When the Aria Hotel, the best hotel in Budapest, indeed the number one hotel in the world (Tripadvisor Travelers’ 2017 Choice Awards) offered us a place to stay in Budapest before our “Grand European Tour” on the world’s number one river cruise line, Viking River Cruises, how could we say no?
The Aria Hotel is a unique, boutique, music-themed art hotel located in what must be the best hotel location in Budapest, right next to St. Stephen’s Basilica and just a short walk to the Danube. It makes an excellent base for exploring Budapest which, for now, is my current favourite city. The hotel has four wings – each one dedicated to a musical genre: classical, contemporary, jazz and opera. We had a lovely room up on the fifth floor in the classical wing with a huge comfy bed and all the amenities you would want – a giant TV, a safe, hairdryer, snazzy toiletries by Molten Brown, a massive bathtub, a rain shower and a generously sized terrace.
In a place like this you would, of course, expect a knowledgeable concierge, but here there is even a musical director to help you choose beautiful music for your room. Jon steered me away in case I filled the room with the sound of ABBA but tempted as we were to hide away in our room all day, listening to music, we were here to explore the sights of the city.
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After a long day exploring, what could possibly be better than enjoying the complimentary cheese and wine, which takes place daily from 4-6pm in the Music Garden Courtyard, and listening to live music. I wholeheartedly recommend the Hungarian red wine and oh the cheese, we were in cheese heaven, and the music was pretty good too – and no, it wasn’t ABBA. Afterwards, we headed upstairs to the High Note Sky Bar, with its 360-degree views over the city for cocktails. With so much choice on the cocktails list, I asked for a recommendation and was offered a premium drink called “Poison.” Jon looked delighted at the thought of me being poisoned, but it was just the perfect mix of gin and fruit.
After a great night’s sleep, we headed down to breakfast. Breakfast is included in the room rate and is also served in the Music Garden Courtyard. Excellent choice of more cheese, (strict diet for us both when we get home!), meats, salmon, and pastries – I highly recommend the pain au chocolat, one just isn’t enough! Oh, and eggs cooked to order, we had the eggs Benedict! Feeling rather full, we popped downstairs to look at the spa, oh, if only we had more time – indoor heated pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, gym and an excellent choice of massages and treatments but alas not enough time to enjoy.
And apparently the hotel is pet-friendly too, so if I could just convince Biscuit and Angel to board a plane once more, maybe they could join us next time.
Aria Hotel is part of the Library Hotel Collection which offers luxury boutique accommodation in Budapest, Prague, New York, and Toronto. For more information and current rates, have a look at their website and tell them we sent you. www.ariahotelbudapest.com, www.libraryhotelcollection.com.
Our Viking River Cruise Grand European Tour Daily Diary
Day 1 – Budapest
Day 2 – Budapest
Day 3 – Sailing to Vienna
Day 4 – Vienna
Day 5 – Melk, Austria
Day 6 – Passau, Germany
Day 7 – Regensberg, Germany
Day 8 – Nuremberg, Germany
Day 9 – Bamberg, Germany
Day 10 – Würzburg, Germany
Day 11 – Wertheim, Germany
Day 12 – Braubach, Germany
Day 13 – Cologne, Germany
Day 14 – Kinderdijk, The Netherlands