With more than 100 thermal springs, Budapest more than deserves its nickname ‘City of Spas’. With a stay at the best spa hotels in the city, you can turn a Central European city break into a time of relaxation and luxurious self-care.
The Hungarian capital 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, check in to a hotel with a spa of its own. Offering thermal baths, treatments and tranquil pools, the best spa hotels in Budapest invite guests to unwind after a day of exploring the city.
Danubius Hotel Gellért
Guests at the Danubius Hotel Gellért get a 30 percent discount at the eponymous baths | Courtesy of Danubius Hotel Gellért / Hotels.com
This iconic 100-year-old hotel, nestled between Gellért Hill and Liberty Bridge, shares its property with the eponymous thermal baths. The Danubius Hotel Gellért captures the feeling of an undefined but evocative yesteryear, with Art Nouveau stained glass blended with elements of socialist realism. The baths are a decadent extravaganza adorned with turquoise mosaics, collonaded pools and an outdoor pool complex with a wave machine (dating back to the 1930s) that runs on the hour. Guests at the hotel get a 30 percent discount to the famous thermal baths.
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. The hotels boast 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 for residents, 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 its Neoclassical 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 back to 1896, the Corinthia is famed for its gilded ballroom and the subterranean Royal Spa, which was forgotten for decades and nearly turned into a carpark. This elegant spa’s marble-clad turquoise pool sits 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.
Located at the heart of Budapest’s 5th district – the city’s political, financial and touristic centre – the Aria Hotel is set in a charming Neoclassical apartment block. Inspired by music, the hotel’s design team incorporated design and creativity into every detail – from the lobby floor resembling piano keys to the hotel’s four distinct wings that take classical, opera, jazz and contemporary music as their themes. For early-evening drinks or a nightcap, there’s no better spot than the Aria’s rooftop High Note Sky Bar, which overlooks St Stephen’s Basilica. The underground Harmony Spa allows you to ease into relaxation mode with its low-lit swimming pool decorated with mosaics of jazz musicians. Aria Hotel also has a gym, sauna and steam rooms, but to truly unwind, book in for one of the reviving massage treatments.
For the ultimate luxury stay, you can’t do better than the Four Seasons. Housed in the stunning Art Nouveau Gresham Palace, famed for its curved glass atrium, many of the Four Seasons’ plush magnolia- and cream-hued rooms enjoy front-row views of the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge and Buda Castle. The light-flooded rooftop spa, with its infinity-edge pool, is the perfect place to revive yourself after a day sightseeing. However, to get the most out of your Four Seasons experience, book in for one of its exclusive treatments, such as the Hungarian Moor Mud Therapy or Blue Diamond Facial (which uses diamond peptides to give your skin a premium lift).
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 the 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 former Art Nouveau grandeur. Today, the hotel’s modern rooftop spa combines an indoor and outdoor pool with stunning views over the city towards the Buda Castle. Here, you can also treat yourself to saunas and massage treatments, before sampling refined French and Hungarian cuisine at the hotel’s ARAZ Restaurant.
Set right in the heart of downtown Pest, overlooking Deák Square, the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus has a distinctly modern feel. In contrast to Budapest’s many luxury hotels housed in 19th-century mansions, the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus is a vision in glass and marble, with its contemporary design echoed in the hotel’s extensive collection of original Hungarian paintings. Although the hotel’s main selling point is its Gastronomic Quarter, featuring Japanese-Peruvian cuisine at Nobu and Austro-Hungarian dishes at ÉS Bisztró, the lavish in-house spa boasts a pool, tepidarium (a room heated from the walls and floor, where guests can gently warm themselves before heading to a sauna or a steam room) and pristine white-and-turquoise-tiled saunas.
With its early 20th-century building and modern interiors that echo the shades of the Danube in its subdued hues of blue and grey, The Ritz-Carlton encapsulates Budapest’s status as a historic yet dynamic city. Just off buzzing Erzsébet Square, this hotel also boasts a central location while offering guests 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 your Zen here. The spa invites guests to enjoy a range of indulgent treatments using luxurious and natural ESPA skin products.
Hotel Császár has an on-site outdoor swimming pool | Courtesy of Hotel Császár / Booking.com
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 credentials when it comes to wellness are just as impressive. Guests 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.