PHOTO: Aria Hotel Budapest and the city's skyline. (photo courtesy of the Library Hotel Collection)
They had me when I stepped into my room to the sounds of Diana Ross’ “Baby Love” and the sight of the songstress in a colossal caricature.
The 5-star boutique Aria Hotel Budapest is absolutely glamorous with its music theme exquisitely executed in spirit, design and décor.
A ceramic white and black keyboard path leads you to the lobby—a stunning, glass-enclosed courtyard called the Music Garden. Its atrium roof soars to the sky, and its focal point is a sleek and shiny “space-age” piano. Budapest’s 19th century glory days get an edgy nod, while the whimsical and musical accouterments create an intimate space that’s just quirky enough.
The hotel hosts a daily wine & cheese reception here from 4 to 6 pm with live music and a cool vibe; It’s a lovely way to end a day of sightseeing.
Located city center (on the Pest side), Aria Hotel Budapest is surrounded by smart shops and cafes and is next door to the iconic St. Stephen’s Basilica. The dazzling must-see Hungarian Parliament Building, the neo-Renaissance State Opera House and the Danube—with its historic Chain Bridge—are all within walking distance.
The Aria’s 49 rooms (including one and two-bedroom suites) are laid out over the Neoclassical building’s five floors. Four separate wings are each dedicated to one of the major music genres: Opera, classical, jazz and contemporary. Differing décor captures the essence of each.
Opera and classical rooms are in a baroque style with coffered ceilings and Murano glass, but with a 21st-century feel. The jazz wing blends Art Noveau furnishings with Hollywood glam while the contemporary rooms are tricked out a la 1970s-pop art. Cool? You bet.
Each room pays homage to a musical legend with a caricature created by internationally acclaimed artist Joseph Blecha, books and a playlist.
READ MORE How to Have the Perfect Day in Budapest
Classical pianist and composer Hungarian’s own Franz Liszt is honored, opera buffs can bunk with Mozart or Maria Callas, and honeymooners can canoodle in the Romeo & Juliet Balcony Opera Suite.
If you’d like to spend the night with Louie Armstrong, Janis Joplin or the Fab Four, ask ahead, and the hotel will do all they can to accommodate you.
The luxe rooms are spacious, and most have a private balcony overlooking the courtyard. King size beds face marble fireplace surrounds framing 55” smart TVs. Amenities galore include iPads, docking stations and access to a digital music library—the sound system is terrific, with speakers in the sumptuous bathrooms. Wakey-wakey to your favorites tunes, grab an espresso, then hit the shower. They’re big enough to dance in.
So, to the strains of Diana & the Supremes’ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” I did. (Apologies to my kids for the visual here.)
There’s a subterranean—and over-the-top—spa that plays with the music theme too. The lower level also includes a Jacuzzi, heated pool, and fitness room.
READ MORE Anchorage’s Hotel Captain Cook: Let the Adventure Begin
Stradivari, a simple yet sophisticated restaurant, is tucked away just off the courtyard. It offers an exceptional culinary experience with a contemporary take on Hungarian cuisine.
Satchmo's Bar & Library—a retro watering hole and a cozy lounge, respectively—are opposite one another just inside the hotel entrance. They shake a mean cocktail and serve food. Try the duck liver bonbons.
A buffet breakfast is also served in the flooded-with-light Music Garden.
Guaranteed to knock the socks of any rooftop bar aficionado, the High Note SkyBar boasts a 360-degree vista of this gorgeous city. Comfortably furnished for sunning and sipping, there’s a sheltered dining area for cooler days. For an even better view, climb the spiral staircase to a pair of terraces.
At night, the lights make it magical, and you’ll be eye-level with the spires of St. Stephen’s Basilica. Wow.
The Aria Hotel Budapest is part of the Library Hotel Collection.