HUNGARY’S CAPITAL BISECTED INTO BUDA & PEST
Location Location Location
For first time travelers to the beautiful capital city of Budapest in Hungary, it may not be known that the city is actual two in one: Buda and Pest separated by the Danube River. The signature 19th century Chain Bridge separates the two sides of the city, hilly Buda from flat Pest. This is only one of many surprises’ travelers discover while exploring historical, beautiful Budapest.
The architectural wonders like the spectacular Neo-Gothic Parliament Building, the Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and St. Stephen’s Basilica are no surprise. But who knew Budapest also had the largest synagogue in the Europe, Dohany Street built in the late 1850’s. And did you know that the magician, Harry Houdini was born in Budapest as well as the inventor of the Rubix cube?
Wine is not one of the first things that come to mind when thinking of Hungary, but Hungarians are proud of their many fine local wines. And rather than end a meal with a brandy, Hungarians start off with a shot they call Palinka that packs a punch at 40 to 90% alcohol. It is made from just about any fruit flavor, with apricot, peach, pear and plum being the most popular. Of course, Goulash is the national dish and should be tried before leaving town. Best to taste it in one of the more traditional Hungarian establishments like Kehli Vendeglo founded in1899 for a more authentic experience.
Of course, no trip to Budapest is complete without visiting one of the many baths. After all, Budapest is known as the Spa Capital of the World and the ritual dates back over 2000 years. It has more thermal springs than any other capital city in the world with over 70 million liters of hot thermal water pumping daily. Spending an afternoon at opulent Gellert Spa or 450-year-old Rudas Bath on the Buda side is not only a therapeutic experience, but a feast for the eyes with their decadent design and decor. When in Budapest….
After all the healing hours spent in a Budapest bath, it’s time to go underground and explore the caves, yet another surprise and one of the most visited attractions in Budapest. There is a huge network of underground caves and tunnels in the Buda Castle District, which is one of the oldest areas of the city. They were used as bomb shelters and cellars back in the day.
‘Budapestis’ take their beauty seriously. For the best salon spa services in town try appropriately named, ‘BeautyPest’. Here you can probably get one of the best manny/pedis in the world along with fancy fake nails and many other beauty treatments from head to toe.
Once all dolled up, there are many fine dining establishments to choose from. But for a truly Budapest experience, the Ruin Bars are worthy of a visit. They are bars in abandoned buildings full of graffiti that attract an eclectic crowd. Szimpla Kert is the most iconic of these crazy bars.
There are several UNESCO sites in the beautiful city of Budapest. It is a city rich with a mix of cultures from Roman to Italian Renaissance to Ottoman, German and Austrian impressions. Today, Hollywood has discovered Budapest as the perfect backdrop for many movie sets. Visitors and locals alike can often see A-List movie stars in town.
Budapest is also a walking city with many wonderful green spaces including their version of “Central Park” complete with a zoo, circus and castle plus the famed Gundel restaurant owned by the Estee Lauder family. Strolling along the Danube and crossing over one of the bridges connecting Buda & Pest is a great way to spend an afternoon. From the hilly Buda side, tourists are rewarded with a panoramic view of Pest.
Hungary is one of the largest countries in Europe and in the past, Budapest was anti-Soviet Communism. The Hungarians seem a force to be reckoned with. They even have 13 Nobel prize winners and the entrepreneurial spirit reigns supreme here.
So, for a city full of surprises, take a trek to Budapest.
With different districts making up Budapest and lots of sights to see, it may be confusing where to stay.
Our choice is Kempinski for its perfect location, foodie mentality, art-filled walls and creature comforts.
Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest
“Kempinski’s location is ideal – adjacent to the park with ferris wheel views from the rooms, and walking distance to just about all a tourist desires, with the Old Town, as well as the river within walking distance, and all the best eating and drinking establishments a stone’s throw away as well as shopping streets at the hotel’s doorstep”.
One of the best locations to base yourself is none other than Budapest’s Kempinski hotel, formally known as Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest named after King Corvinus. Kempinski Hotels are Europe’s oldest luxury hotel groups founded in 1897 and today has 80 hotels in 34 countries. Kempinski Budapest just turned thirty last year and has undergone some fresh facelifts. In total there are 315 rooms and 38 suites, all bright, light-filled accommodations designed in a soft color palette, with some overlooking Erzsebet Park and the iconic ferris wheel going round and round. The hotel has a 21st-century cosmopolitan ambiance with an awe-inspiring lobby with its soaring 9-meter-high glazed ceiling and two polished plaster columns made to glimmer in the daylight and light up at night making for a great first impression.
The hotel breathes art and gastronomy. Here visitors find an art-filled hotel of Hungarian contemporary art with a collection of more than 1000 pieces and the Kempinski Art Gallery on the Promenade. The hotel also serves as a gastronomy hub in the center of the city, coined ‘Gastronomic Quarter Downtown Budapest’. Kempinski proudly boasts the first and only Central European Nobu, serving Japanese as well as some Hungarian inspired dishes. ES Bistro is a Hungarian Viennese bistro and steakhouse with a great selection of Hungarian wines and craft beers. The bistro serves a hearty breakfast buffet with over 130 items as well as some bubbly. Es Bistro has a popular Sunday brunch served at the table rather than buffet-style for a cozier dining experience. Tapelspitz is one of the brunch specialties, a classic local dish. An outdoor patio right on Fashion Street is open during the summertime and festive December season serving food and drink to both locals and hotel guests. For those on the run, ES Deli serves up locally brewed Hungarian coffee and light bites. The Living Room right off the lobby welcomes guests in the spirit of a Hungarian coffeehouse culture reimagined for the 21st century. On Sunday afternoons, some of the most talented music students from the world-renowned Franz Liszt Music Academy delightfully fill the air with a mini music concert. Moving from bubbles in the living room to cocktails at Blue Fox The Bar, where tunes from live bands and DJ’s entertain in an intimate indoor space as well as on the terrace overlooking the park.
After all the eating and drinking, the Kempinski Spa awaits. Here their signature ‘hungarymud’ treatment puts the youth back into the body. Guests can also take a swim in the pool or partake in a gym workout followed by the Finnish sauna or steam bath and enjoy pure relaxation in the tepidarium.
The dining is so divine that Kempinski Budapest offers their services to the outside world for catering through their “The Kitchen Caters” facility.
If business, not pleasure, is on your agenda in Budapest, have no fear as Kempinski can handle bespoke small events and large-scale conferences as well as glamorous weddings and grand balls.
At Kempinski Budapest you get wined, dined, relaxed, and cultured, plus a good night’s rest all in the course of day. And the best of Budapest is at your doorstep. What more could you ask for?
Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest gets 2 thumbs up in our book.