals!) If you’re into Michelin-star restaurants, it’s worth to check out Costes, who are known to serve pure art on a plate.
There are numerous vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the Jewish quarter, and if you take a stroll down the streets close to the world-famous synagogue (which is by the way the second largest in the world), you need to pop by one of the hummus restaurants – the chain is actually called Hummus Bar, so it’s hard to miss.
There’s nothing like a good cocktail before (or after) dinner – something they know about in Budapest! I’d go for drinks at Buddha-Bar or Ritz-Carlton anytime, but you can also explore the local scene. Try WarmUp, who are known for their great service and homemade ingredients or Boutiq’Bar – a must-visit in Budapest!
For more information about Budapest, click here.