Fodor's Expert Review Corinthia Hotel Budapest
District VII, Erzsébet körút 43–49, Budapest, Budapest, 1073, Hungary See on Map
The Corinthia first opened as the luxurious Grand Royal Hotel in time for the Magyar Millennium in 1896, and, despite being destroyed during Hungary's 1956 revolution, it's just as luxurious today. It feels like a palace popping up on a normal street, with quite the entrance wow factor, and manages to maintain that feel throughout the hotel--no mean feat. Old-school swankiness, great service, and charm, in spades.
Guest rooms and suites, as well as the apartments available for long- and short-term rental, are stylish, with dark woods and jewel-tone upholstery. Beds are huge, and rooms are wonderfully quiet, making for a really relaxing stay. Nespresso machines and safes come as standard.
Bathrooms are all-Italian, from marble floors to gleaming fixtures. The burnt orange and cream color scheme sounds odd, but it works, and it's always nice to have a bit of art in boring old bathrooms. There are two disabled access rooms.
The expansive atrium lobby, gleaming white and multi-level, is full of Italian marble and wrought-iron ornamentation. The sweeping central staircase (dating from 1896) feels like being in a ballroom. But the best bit? The old-school polite, calm, and refined service.
Hunt out the glass bridge on the second floor leading from one building to another - it's dizzying.
The curvy swimming pool is a real stunner, part of the hotel's dazzling reconstruction of a spa designed and built here in the late 1880s that operated until 1944. With a double-height stained glass ceiling, surrounded by balconies and vintage black and cream tiles, it's among the most beautiful hotel pools we've seen, period.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Children are only allowed into the pool between 11-3 to maintain the chilled spa vibe for most of the day - and we're pretty sure that even guests with kids would be on board with this mission (so long as they can palm them off for a period in order to experience it themselves!).
The Royal Spa doesn't end with the pool: dotted around it are saunas, a steam room, Jacuzzis, massage salons, treatment facilities, and tropical showers. All floors have a direct lift to the spa.
All guests get complimentary access to the spa if they book direct on the hotel's website - otherwise, it's only for the higher room classes, and available to standard rooms for an extra fee. Do check, as it's a proper highlight.
The hotel's newly opened gym (as of 2018) is well-equipped.
The Brasserie and Atrium restaurants, housed in the stunning glass atriums that link the older buildings that make up the hotel, are classy all-day affairs, including providing a gorgeous location for the tasty hotel breakfast. The hotel also serves afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge. And there's more: the stylish Asian-themed Rickshaw restaurant, and the Bib Gourmand Bock Bistro, which serves Hungarian food crossed with Spanish tapas, as well as the outside-run Caviar & Bull restaurant, a fancy restaurant with Maltese pedigree.
Once again, guests ares spoilt for choice: Le Bar, the in-house option, has a resident pianist, cool lighting, and delicious cocktails (and the staff wear traditional white jackets - nice). Or Orfeum Club, next to the hotel, is free for guests and can be reached from the lobby. It celebrates what it calls "entertainment's golden age" but does actually deliver the goods, with great live swing, jazz and contemporary music and dancing.
A buzzing neighborhood close to the Oktogon metro stop, the hotel is well-located for sightseeing - particularly along famous Andrássy út. Buda is a little further afield, but easily reached by public transport.
Brilliant retro eatery Menza (5-minute walk) is not far. Or innovative Fricska Gastropub (2-minute walk) offers a great wine list and modern takes on 20th century bourgeois cuisine.
In the summer, check out Liebling Hidden Rooftop Bar (5-minute walk). In truth, it's not that hidden, but it does still feel like a hideaway, with its unique atmosphere, twinkly fairylights and ivy-covered fences. Or gorgeous rooftop bar 360 (7-minute walk) is brilliant in summer or winter, with fantastic views - it is currently housing eight heated igloos for revellers.
WHY WE LIKE IT
One of Budapest's most beautiful high-end hotels, the Corinthia has a properly special vibe, and its spa is simply one of the loveliest we've ever seen. Breakfast is delicious, its dining and drinking options are plentiful and comfortable, the service is wonderful; in fact, the whole place feels like it harks back to the glory days of travel in the early 20th century--and what's more, you can experience all of this luxury at a non-astronomical price.