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B&Bs in the Hungarian capital offer more than just a place to sleep and a decent brekkie – you could find yourself staying in anything from a former artists’ studio to a 300-year-old abbey.
Ruin bars, the Danube, Széchenyi Thermal Baths: Budapest is packed with things to see and do. And when you’re not hot footing it from the 19th-century Chain Bridge to Buda Castle or sampling the local pálinka, you want somewhere comfortable and homely in which to rest. Book a B&B for a relaxed stay in the Hungarian capital, the best of which are more akin to a boutique hotel than your typical bed and breakfast.
This novel bed and breakfast is the epitome of high-end living, not least in terms of its setting on the top two floors of a condominium, overlooking the peaceful city rooftops. Owner and designer Bálint Merán kept the interiors of this B&B Bauhaus minimal, offsetting the elaborate architecture of the nearby Hungarian Parliament Building. His mother Madeleine is ready to help with any issues with self check-in, while breakfast gives you the opportunity to try Hungarian lecsó – a thick Hungarian vegetable stew – and mákos guba (poppy-seed cake). Snacks are on offer to help you unwind after exploring nearby havens such as Margaret Island, where a musical fountain presents an hourly light and music show on summer evenings.
A Hungarian-trained chef and former executive of a five-star hotel, Albert Marton transformed the top floors of a 19th-century building to create this enticing six-room bed and breakfast. The showpiece is a 56-sqm (600-sqft) private terrace. A 10-minute walk or ride on the M1 metro takes you to Heroes’ Square, the impressive entrance to City Park, where you will find the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, Budapest Zoo, the Museum of Transport and Vajdahunyad Castle – a replica of a Transylvanian castle.
The owner of House Beletage, Zsuzsa Bikkal, loves a challenge, as is evident from her career as a former executive of four- and five-star hotels. Bikkal wanted visitors to get a taste of how Hungarians lived in the past, a desire that led her to convert this century-old building into a modern 15-room guesthouse. “Our guests like the mix of old and new furniture, the big windows, high ceilings and original parquet floors,” she says. Guests’ birthdays and anniversaries are often celebrated with staff, while seasonal touches add to the homely vibe – expect hot mulled wine in winter and sangria in summer. Close by are the Central Market Hall and Gellért Thermal Baths, while the hotel’s street location is an attraction in itself – it served as a backdrop to the 2016 film Inferno.
Set on a quiet, pedestrianised street close to the Central Market Hall, this art nouveau building is imbued with a sense of endurance – it was bombed in World War II and then lovingly restored. The 10 rooms are set across three floors, with one room enhanced by a small section of the former Medieval city wall. A large breakfast area on the ground floor is adorned with antique furniture, including a vintage cigarette dispensing machine. Metres away is the Sándor Petőfi Museum, a literature museum named in honour of Hungary’s most famous poet.
This once spartan 300-year-old abbey, built by the Capuchin Order, has become a sanctuary for relaxation. The Monastery Boutique Hotel is notable for its distinctive archways, courtyard garden and excellent location close to the Fisherman’s Bastion and Castle District. Rooms are spacious and elegant, with white walls offset by splashes of colour in the bedding and furniture, while breakfast promises a generous selection of fruit, yoghurt, breads, omelettes and bacon. Top tip: take the two-minute walk to the Hungarian Heritage House to catch one of the frequent performances by the State Folk Ensemble.
With its name derived from owner Edina Losonczi’s childhood nickname – Bibi – Bi&Bi Panzio is an intimate guesthouse noted for its personal service and welcoming atmosphere. This is evidenced not least by Losonczi herself, who is on hand to personally assist guests. The 10 simple but immaculate bedrooms are set across one floor, with breakfast centring on fresh produce bought from the nearby markets and served in a homely dining room. Bi&Bi offers easy access to Metro line 2 (via Széll Kálmán tér station), providing a quick route to the city centre, but it’s also well worth taking a ride on Bus 21 from near the accommodation up to the Buda hills. Here, you’ll find spectacular views and hikes, along with the Children’s Railway – a train line built after World War II, run almost completely by children and supervised by adult railway workers. The guesthouse is close to many restaurants, the National Dance Theatre and Millenáris, a park and building complex with venues for exhibitions, plays and concerts.
Across the road from the bustling Grand Market Hall stands a stately apartment block overlooking the Danube and the Liberty Bridge. On the second floor of this restored art nouveau building lies the tranquil world of Butterfly Home, where owners András and Timea Szuhay have established eight spacious, tastefully designed rooms, some with river views and balconies. The diverse buffet breakfast is made particularly pleasurable courtesy of András, who is a skilled barista. In addition to the Grand Market Hall, nearby attractions include the Hungarian National Museum and the Gellért Thermal Baths.
The initial reason for visitors investigating this hotel in Budapest’s Kőbánya-Kispest 19th district is often its proximity to the airport – it’s only a 12-minute drive away. But word has spread, and Hotel Sunshine now attracts even those visitors not arriving by plane, who are drawn by the excellent amenities and personal touches the hotel offers: the welcome drink of champagne, free snacks and drinks in the rooms, jacuzzi and sauna, and a breakfast buffet of sumptuous home-cooked food. Massages can also be booked, while the Kispest Swimming Pool is close by. This small hotel’s eco-credentials are also excellent, with all rooms using environmentally friendly heating and cooling systems. Though set outside of the city centre, it’s just a 30-minute bus and metro ride away from the heart of Budapest.
The homely Budapest Ville Bed and Breakfast is located in Budapest’s happening 7th district – a neighbourhood steeped in history that was once the city’s Jewish ghetto and is now home to ruin bars, speakeasies and hipster cafes. Tucked away within a 19th-century building, this B&B is entered through a stunning courtyard, while the four rooms are tastefully decorated with chandeliers, vintage-style furniture and black-and-white photo prints. Rather than a dining room, here a continental breakfast is served in-room. Budapest Ville Bed and Breakfast is particularly convenient for visiting Heroes’ Square and the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, and opposite is a bus line that takes you into the city centre in around 10 minutes.
Phoebe Taplin contributed additional reporting to this article.