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While some parts of western Europe are overrun with tourists every day of the year, Budapest still feels gritty, hauntingly beautiful, and relatively undiscovered. In the heart of Pest -- the bustling, walkable part of the city that lies East of the Danube -- you'll find the music-themed Aria Hotel. Situated in a renovated historic building a few blocks from the river, it's a good place to establish your temporary home, especially if you're heading out on a Danube river cruise.

The Basics

Budget Level: Upscale ($150-$300/night)

Lodging Type: Small Hotel (under 50 rooms)

What You Need to Know

The Look

If you're in love with Budapest's opulent cafes, neo-Renaissance opera house, and stately Victorian-era apartment buildings, the Aria Hotel offers similar flair -- but with a contemporary twist. Tufted couches are done in chartreuse. Tilework takes on modern shapes. And the hotel's lobby piano looks more like a shiny black spaceship than a traditional baby grand.

The Vibe

The crowd here is a mix of mostly European travelers, with a few Americans thrown in. The genial, English-speaking staff bends over backwards to make guests comfortable, which lends the whole operation a feeling of friendliness and comfort. Budapest's fashionable crowd heads to the rooftop bar, which has views over the spires of St. Stephen's Basilica, in warmer weather.

Who Will Love It

If you want to feel like you're having an modern, upscale, authentically Hungarian experience, this is the place to stay. Likewise, music buffs will love the decor in the rooms, which features jazz, classical, and contemporary themes. Our Elvis-inspired digs featured art and memorabilia inspired by The King.

Who Might Not

If you need the predictable style and comfort of an American chain hotel, you'll find that in Budapest, but not here. The Aria offers a more distinct -- and distinctly European -- experience.

Best Amenity

In a city of world-famous spas and heated baths, it makes sense that its best hotels would offer complimentary services. The Aria Hotel's spa space is intimate, swathed in jewel-toned light, and perfect for a soak when the weather isn't cooperating, or when you'd rather not venture out into the city.

Money Matters

What's Included

Besides your room, the nightly rate includes daily buffet breakfast, WiFi, access to the spa (treatments cost extra), bottled water, use of a smartphone, and turndown service. You can also include a third guest in the room without charge. Rates also includes a wonderful daily wine-and-cheese reception, which features live music. In the afternoons, this is one of the coziest and most relaxing scenes in town.

Fees and Extra and Costs You Should Know About

One of the best reasons to stay here are the included perks, mentioned above.

How to Get a Deal

Aria Hotel offers good value throughout the year; it's rare to see prices over $360 per night, even at the height of summer when Budapest welcomes lots of visitors. This is a good price when you consider what's included, and that this is the top-rated hotel in Budapest on Trip Advisor. In winter, autumn, and early spring, you'll easily find rooms for around $260 per night.

Getting There

In the Neighborhood

Aria Hotel is located in the center of historic Pest, just a few steps from some of the city's major attractions. You can walk to St. Stephen's Basilica, the opera house, Budapest's grand Parliament building, and the picturesque Chain Bridge in less than 15 minutes.

Nearest Airport

Budapest's Liszt Ferenc Airport is about 30 minutes by car from Aria Hotel. A taxi will cost about the equivalent of $30-$40 USD.

Nearest Public Transit

Budapest has a first-rate metro system, and Aria Hotel Budapest is situated near two stops -- Deak Ferenc Ter and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky.

The Bottom Line

If you're heading to Budapest, this is the place to stay for contemporary Hungarian style and luxurious comfort.

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