Planning a weekend away? May we recommend Budapest. Just a two-hour flight from the UK, the Central European city has developed a (well-earned) reputation for being both a party destination and relatively cheap. Win-win! Of course, with so many incredible places to stay, finding the best hotels in Budapest and the best things to do while you're there is no mean feat. That's why we've simplified the process you, compiling the ultimate list of THE best hotels in Budapest - and everything you must visit while you're there.
Your Grazia guide to the best hotels in Budapest:
Best hotel in Budapest for music lovers – Hard Rock Hotel
The delight is in the detail at the Hard Rock. Rooms are bright and beautifully designed with quirky touches, such as a bedhead that nods to the concentric circles of a record and a decorative in-room guitar (yes, you are allowed to play it). You’re encouraged to personalise your stay to your musical tastes. Fancy spinning a few tunes? Why, just have a record player and vinyl delivered to your door. There are also specially curated playlists and complimentary yoga classes available in the comfort of your room (you can borrow a yoga matt from reception), all accessed through your wide-screen TV. (And if you really can’t gift yourself a weekend off, there’s a well-equipped gym.) Sound-proofing is excellent, so despite the hotel being in a buzzy area, rooms are wonderfully quiet and cocooning. The mattresses, pillows and bed linen, meanwhile, are exceptionally comfortable (there’s even a pillow menu, should your taste run to something softer or harder). In fact, be careful it doesn’t prove a bit too comfortable; you might find yourself wanting to lounge all day. Sleek bathrooms with rainfall showers, as well as ring lights and a coffee maker all ensure you’ll feel like a bit of a rock star.
Downstairs, Sessions restaurant offers modern American dishes with a twist (be sure to order the Louisiana shrimp cakes) and craft cocktails, accompanied three times a week by live music showcasing local talent. After dinner, sink into a sofa on the stylish Roxy Rooftop terrace for a bespoke G&T and more playlists to please. In fact, in the restaurant, roof terrace and even lifts, you won’t hear the usual bland, mind-numbing muzak; no, here you’ll get great curated playlists featuring top artists – it’s like your favourite radio station without the annoying DJ chat.
There’s also the sort of memorabilia you probably associate with the Hard Rock brand – stage outfits worn by Katy Perry and Ariana Grande, for instance – but influential Hungarian musicians also feature, and there’s original artwork by local artists. The hotel is uniquely designed to reflect the city and culture on its (rather fabulous) doorstep.
Best hotel in Budapest for old school luxury - Matild Palace
Part of the Marriott group, the Matild lives up to its palatial claim, with imposing, grandiose looks inside and out. Rooms are tastefully designed, while avoiding the beige, corporate look. Expect plenty of mod-cons, including the toilet! The hotel’s near the Danube and in the heart of the action, close to the Great Market Hall.
Best boutique hotel in Budapest – Pest-Buda
Oozing charm and personality, the Pest-Buda has just 10 quirkily individual rooms that blend the historical with modern, industrial touches, like giant angle-poise lamps. Wooden beams, oak flooring and ambient lighting give it a warm, welcoming feel, while marble bathrooms with walk-in rainfall showers exude suitably luxurious vibes. It’s located in the historic Castle district, so the perfect base from which to explore the city.
Best hotel in Budapest for character – Gerlóczy Boutique Hotel
Each room at the Gerlóczy has been individually and thoughtfully styled for an ambience somewhere between cosy and opulent. Expect rustic wooden beams, ornate fretwork balconies, roll-top baths and brass taps, and every room has a king-size bed. Downstairs, the brasserie is worth coming to even if you aren’t staying here; it’s popular with the locals and located on a quiet square, offering a mix of French bistro classics and traditional Hungarian dishes.
Best budget hotel in Budapest – Marco Polo Ho(s)tel
OK, so not technically a hotel, but more than worthy of a mention. Clean, bright and welcoming with pastel-hued rooms and a kitchen that boasts chandeliers (!) this is a cut above your average hostel and then some. Offering twin rooms as well as dorms sleeping 4-12, and with a great central location close to Blaha Lujza tér metro station, if you’re on a tight budget, this is the perfect option and offers unbeatable value.
And here's the absolute best things to do in Budapest...
For a weekend trip, this is everything you have to pack in:
Visit the Great Market Hall, full of fresh produce, wacky souvenirs, people-watching opportunities and stalls selling traditional Hungarian snacks.
Stroll along Andrássy Avenue, where you’ll find luxury fashion brands, including Chanel, Dior and Gucci, then explore the surrounding area, where you’ll discover local independent shops, vintage stores and street-food markets.
Tour the historic Buda Castle district, with its stunning architecture, museums and the Fishermen’s Bastion, offering some of the best views of the city.
Enjoy some downtime at a thermal baths. Széchenyi is the biggest (and busiest), but Rudas is the most atmospheric, with a subterranean Turkish-style octagonal chamber, complete with pretty stained glass ceiling. There are 11 indoor hot and cold baths and an outdoor hot-tub with panoramic views.
Lose yourself for a few hours at the Dimensions of Sound exhibition at the House of Hungarian Music – a fascinating interactive and emotive exhibition on the evolution of music in a purpose-built stunning building in the City Park area.
Refuel with a slap-up traditional Hungarian meal. Paprika, close to the House of Hungarian music, does a mean garlic soup and beef goulash.
Party on the (static) A38 boat on the Danube – the former Ukrainian ship is a favourite with locals as a live music venue, and it also hosts a separate nightclub and restaurant.
Main hero image by Dominika Gregušová