I’ve never thought of a hotel as the highlight of my holiday.
They’re usually just where I rest my head after a day of sightseeing, skiing, swimming or whatever.
But Budapest was different.
The whole point of this trip was to relax. Gary and I have both had a few really busy weeks, what with moving flats, working extra hours, attending blog events, as well as a few other stressful surprises that popped up along the way.
So even though we usually choose to stay in hotels that are simple – clean and friendly obviously, but simple – this time we decided to splash out a bit.
We booked a basic double room at the fabulous Aria Hotel Budapest, and as soon as we stepped into the lobby, we knew we’d made the right choice.
Starting with the fact that the hotel immediately offered us a complimentary upgrade – to a Signature Aria room in the Opera wing!
Complete with private lift, balcony, the biggest bed I’ve ever seen in my life, and a whoooole lotta purple velvet…
The Signature Opera Room at the Aria Hotel Budapest is easily the fanciest place I’ve ever stayed.
There are four wings to the building, all themed around a different style of music: Opera, Contemporary, Jazz and Classical. The classical room is my fave, all white and grey and Instagram-theme friendly, but our opera room was also pretty darn special.
From the plush purple velvet, to the glass chandelier, to the music instruments weaved into the carpet, everything is carefully designed and detailed.
Puccini books are piled up on the coffee table and opera music pours out of the speakers. (We did replace that pretty sharpish though – with the Jurassic Park soundtrack we found in the free media library.)(#Classy)
Also: can tell me who the caricatured composer is, in the painting in the mirror?
It’s been driving me absolutely mad for days!
The Aria offers a ton of complimentary stuff with every room.
Their aim is to make every guest feel comfortable and at home, so they have free wifi, free bottled water, never-ending Nespresso coffee, movies on the TV, a fully equipped gym, and – my favourite – a complimentary wine and cheese reception.
Yep. You heard me. FREE WINE. FREE CHEESE.
Every afternoon from 4pm until 6pm, the hotel serves a selection of Hungarian wines and local cheeses in the Music Garden: a covered courtyard/lounge right in the heart of the building.
Guests sit around reading newspapers, chatting quietly, sipping wine and (ehem) scrolling through Instagram, whilst talented musicians play live music on the fancy grand piano.
It’s the loveliest way to start the evening, and we made sure to be back by at least 5pm every afternoon to make the most of it, before heading upstairs to change and get ready for dinner.
The hotel hosts a gym AND a spa, but we didn’t actually visit either, choosing to venture up to the seventh floor for a cocktail at the High Note Sky Bar instead. (Treadmill vs gin? No contest.)
There is a covered bar inside, but you get the best views at the very top, on a decked terrace with comfy yellow loungers.
The hotel is right in the centre of town, about 200m away from St Stephen’s cathedral, so from the top you’re right next to the dome, with a spectacular view of the city around you.
I’ve heard they do sunrise yoga up there in the summer too, which sounds absolutely spectacular!
I’m so so glad Gary booked us in to the Aria Hotel Budapest.
Apart from being the fanciest hotel I’ve stayed at, it’s also one of the friendliest. The staff were phenomenal. Friendly, helpful, and (sorry, but it has to be said) beautiful. I don’t know who they’ve got hiring their pretty porters, but that person needs a raise. Immediately.
Every single person we met, from the waiters and cleaners, to the receptionists and (pretty) porters, always had a friendly smile and a greeting for us. It was customer service like I’ve never experienced before.
Honestly, if you’re booking a city break where you plan on spending actual time in your hotel – you can’t do any better than the Aria. (Literally. They’re number one on Tripadvisor for a reason!)
I’ll be honest, it’s pretty pricey. But it’s also totally, totally, TOTALLY worth it.
*FYI: his was NOT a complimentary stay, a press trip, or anything of the sort.
We paid for our stay ourselves and were VERY happy to do so.