One of the first decisions we made after booking our Viking River Cruise trip was to fly into Budapest, our embarkation city, the day before to give us a chance to stretch our legs & explore a city that has long been on our travel bucket list. While there are many places to stay in Hungary’s capital, the Aria Hotel Budapest made a perfect home for our 24 hours in town.
Opened in the spring of 2015, the property still glimmers like it’s brand new & the staff clearly take pride in their beautiful property – they were incredibly attentive. Their 49 guest rooms are broken up into four wings, each playing homage to a different genre of music: classical, jazz, opera & contemporary. All the rooms are centered around an open air courtyard, which makes the urban property feel quite intimate & airy. A glass ceiling over the main lobby allows guests to look right up to the sky without having to brave the elements. During the warmer months, there’s also a lovely rooftop bar with stunning views around Budapest & rooftop yoga classes (in the winter, you can still pop up there for a drink & the view). Located off of Andrássy Avenue & right next to St. Stephen’s Basilica, the property is in the middle of town & convent to both the subway & street car tram. An added bonus: druing the holidays, the Christmas Market in front of St. Stephen’s basically spills over to the hotel’s doorstep.
Located in the classical wing, our balcony room paid homage to Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, of “Firebird” fame, in a rather subtle way. The huge king-sized bed was dressed in soft linens & was certainly welcomed after a long day of traveling. The room was a little quirky – an abstract painting of Stravinsky, treble clef light fixtures – but very comfortable. Soaring ceilings & a chandelier in the bathroom made the whole place feel quite luxurious. A nice extra touch was that the TV was built into a mantle to give the look of a fireplace; in fact, it was set to the “roaring fire” channel when we arrived! Best of all was the cute little balcony off our room, where I could see myself sitting & reading for hours in the warmer weather.
Library Hotel Collection Amenities
The Aria Hotel Budapest is part of the Library Hotel Collection, a collection of luxury boutique hotels around the globe (they also happen to own one of my favorite hotels in the world, the Library Hotel in NYC). A perk of staying at one of their properties is the number of amenities included in your stay. Breakfast varies by property from a simple continental breakfast at Library Hotel to the large buffet spread at the Aria Budapest. In addition to the more traditional European breakfast of meats & cheeses, fruits & vegetables & pastries, guests can also order a variety of eggs & breakfast meats from the kitchen.
Another amenity which we enjoyed was the afternoon wine & cheese reception. The Aria Hotel serves Hungarian wines & cheese in the beautiful atrium lobby, accompanied by live music or other performances. The evening we were there, a classical guitarist from Mexico sang holiday songs.
Other amenities include complimentary wifi & bottled water in all guest rooms (why is this not standard in all hotels?!), a fitness center & spa, & a 24 hour coffee & tea station. The hotel also arranged transportation from the airport & to the cruise ship pier (the pier is actually close enough to walk). The driver was professional & punctual, waiting for us when we arrived at the airport & arriving early for our transfer to the ship
Overall, our stay was absolutely lovely & definitely too short. When trying to decide where to stay, we went back & forth between staying here or at the Four Seasons (which is nearby & in a jaw dropping historical building). We were not disappointed in our choice!
Note: Our stay was provided complimentary by the Library Hotel Collection; of course, all opinions are my own – I really do love their hotels!