Hotel Check: Hotel Aria Budapest, Hungary
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS In the heart of town on a charming pedestrian street, this musically themed boutique hotel is considered to be the best in Budapest. From the moment you enter, service is on point, and the long roster of amenities like free breakfast, wine and cheese each evening, and a music concierge and library pack in the value.
PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room on the random dates we checked start at $256
CONTACT Hotel Aria Budapest, Hercegprímás u. 5, 1051, Hungary, Phone +36-1-445-4055, https://ariahotelbudapest.com/en/
WHERE IS IT Next to St. Stephen’s Basilica and just blocks from the Danube River and famous Parliament building, this hotel provides tourists with one of the best locations for exploring the city on foot.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? This historic building was fully restored with great attention to detail. Flanked by two lounges serving cocktails and light meals at the entrance, guests follow a piano-themed pathway all the way through the atrium lobby. Reception is tucked away in the corner, but the real draw is the sunny central space beneath a glass ceiling. The crowning feature of this hotel is the stunning rooftop terrace and garden where panoramic views of the entire city are accompanied by fine dining and craft-made cocktails.
ROOM FACILITIES The rooms here are divided into four categories each representing a genre of music: opera, classical, jazz, and contemporary. Each room is named for a different musician, and guests will find modern portraits of each along with books related to their work. Even the hallways in each section pipe in related music. The décor is modern with varying color palettes in each section of the hotel. Soft carpeting underfoot and oversized beds with soft duvets and cushioned headboards are the norm. Murano glass chandeliers, abstract-shaped mirrors, and velvet sofas show off the hard work of the hotel’s talented designers.
All rooms come with modern perks like Handy smartphones that can be used to surf the web or make phone calls around town, iPad tablets, Blu-Ray players, espresso machines, and razor-thin flat screen TVs that can be set up like electronic fireplaces framed with marble. Guests can borrow music from the hotel’s thousand-strong library of titles. Some of the popular musicians honored in the hotel include Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Miles Davis, and Michael Jackson. Many of the rooms open to the interior atrium where furnished balconies allow guests to capture fresh air, ideal after a long flight.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS A marvelous breakfast buffet is served in the atrium with an a la carte menu. Nearby is the hotel’s one-of-a-kind Boganyi piano designed in Hungary and the source of afternoon entertainment for guests as they enjoy complimentary Hungarian wines and cheese between 4 and 6pm daily. No stay here would be complete without a visit to the rooftop garden terrace where the 360-degree views of Budapest and the surrounding hills are worthy of a postcard. This is the only year-round rooftop bar in town. By sunset, scoring a table can be tough especially now that word has gotten out around town about the tasty cuisine and talented bartenders.
Don’t miss Satchmo’s, the bar by the entrance, where the mirrors have been autographed by the numerous celebrities and musicians that have stayed here. The international culinary team here creates rotating menus using locally sourced ingredients including fresh catfish from a nearby lake and Hungarian specialties including lecso, a tasty pepper, sausage and tomato stew. The farm-to-table concept is proving quite popular with guests and locals alike.
LEISURE FACILITIES One floor below the lobby is the fantastic spa with several treatment rooms, a beautifully illuminated indoor pool and whirlpool, and lounge chairs and cabanas lining the pool. A fitness center features modern workout equipment to keep guests in shape. The elegant Teatro Aria room is perfect for special functions or movie screenings.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Free wireless Internet is available to all guests throughout the hotel. Most of the hotel’s business comes from leisure travelers, but the music concierge can point the way to two Internet-equipped computers, a printer, and coffee and bottled water station available at all hours.
VERDICT The hotel is one of the flagship hotels of The Library Collection hotel group. Its laser-like focus on quality and service help it shine above the pack in Budapest where competition from familiar chains has been heating up over the past few years. Aria Hotel Budapest offers beautiful accommodations in a central location that will keep Americans interested and intrigued during a stay in the Hungarian capital.
(Photos by Hotel Aria Budapest, Hungary)
By Ramsey Qubein
Ramsey is a regular contributor to Business Traveler across all print, digital, web and social channels. He travels more than 400,000 miles a year criss-crossing the globe to report on hotels, airlines, loyalty programs, and all things travel.
You can find more from Ramsey at http://www.ramseyq.com/, on Twitter – @dailytraveltips and Instagram – @dailytraveltips