If I had one word to describe the brand new five star Aria Hotel Budapest it would be extraordinary, because nothing about the hotel is ordinary and everything is first class, I silently said ‘wow’ to myself at least ten times (I’m British) and I am not easily impressed.
I’d been invited as a guest to stay at the hotel by one of their other Library Collection hotels, the Giraffe in New York where I spent a couple of nights last year. I jumped at the chance of travelling to a new city that I had never been to before and spend three nights at the Aria Hotel Budapest, a brand new, luxurious, five star spa hotel, who wouldn’t?!
Let me take you on a magical mystery tour starting with the black and white keyboard themed carpet entrance into the garden courtyard,where a grand piano takes centre stage. It’s no ordinary piano either, consisting of more than 18,000 parts and built to create the highest possible sound quality, it was designed by Gergely Bogányi, a world renowned Hungarian pianist and is one of only two in the world. At this point you will recognise the theme of the hotel is music, every room dedicated to a musician and the entire hotel designed with this theme in mind.
There are four wings in this neoclassical building, a former bank – each representing a different musical genre – Contemporary, Jazz, Classical and Opera. Custom designed Swarovski crystals shaped into harps and treble notes light the way over the elevators and Murano glass chandeliers sparkle with their own musical motifs.
The Beatles room in the Contemporary wing is chosen for me and Beatles songs start playing in surround sound from the moment I step out of the elevator and I feel like I am being serenaded in the sixties by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. A large caricature of the pair by Czech artist Joseph Blecha hangs above the bed.
My dedicated musical director meets with me to create a music itinerary (all part of the extraordinary service), providing me with a selection of DVD’s. I take this as encouragement to think it’s perfectly acceptable to use the room as a disco and dance around to Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse. There’s an outdoor courtyard with a glass canopy that covers the central courtyard of the hotel from the 2nd floor level and up to the sky, a great way to check the weather forecast without leaving the room or to gaze at the stars at night. I was imagining that stars would appear in the shape of musical notes!
Other rooms include Mozart, Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Maria Callas and Amy Winehouse and Bob Dylan so you can choose your favourite star to sleep with.
The location of the hotel in the old town can’t be beaten as a place to explore the city from. The Aria Hotel Budapes sits on a picturesque street next to the majestic Saint Stephen’s Basilica on the Pest side of the Danube. I was having so much fun in the hotel however, that for the first couple of days I hardly left. Being a connoisseur of spa hotels the spa is where I like to spend most of my time. After travelling there’s nothing like a soothing massage to take away any tension. Top marks to the spa and the masseuse who worked her magical hands on my body with a musically inspired (of course) treatment called The Contemporary – a relaxing groove package starting with an orange cream body scrub followed by a Calm Mind Relaxing Massage, leaving me in a complete state of bliss.
My second day began with a sunrise yoga class on the ‘roof terrace with panoramic views across the city with the beautiful teacher Petra, followed by a few laps in the pool. It’s no ordinary pool of course, Jimmy Hendrix and Tchaikovsky are their on the wall as a backdrop. There’s a gym too, but I was far too relaxed to work out anymore. Instead I went for a sauna and a hammam.
Feeling incredibly zen and refreshed and a bit hungry after all those warrior poses the day continued with a healthy organic vegan breakfast of green juice and grilled mushrooms on toast. There are many breakfast options and the chef will cater to any dietary requirements you may have. After such a healthy start to the day I didn’t feel too guilty about ending the day with some wine (complimentary cheese and wine is served every day from 4-6pm) and a cocktail from the High Note roof top bar, even more spectacular at night, and another opportunity to take in more of that amazing view looking straight across at Saint Stephen’s Basilica.
After a night out up on the roof I couldn’t wait to retire for the night but before I did (bath before bed), I lay in the huge bath tub and indulged in the Molten Brown bath products. Note for girls (there’s a proper hairdryer, not one of those standard hotel ones where you need to keep your finger on the button!).
Sweet dreams are made of this and the Hotel Aria Budapest is definitely my lucky star!
p.s I managed to leave the hotel on the third day and do some site seeing! Here’s the proof!