Budapest is many things: party capital, foodie adventure, cultural hub, architectural marvel. But whether you’re here to admire the domed St Stephen’s Basilica, party in a ruin bar or take a romantic stroll alongside the Danube, you’ll need somewhere to kick back. So splash your Hungarian forints and book a luxury holiday apartment in the country’s capital. Hotel-grade comforts and home-style facilities will make your Budapest break that much sweeter.
It doesn’t get much more central than these light one- and two-bed apartments overlooking a narrow lane in the never-sleeping city centre. They have sitting and dining areas and fully kitted kitchens. You’re well set up for self-catering here, but it’s not compulsory. The surrounding alleys hide some great cafés – there’s even a tiny museum-bar around the corner dedicated to the Hungarian pálinkas (fruit brandies) that enliven many Budapest evenings. These apartments are part of seven interlinked buildings that make up Gozsdu Courtyard, the work of Hungarian architect Győző Czigler who designed the Széchenyi Baths.
Award-winning architect József Finta created the monumental Hungarian Police Headquarters that towers over these apartments. Most of the balconies enjoy views of its shining curves – fans of postmodern buildings will be in heaven. The fanciest penthouse flat has a big hammock-slung, suntrap terrace and steps up to a slant-ceilinged bedroom. The wide riverside promenades are a 15-minute stroll away with peaceful boat trips on the Danube leaving from the Arpad Bridge.
This light-filled studio apartment, with plenty of space and a pale mosaic-style feature wall, is a 10-minute stroll from the Great Synagogue of Budapest, the second-largest synagogue in the world. The lanes nearby are jostling with vintage fashion stores, quirky art galleries and second-hand bookshops. And when you’re tired of takeaways and self-catering, head to nearby restaurant, Mazel Tov, which has year-round garden seating and offers Middle Eastern classics, think smoky aubergine baba ganoush and expertly seasoned chicken shwarmas.
Space, light and attention to detail are hallmarks of these immaculate mini-palaces. They are part of a converted 1917 telephone exchange, originally designed by Ray Rezső. The eclectic architectural details of this iron-framed castle mean the building retains glimpses of Art Deco, Romantic and Neo-Baroque styles. Big abstract paintings, solid furniture and chandeliers give these wood-floored, white-walled apartments a timeless style. The huge top-floor suites have high ceilings, original beams and a wrought-iron bench on the balcony, with an enviable view over the rooftops to green Gellért Hill.
Style and size are two distinguishing features in Harmony Apartments. They have colourful rugs and window boxes, big terraces with chairs, tables and umbrellas, proper kitchens, mezzanine floors and separate sitting rooms. The penthouse, which sleeps up to 15, has a sauna, double shower and outdoor jacuzzi with city views. Heading out into the city, the Opera metro station and neighbouring Opera House are a couple of minutes’ stroll. Stop off in the glamorous gold and red Opera café for linzer torte or chocolate ischler emperor cakes.
Kick off your holiday in the courtyard garden while contemplating a cornucopian champagne breakfast buffet that includes a chocolate fountain. Relax later in the pine-fragrant sauna and bubbling hot tub or on the padded spa recliners with views over the city. With super-comfy beds and breakfast until mid-morning, the hotel’s motto “we let you sleep” means just that. It’s a short walk to the bars and restaurants of the old Jewish Quarter, and there are several theatres within yodelling distance, including the 800-seat Madách, offering global hits and Hungarian shows with English subtitles.
The soundproofed windows in these stylish apartments mean you will be well-rested for the next day’s foray into the up-and-coming District VIII. There are Jewish-Hungarian dishes on the menu at Fülemüle Étterem nearby, such as slow-cooked cholent with eggs and hickory-smoked beef or stacks of perfect American pancakes at the Pot, a café-cum-florist next door. Back at the ranch, you’ll find chairs with blankets on the balcony.
As the name suggests, you’re close to the river here, so sunset strolls beside the wide waters beckon. You’re also opposite Budapest’s Hard Rock Café and steps from Vörösmarty tér underground station. Smart, spacious apartments feature big leather sofas facing huge-screened TVs, statement paintings and panoramas over central Budapest. In winter, there’s a front-row view of the twinkling stalls in the popular Christmas market below. And – at the far end of the square – the 19th-century Café Gerbeaud, which sells a many-layered dobos torte.
These flexible one-, two- or three-bed apartments come with balconies, kitchens, bright stylish decor and views of domed St Stephen’s Basilica. It’s a two-minute walk to the Great Synagogue and 10 minutes to the Chain Bridge. Best of all, they are right in the happening old Jewish Quarter. You don’t need to leave the building to find food: the Burger Market downstairs serves fresh-brewed coffee and garlicky Italian pasta, plus burgers loaded with cheddar, pickles and bacon (or vegan-friendly with aubergine, lentils and tahini).
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