As European cities go, Budapest in Hungary is a great destination for a luxury stay. Hotel prices, including for 5-star stays, are a lot lower than most other cities. Discounted rooms are often available for around $130 USD per night (except for the ultra-luxury Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace). Based on a Hungarian friend’s recommendation, we choose to stay at the Corinthia Hotel Budapest.
🐾 Dog-friendly: This hotel welcomes dogs for an extra charge. However, when I stayed it was without my dog.
The History of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest
The Corinthia Hotel Budapest was originally built in 1896 as the Grand Hotel Royal. At the time it was the largest hotel in Europe. Over the years, it was the site of the the first screening of a motion picture in Budapest by the Lumiére Brothers and of many classical concerts conducted by the famous Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. It was extensively renovated by the Corinthia Group after having been closed for a number of years. It finally re-opened in 2004, kitted out in a typical modern luxe style with plenty of marble accents.
A Tour of the Hotel
The most impressive feature upon entering the hotel is the grand reception area, stretching multiple stories high. As it was almost Christmas at the time of my stay, there was a large Christmas tree erected in the reception area, along with a gingerbread house.
However, my favourite feature of the hotel was the in-house Royal Spa, including heated swimming pool and spa pools. Budapest is well known as a spa destination. And there’s nothing more relaxing than being able to change into your swimmers and a supplied robe, wander down the long corridors of the hotel to a lift straight down to the spa, without heading outside into the frigid winter air. (And about those long corridors: they often seemed to stretch forever, such is the size of the hotel.)
There’s also no need to step outside for dinner The hotel has a selection of three restaurants and a cafe to dine in. I would have liked to eat in the Bock Bistro, which serves up traditional Hungarian cuisine fused with Spanish tapas, but left the booking too late.
The Unmissable Sunday Brunches
I did, however, book in time for the hotel’s signature Sunday brunch. Yes, it is a very expensive meal for Budapest (about $40 USD for the Christmas Sunday brunches). But, it was the most decadent buffet experience I have ever had, complete with unlimited glasses of wine. Many of the special dishes change from week to week, but highlights for our Christmas time brunch included a carved turkey and whole pig, a sushi bar, and an enormous selection of desserts: crepe station, gelato, macaroons and so much more…
The Hotel’s Surrounds
The Corinthia Hotel is located on the Pest side of Budapest. It’s about a kilometre walk from the city centre and many of the tourist attractions. However, it’s also only a block away from the Octogon Square and its World-heritage listed metro station. If you do walk to the city centre, take your pick between walking down Andrássy Avenue, a grand boulevard upon which the State Opera is located, or else down Király St. Király comes into its own in the evening, with many cafes and restaurants located on or just off the narrow street, plus one of Budapest’s famous ruin pubs. Alternatively, at the end of a long day of sight seeing, just relax in the hotel bar. It has quite reasonable prices for a luxury hotel (less than $5 USD per drink). And then head on down to the Royal Spa for a relaxing soak!
Note: The author stayed in the hotel at her own expense.