The Most Romantic Hotels in Budapest for a Seductive Stay in the Pearl of the Danube

Budapest ecarql/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
Photo by ecarql/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

by Adrian Phillips, The Telegraph, December 18, 2019

Budapest is one of Europe’s most romantic cities, with broad boulevards, classical buildings and the Danube sweeping through its middle. This is a place for riverside strolls past illuminated bridges before splurging on dinner in one of its several Michelin-starred restaurants. You might be looking for a plush hotel with windows overlooking the water or something smaller and quirkier in character, with artsy styling and upcycled furniture. Whatever you’re after, you’ll find options in both cosmopolitan Pest and the historical heartland of Buda. Here's our pick of the most romantic hotels in Budapest.

Aria Hotel Budapest

9Telegraph expert rating

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A music-themed hotel in the shadow of St Stephen’s Basilica, whose rooftop bar could become the coolest place in Budapest for a cocktail. Other highlights include the soaring garden courtyard, complete with kitsch sofas and a space-age piano, and a seductive underground spa and swimming pool. The Stradivari restaurant has a soothing wall of water, violins hanging from the ceiling and a menu of excellent, well-presented international and Hungarian dishes. It is within walking distance of the city’s opera house, parliament building and Széchenyi Chain Bridge.

From £247per night

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• The best boutique hotels in Budapest

Corinthia Hotel Budapest

9Telegraph expert rating

The Corinthia carries itself with an effortless grace that no other five-star in Budapest quite matches. It is a genuine beauty, its neo-classical façade opening onto a lobby of creamy marble and a centrepiece staircase that sweeps up to a vast ballroom. The building is divided between two glass-covered atriums that suck in light. The service is impeccable. Facilities include the Royal Spa, which offers a range of massages and treatments, and has not only two Finnish saunas, three whirlpool tubs, a steam room and complimentary juice bar, but a truly stunning pool surrounded by Corinthian columns and topped with a stained-glass ceiling.

From £114per night

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• Where to stay in Budapest: hotels by district

Continental Hotel Budapest

8Telegraph expert rating

Today, the Continental’s lobby has leather armchairs and an arching glass roof, but an open-air pool once filled this space – this building was previously home to public baths. Since 2010, however, it has operated as arguably the city’s classiest four-star hotel, with top-quality service and facilities. The pick of the bunch is a rooftop swimming pool complete with poolside sun loungers and splendid views to Buda Castle Palace and other city landmarks. There’s also a small indoor infinity pool on the seventh floor, together with a whirlpool, saunas and a fitness centre.

From £73per night

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Prestige Hotel Budapest

8Telegraph expert rating

From its classical façade to the sleek glass lifts, this is a hotel with confidence and class. The hotel has a small fitness room plus whirlpool and sauna on the first floor, while just off the lobby is an elegant salon with wood floors and a mock fireplace that makes a relaxing spot to read the newspaper. Hotel catering is provided through a joint venture with Costes, Hungary’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, who have rented the dining room and established Costes Downtown. As you’d expect, this is a fine-dining restaurant that comes with a healthy reputation.

From £98per night

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Baltazár Budapest

8Telegraph expert rating

This small hotel is owned by the Zsidai family, who have been leading restaurateurs in the city for more than 30 years. As you’d expect, its restaurant is top drawer, and the hotel has a colour, character and attention to design detail that makes it very special. The 11 rooms (including three suites) are each unique in design but share a creative, classy flavour. One has a feature wall showing Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, another an unusual open bathroom with a shower cubicle overlooking the bedroom; some have parquet flooring while others are carpeted. Grilled dishes at the restaurant are the speciality, as well as variations of Hungarian classics.

