Travel to Hungary: The 7 Best Hotels to Stay at in Budapest
Budapest is a stunningly beautiful city in the middle of the Carpathian basin, along the banks of the Danube. Downtown Budapest has some of the most beautiful sights in all of Europe, with spanning avenues, architectural marvels and historic landmarks.
Some of these marvels and landmarks however are hotels. Hotels that - of course- still work, and provide the most luxurious accommodation this side of the planet, with unique features and history each.
If you've ever wanted to spend a night in a real-life Grand Budapest Hotel, then read on, for these hotels scrape the borders of reality. Particularly interesting is the history of #1 on this list, when brought in parallel to the fictional Hotel's.
7. Corinthia Hotel Budapest
Corinthia Hotel Budapest is located on the Grand Boulevard, close to Octogon on the famous Andrássy Avenue. The original hotel, Grand Hotel Royal, was opened to visitors in 1896 on the largest piece of plot along the Grand Boulevard.
The building included facilities like a post office, a bank, hairdressers and ticket office; as well as two luxurious restaurants, private banquet halls, a cafe, a confectionery, a grocery store and a bar. In 1896, the first ever motion picture presentation was held in the hotel by the Lumiere brothers.
After the second world war, the hotel was partially converted into offices. In 1953, it was restored as a full hotel, but in 1956 the roof burnt down. The building was re-designed, and sadly, all traces of the original structure were demolished. While it re-opened in 1961, it had to close down in the 90s due to bankruptcy and lack of interest.
The hotel was then finally resurrected in 2004 under the name Corinthia, and has been one of the most prestigious hotels in Budapest ever since.
6. Boscolo Budapest
Located close to the junction of Rákóczy Avenue and the Grand Boulevard, Boscolo Budapest has a prime location for any downtown exploration.
This beautiful eclectic building was completed in 1894, and was meant to house the offices of the New York Life insurance company. Situated on the ground floor is the New York cafe, a historic establishment that opened in 1894.
The building declined during the two world wars and was only opened as a hotel during the fifties. However, Boscolo hotels purchased the property in 2001 and five years of restoration work carried out by Italy’s National Center for the Restoration and Reconstruction of Monuments saw the building reborn from the ashes, opening up in 2006 as one of the most luxurious hotels in Budapest.
The hotel offers spa and wellness to visitors, as well as high-quality accommodations in rooms and executive suites. The beautiful New York cafe is still open for visitors, and the hotel proudly offers a fine dining salon as well.
5. Gresham Palace
Gresham palace, and Art Nouveau building in downtown Budapest right next to the Pest-side bridgehead of the chain bridge, was completed in 1906 to serve as an office and apartment building for the London-based Gresham Life Assurance Company.
During Hungary's occupation by the Soviet Union, the palace was used as barracks for the Soviet troops, later becoming derelict and abandoned. Obeiro Hotels acquired the structure in 1991, but dropped out in 1995 due to legal troubles.
Gresco Investments Ltd bought the property in 1998, and raised almost a hundred million dollars to renovate the building, keeping the old Art Nouveau style. Irish investment firm Quinland Private bought the hotel in 2001, spending enormous wealth on restoring some original parts such as the winter garden and the large staircase.
The hotel opened in 2004 and has been serving guests since. It changed hands once again in 2011, bought by the State General Reserve Fund of Oman. The hotel itself has been managed by Four Seasons since 1999.
4. Hilton Budapest
Hilton Budapest is located within the castle district, an UNESCO world heritage site. The hotel probably bolsters the best views in the whole of Budapest, with panorama over the Danube and the Hungarian Parliament building.
During the cold war, it was a grandiose feat that a five star American hotel would move into Hungary. According to the myth, Hilton's ambassador asked dictator/president János Kádár where they could build a hotel, he merely pointed in the direction of Buda castle, stating "there's a fine lot over there".
The hotel itself incorporates elements from an old, 13th century monastery, including the facade that faces the street side as well as the old chapel, a tower and the cloister walkways. The hotel has been quite controversial lately though, as many citizens and tourists claim that the cold-war era facade facing the Danube ruins the panorama of the Matthias church and the fishermen's bastion.
Never the less, Buda Castle's Hilton provides all the amenities, facilities and services one could expect from such a name, and with the best views in town, a prime choice for many visitors in Budapest.
3. Klotild Palace
The two symmetric and identical buildings decorating the eastern bridgehead of the Elizabeth bridge were built in 1898-99 on the order of Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The buildings had shops and a cafe on the bottom floor, offices and luxurious apartments on the other floors and an architectural firm's office in the attic.
The buildings were badly damaged during the siege of Budapest in 1945, with renovations and rebuilding stalled until the 50s and 60s for different parts. Until the early 2000s it was used as post office, but constructions of a hotel started in 2003.
Now the building houses Hungary's most iconic boutique hotel, the Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace.
2. Hotel Gellért
Hotel Gellért is one of the most iconic spas and hotels in Hungary, so of course it made to this list of best hotels in Budapest. The original hotel was built between 1916 and 1918 in Art Nouveau at the foot of the Gellért hill on the western bank of the Danube.
The hotel was renovated numerous times over the course of the last hundred years, and is probably the most beautiful spa in Hungary today. The hotel was nicknamed "The First Lady of Hungarian Tourism" due to its international fame and the amount of visitors it has each year.
Gellért Hotel and the connected Gellért spa have both indoors and outdoors swimming pools as well as medicinal thermal baths. The hotel was featured in the video game Hitman and has been the site of many award ceremonies in Europe, most famous being the international literary prize's and the Balint Balassi Memorial Sword Award's ceremony held there since 1997.
Danubius Hotel Astoria City Center is located on the corner of a busy downtown junction, which was named after the hotel. Astoria is the oldest hotel building in Hungary, with over a hundred years of history behind its walls.
The forefather of the hotel was opened in 1824 as a cafe and boarding house, quickly becoming a center of culture, literature and politics in Pest. One of the regular guests was Sándor Petőfi, who wrote his famous János Vitéz in the neighbor building where he lived from 1844-45.
The current hotel building opened its doors in 1914, and it was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities such as modern elevators, central heating, a dust-venting system and even an authentic wine cellar.
In 1918, leftist leader, count Mihály Károlyi, gave his speech to the crowd from the balcony of the hotel, officially announcing the socialist revolution. After that, the hotel became the new revolutionary government's seat.
Astoria lived a golden age between the two world wars despite the many grand hotels opening all over the city. When the Third Reich invaded and occupied Hungary in 1944, the hotel became the headquarters of the Gestapo's local branch. The building was severely damaged by two bombs during the siege of Budapest in 1945, but opened soon after peace was announced, housing American military officers.
There wasn't any hotel left intact in Budapest, so even for the half-destroyed Astoria, guests payed a hefty sum of money. The state took the hotel in 1948, and it was completely rebuilt and renovated with a proletariat buffet on the ground floor.
It was seriously damaged yet again during the revolution of 1956, but after some rebuilding and renovation it opened its doors once again for the 60s. Privatization saw the hotel bought by the Danunius group in 1996, and was awarded four stars in 1999. It was finally renovated between 2004 and 2007 to look immaculate, and the building was proclaimed a national landmark.
Location of the hotels in Budapest
(Prices - per room per night)
Which hotel did you like the most?
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