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With more than 100 thermal springs, Budapest more than deserves its City of Spas nickname. With a stay at the best spa hotels in the city, you can turn a your city break in the Hungarian capital into a time of relaxation and luxurious self-care.
Budapest is famed for its historical thermal baths, with the Széchenyi and Gellért baths among the most popular spots for an afternoon of indulgence. For the ultimate blissful Budapest stay, however, book a hotel with a spa of its own. Offering thermal baths, treatments and tranquil pools, the best spa hotels in Budapest invite you to unwind after a day of exploring the city (or a big night partying in a ruin bar).
Sister hotels the Danubius Grand Hotel Margitsziget and the Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget can be found on leafy Margaret Island, surrounded by the River Danube. They have a thermal bath complex that’s free for guests, with an underground corridor connecting the early 1900s Grand Hotel with the more modern Health Spa Resort. In-house doctors are on hand to prescribe various medical therapies, while a wide range of cosmetic and wellness treatments are available, including spending time in the realistic salt cave to improve respiratory and skin health. These hotels offer the best of both worlds – a city break by day and a therapeutic island getaway by night.
With a neo-classical facade and glass-covered atrium, the Corinthia Hotel Budapest captures the atmosphere of a grand 19th-century hotel. Perched on the majestic Grand Boulevard and dating to 1896, it is famed for a gilded ballroom and the subterranean Royal Spa, which was forgotten for decades and nearly turned into a carpark. The elegant spa has a marble-clad turquoise pool sitting below an elaborate stained-glass ceiling. Here, you can indulge in massages and treatments, sweat it out in two Finnish saunas and a steam room, plunge into two whirlpool tubs and enjoy the complimentary juice bar.
Tucked away from the crowds in the happening 7th district, the Continental Hotel Budapest occupies a former 19th-century bath complex, which was transformed into this four-star hotel in 2010. The historical spa no longer exists, but architectural highlights – notably the stunning glass-covered atrium in the hotel lobby – capture the building’s art nouveau grandeur. Today, a modern rooftop spa combines an indoor and outdoor pool with stunning views over the city towards Buda Castle. Here, you can also treat yourself to saunas and massage treatments, before sampling refined French and Hungarian cuisine at the in-house ARAZ Restaurant.
In the heart of downtown Pest, overlooking Deák Square, the Kempinski has a distinctly modern feel. In contrast to the many luxury hotels housed in 19th-century mansions in Budapest, the Kempinski is a vision in glass and marble, with its contemporary design echoed in the hotel’s extensive collection of original Hungarian paintings. Although the main selling point is the gastronomy, think Japanese-Peruvian cuisine at Nobu and Austro-Hungarian dishes at ÉS Bisztró, the lavish in-house spa has a pool, tepidarium (a room heated from the walls and floor, where you can gently warm yourself before heading to a sauna or a steam room) and pristine white-and-turquoise-tiled saunas.
In an early-20th-century buildin, with modern interiors that echo the shades of the Danube in hues of blue and grey, The Ritz-Carlton encapsulates Budapest’s status as a historic yet dynamic city. Just off buzzing Erzsébet Square, it has a central location while offering a tranquil refuge away from the hubbub of downtown. Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail under the calming blue stained-glass dome at the Kupola Lounge or relax in the spa’s mosaic-adorned pool, you’ll find Zen here. Head to the spa for treatments using luxurious and natural ESPA skin products.
Not all spa getaways have a steep price tag. The Hotel Császár is a three-star hotel housed in a former 19th-century nunnery in the northern part of Buda, next to the Lukács Baths. The rooms are simple but clean and comfortable, and there is a huge open-air swimming pool on site – perfect for working off your complimentary breakfast. If Budapest’s famous 16th-century Turkish baths are on your list, this could be the hotel for you – it’s next door to the Veli Bej Thermal Bath. Dating back to 1575, this renovated Ottoman bath complex features steam rooms and five thermal pools of varying temperatures.
An elaborate building fusing elements of art nouveau, renaissance and baroque architecture, the New York Palace rises gracefully over the Grand Boulevard. While famous for its gilded, marble-clad New York Café, which is said to be among the most beautiful in Europe, the hotel’s welness credentials are just as impressive. You can unwind at the spacious spa with its low-lit pool and wide selection of treatments, which include hot stone massages, facials and treatments using products by THALION – a leading authority in mineral therapies using marine products.
Phoebe Taplin contributed additional reporting to this article.