One of the first decisions we made after booking our Viking River Cruise trip was to fly into Budapest, our embarkation city, the day before to give us a chance to stretch our legs & explore a city that has long been on our travel bucket list. While there are many places to stay in Hungary’s capital, the Aria Hotel Budapest made a perfect home for our 24 hours in town.

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(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

The Hotel

Opened in the spring of 2015, the property still glimmers like it’s brand new & the staff clearly take pride in their beautiful property – they were incredibly attentive. Their 49 guest rooms are broken up into four wings, each playing homage to a different genre of music: classical, jazz, opera & contemporary. All the rooms are centered around an open air courtyard, which makes the urban property feel quite intimate & airy. A glass ceiling over the main lobby allows guests to look right up to the sky without having to brave the elements. During the warmer months, there’s also a lovely rooftop bar with stunning views around Budapest & rooftop yoga classes (in the winter, you can still pop up there for a drink & the view). Located off of Andrássy Avenue & right next to St. Stephen’s Basilica, the property is in the middle of town & convent to both the subway & street car tram. An added bonus: druing the holidays, the Christmas Market in front of St. Stephen’s basically spills over to the hotel’s doorstep.

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lounge & bar
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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L – view from the balcony looking up; R – view from the rooftop looking down – the lights spell Aria!
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

St. Stephen’s view from the rooftop
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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St. Stephen’s Christmas Market
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Our Room

Located in the classical wing, our balcony room paid homage to Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, of “Firebird” fame, in a rather subtle way. The huge king-sized bed was dressed in soft linens & was certainly welcomed after a long day of traveling. The room was a little quirky – an abstract painting of Stravinsky, treble clef light fixtures – but very comfortable. Soaring ceilings & a chandelier in the bathroom made the whole place feel quite luxurious. A nice extra touch was that the TV was built into a mantle to give the look of a fireplace; in fact, it was set to the “roaring fire” channel when we arrived! Best of all was the cute little balcony off our room, where I could see myself sitting & reading for hours in the warmer weather.

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(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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walk in rain shower; not shown: giant soaking tub!
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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wonderful balcony
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Library Hotel Collection Amenities

The Aria Hotel Budapest is part of the Library Hotel Collection, a collection of luxury boutique hotels around the globe (they also happen to own one of my favorite hotels in the world, the Library Hotel in NYC). A perk of staying at one of their properties is the number of amenities included in your stay. Breakfast varies by property from a simple continental breakfast at Library Hotel to the large buffet spread at the Aria Budapest. In addition to the more traditional European breakfast of meats & cheeses, fruits & vegetables & pastries, guests can also order a variety of eggs & breakfast meats from the kitchen.

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breakfast
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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cereal, yogurt & toppings
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fruit
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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variety of smoked meats
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Another amenity which we enjoyed was the afternoon wine & cheese reception. The Aria Hotel serves Hungarian wines & cheese in the beautiful atrium lobby, accompanied by live music or other performances. The evening we were there, a classical guitarist from Mexico sang holiday songs.

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Hungarian wine
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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swanky lobby
photo provided by the Aria Hotel Budapest

Other amenities include complimentary wifi & bottled water in all guest rooms (why is this not standard in all hotels?!), a fitness center & spa, & a 24 hour coffee & tea station. The hotel also arranged transportation from the airport & to the cruise ship pier (the pier is actually close enough to walk). The driver was professional & punctual, waiting for us when we arrived at the airport & arriving early for our transfer to the ship

Overall, our stay was absolutely lovely & definitely too short. When trying to decide where to stay, we went back & forth between staying here or at the Four Seasons (which is nearby & in a jaw dropping historical building). We were not disappointed in our choice!

Note: Our stay was provided complimentary by the Library Hotel Collection; of course, all opinions are my own – I really do love their hotels!

About christina

Christina is a 30-something D.I.N.K. travel writer & photographer who travels the world often wedged into the middle seat. Follow her on Twitter & Facebook.