From £60per night

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Hotel Moments Budapest

8Telegraph expert rating

Marrying contemporary design with the original spirit of its 19th-century building, Moments is a place with character and elegance. The building dates to 1880, and real pride has been taken in its renovation – look up, for instance, to the frescoes in the glass-topped atrium lobby, which are faithful to the style of the period, and took several months to paint. Bistro Fine, the hotel’s low-lit restaurant, is a real corker. Hungarian and international dishes are creative, beautifully presented and very reasonably priced. The hotel sits at the lower end of the boutique-lined Andrássy út.

From £85per night

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Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest

9Telegraph expert rating

Housed in 19th-century mansion buildings, the Kempinski is a modern construction of glass and straight-lined stone. Service is gold-standard, and the facilities follow suit. The spa has steam baths, a Finnish sauna, and an intriguingly named aroma sauna ice well, as well as a decent gym, and pool with jet stream and whirlpool tub functions. You can book a variety of massages. A 'mini concert' by students of the city’s Ferenc Liszt Music Academy is performed most Saturdays at 5pm in the Living Room. There are several restaurants, including Nobu, part of the chain of high-end Japanese fusion restaurants under the direction of Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.

From £120per night

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Gerlóczy

8Telegraph expert rating

Gerlóczy lacks bells and whistles – indeed, it’s officially categorised a private lodging rather than a hotel – but it oozes a character you’ll find nowhere else in the city. The building itself was constructed in the 1890s, and is believed originally to have housed skilled artisans – stone-carvers and the like – working on the adjacent City Hall. The bustling café-brasserie opened a decade ago with a deliberately last-century Parisian slant to its look and feel. There are 19 rooms, each with polished parquet flooring and the grace of an early-20th-century Parisian apartment. Five rooms have freestanding bathtubs and the rest showers.

From £62per night

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Hotel Parlament

8Telegraph expert rating

Parlament is small but very pleasingly formed – indeed, it’s one of the best boutique hotels in the city, with more facilities and more imaginative design features than others in this category. The bar has an eclectic collection of brightly upholstered armchairs and cow-hide stools, while the breakfast room has the feel of a rustic food market. It also has a lovely little wellness area, including a whirlpool tub set in a relaxing, green-tiled room, and a sauna. The 65 bedrooms, which have a distinct Art Deco feel, are impressive.

From £67per night

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Pest-Buda

8Telegraph expert rating

Pest-Buda blends the modern and the historical with genuine class. And there is history here, for the building housed an inn as early as 1696 (you can still see original brickwork and marble seating around the central stairway). Rooms come in four classes (Courtyard, Deluxe, Suite and Atelier Suite), and have real star quality. There’s Hungarian oak on the floors and limestone in the bathrooms, and an eclectic scattering of modern and historical pictures on the walls. All rooms have a walk-in rain shower rather than bathtub, with the exception of the two atelier suites, which have both.

From £56per night

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The Ritz-Carlton Budapest

8Telegraph expert rating

The Ritz-Carlton feels very much tailored to its surroundings. The Danube is represented in the blue and white swirls of the carpeting, and there are reminders of yesteryear Budapest in old advertising posters and a case displaying ‘Hungaricum’ such as the Rubik’s Cube (invented in 1974 by a Hungarian professor). Despite the imposing early-20th-century façade and stained-glass cupola, the hotel has a relaxed feel, its high style softened with vases of flowers and comfortable sofas. The decent-sized rooms (including 30 suites) are contemporary in style with neutral colours of beige and cream.

From £233per night

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St. George Residence

8Telegraph expert rating

You can feel this Baroque building’s rich history in its very stones. It once housed an inn called Goddess of Fortune, which had a famous café frequented by noblemen and Jacobin plotters alike. Austrian commanders stayed here during the 1848 Independence War, and there’s a cannon from that period in the courtyard. From the stone floors to the terracotta-painted walls, this is classically elegant accommodation. The 25 elegant suites are divided between four categories (from Bronze to Diamond), and vary in size. There are golden drapes and bedspreads, chandeliers and romantic oil paintings. Most suites have baths, although a couple have showers, and three have hot tubs.

From £74per night

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This article was written by Adrian Phillips from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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