ENTER-A-HUB-OF-CULTURE-IN-BUDAPEST

Enter A HUB OF CULTURE IN BUDAPEST

01.06.18

Budapest, the pearl of the Danube, has it all. Ancient palaces, baroque churches, delicious Tokay wine and a blisteringly hip music scene. So where are the top places to stay? Stevie King investigates

Medieval travellers claimed that there were three pearls in the cities of Europe; Venice on the water, Florence on the plains and Buda on the hills.

In 1873 the separate cities of Buda and Pest, divided by the glistening Danube River, joined to form the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Today, the city still glistens with ancient allure. It’s so high on atmosphere with its crumbling palazzos and timeless architecture, that you can practically feel the charge of history seeping out of the leafy cobbled streets. Its charm lies in its faded grandeur, yet it’s also a funky place to visit, not formal or stuffy.

Accommodation options of all persuasions are in plentiful supply – so where are the hippest hostelries to stay in the heart of the capital?

ARIA HOTEL

One of the newest members of Budapest’s portfolio of nextgeneration luxury hotels - Aria Budapest is a haven of vibrant style and exquisite design inspired by music. Boasting a prime location on the Pest side of the Danube just steps away from Saint Stephen’s Basilica, the Hotel has ‘treat in store’ panache written all over it.

Master designer Zoltan Varro (of Gerbeaud Confectionery and Michelin-starred Onyx Restaurant fame) has excelled in more ways than one with his remodelling of the gracious residence which first opened its doors to guests in 2015.

His vision - to simultaneously recreate the rich, lavish atmosphere of a historic Hungarian palace while also embracing visitors in the shopping, dining, and the Opera House, has been delivered with considerable aplomb. The hotel’s aesthetic seamlessly marries past and present.

The neoclassical building dates back to the 1880s and its original spiral staircase is intact, yet décor throughout is bright and playfully postmodern, complete with piano keys snaking across the lobby floor like a yellow-brick road.

At night the daily piano cocktail hour lures with local wine and live performers. In the morning, a delectable breakfast is served, including eggs benedict, homemade sausage and fresh-baked breads with paprika cottage cheese - a Hungarian favourite.

Everything seems to taste that little bit better in the shadow of the hotel’s inimitable piano, Aria’s unofficial mascot. With the Opera House and Széchenyi Chain Bridge just a short walk away, guests looking to explore the city on foot, by tram or even open-top bus, have a head start.

Nearby, Budapest’s Parliament building, the largest and tallest building in the city, graces the centre with its dramatic night-time lighting, while the surrounding maze of pedestrian streets are brimming with cafes, restaurants and a cosmopolitan buzz.

The hotel’s four wings all represent different musical trends: classical opera, jazz and contemporary; each boasting separate elevators, making the atmosphere delightfully intimate - everyone can relax in their very own private quarters.

Other pamper highlights include a seductive underground spa and swimming pool, not to mention the roof top High Note Sky Bar, music library, and Satchmo’s Bar and Lounge.

Paying homage to some of the world’s greatest artists and composers – a stay at Aria Budapest is an exquisite treat, whether you’re a music fanatic or simply a connoisseur of inimitable hotels.

PAULAY HOUSE

Small but perfectly formed – Paulay House apartments are part of the super-cool boutique brand Brody Land created by Brit co-founders William Clothier and Peter Grundberg.

Occupying three-floors of a fadingly elegant Neoclassical residence in a prime location just 250 metres from the Opera House - inside, the ceilings are high, there’s solid herringbone flooring and the flavour is steadfastly bohemian.

Whether you’re in town for a one-night wonder, business trip, city break or to make your next blockbuster film, guests can take their pick from the funky range of 1-bedroom studios to 3-bedroom penthouse loft apartments.

All rooms have en-suite bathrooms and WiFi. Many can be configured as twins. Apartment designs have a genuine feel-good factor meshing shabby chic with art-inspired quirkiness. Paint is allowed to peel from the walls which draw in light from the shared leafy inner courtyard.

Living room areas contain an eclectic mix of modern works of art, deep-seated leather sofas and upcycled furnishings combined with clean lined contemporary kitchens complete with slick coffee machines and the latest mod-con gadgets. Trendy has just got a whole lot more interesting.

www.brody.land/brody-apartments

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