While Airbnb offers plenty of no-frills accommodation, less price sensitive visitors can enjoy the comforts of top hotels in Budapest. The options span chic boutique hotels and high-end international chains inside landmark buildings. Below is a selection of my favorites.
Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace (location; 180 rooms; from €450): Budapest's fanciest and most expensive hotel evokes the glory days of Austria-Hungary, when the country's top architects worked on this Art Nouveau treasure (1904-06) originally built for the English insurance company, Gresham. If you have the means to stay here, be sure your room faces the Danube, overlooking the Chain Bridge and the Royal Castle. The guest list is celebrity-studded; you might run into A-list Hollywood actors in the glass-roofed lobby decorated with Zsolnay tiles. Kollázs, the restaurant on the ground floor, is an appropriate match to the hotel.
Hotel Moments Budapest (location; 99 rooms; from €250): This Renaissance building complete with ceiling frescoes and marble Doric columns looks like it once belonged to a Medici-type magnate. Today, however, it's home to the four-star Moments, one of the reliably excellent hotels in Budapest, right along Andrássy Avenue. You're here for the central location and the contemporary amenities boxed into historical vibes.
Kempinski Hotel Corvinus (location; 316 rooms; from €300): My earliest memory of the Kempinski is seeing throngs of Michael Jackson fans gather outside it for a glimpse of their hero emerging from the presidential suite (since 2009, an MJ memorial tree stands opposite the entrance). The hotel delivers what you'd expect from a five-star Kempinski in terms of comfort and location, being at the locus of attractions – steps from the Danube, Andrássy Avenue, and the Jewish Quarter. The bulky postmodern building from 1992 has both detractors and fans; I'm in the latter camp. The hotel's ground floor is home to an Austro-Hungarian restaurant (ÉS Bisztró) and also a Nobu.
InterContinental Budapest (location; 400 rooms; from €250): Why this immense "corporate" hotel featured here, one whose guests are more likely to be conference attendees than edgy hipsters? Because the five-star InterContinental's Danube-facing rooms offer panoramas that are almost too good to be true, at meaningfully friendlier price points than elsewhere. Bonus #1: you might run into the hotel's legendary guest, Ernő bácsi. Bonus #2: architecture geeks will appreciate the typically late-modern austere facade designed in 1980 by local starchitect, József Finta.
Casati Budapest Hotel (location; 25 rooms; from €150): This 25-room gay-friendly boutique hotel occupies the borderland between the lively Jewish Quarter dotted with ruin bars, and the grand Andrássy Avenue with upscale shopping, both just steps away. Hungarian contemporary artworks adorn each room of the neoclassical building, which features a quiet, ivy-covered courtyard. For a nightcap, visit the Shanghai-themed cocktail bar on the ground floor, Tuk Tuk.
Note that this article was sponsored by some of the hotels highlighted above. I make sure to feature only tried-and-tested places that I'm very familiar with and can confidently recommend.