Budapest has many muscle-melting hot springs that have been used for centuries to rejuvenate the body and mind, and the city is strewn with historic thermal baths that offer mineral-rich pools for those who want to plunge into steamy pleasures. However, in addition to the balmy waters, many of the city’s baths provide pampering treatments for guests who fancy trying additional wellness services, and some of the offers might come as a surprise – from hop-scented soaks to pampering pálinka massages, here we present some of the most unusual amenities available at the city's traditional baths.
Located amid Margaret Island’s picturesque settings, this four-star resort has a wide range of facilities that we need for an invigorating getaway, including thermal-heated pools filled with natural hot-spring water, swimming pools, saunas, and steam chambers. Naturally, the hotel offers varied wellness packages, including such stimulating sensations as the “body scrub with salt and pálinka”, a 40-minute skin-renewal therapy (13,500 HUF per person) that is based on a traditional Hungarian folk recipe – local fruit-based brandy is mixed with sea salt and a special massage oil, thus this blend of ingredients creates a distinct body scrub. Besides this alcohol-soaked skin-cleansing treatment, guests can indulge in a beer-infused bath; a 20-minute session costs 6,200 forints per person.
Shut out the world for 90 minutes and immerse in a royal ritual at the architecturally attractive Gellért Bath, which provides extra wellness services to guests besides their indoor pools containing steamy thermal water, and a summertime wave pool outside. In a secluded area within the bath, guests can lounge in an ornate tub that’s filled with curing grape-based substances, like red wine, pomace, and grapeseed oil – submerging in the crimson libation helps hydrate and regenerate the skin, while it reduces signs of aging. This special red-wine bath inside Gellért’s sumptuous marble tub is ideal for couples, as two people can delve into this intoxicating experience at the same time. On top of it all, a bottle of red wine is served for soakers during the bath; this spirited treatment costs 14,500 forints for two people.
Dating back to the mid-16th century, this venerable haven of health is now a peacefully temperate place to find tranquility at any time of year, and while bathers relish the beneficial effects of Király’s hot spring waters amid its shared pools, those who wish to unwind amid pacifying settings can retreat to the bath’s secluded area offering a private tub for four people, ideal for relishing family moments or enjoying curative pastime with friends. Here, a spacious tub is filled with hot-spring water that’s used in the treatment of rheumatic or certain gynecological problems, while the adjacent sauna completes the revitalizing experience – this private space with the sauna and the thermal tub is available to book for two-hour slots, and costs 6,400 forints for four people.
In addition to several heated pools that are filled with steaming waters, a complete spectrum of wellness facilities are available at this centuries-old medical mecca, including muscle-melting Turkish massages that provide an otherworldly experience to guests. These deluxe rubs are done atop a heated marble bed, and during the treatment the masseur uses products made of a variety of natural extracts, like olive, palm, or rose oil. All of the different massages bear names deriving from the tales of 1,001 Nights: the Scheherazade’s Dream is a 60-minute program that costs 9,200 forints per person, while the Sultan’s Desire is a 70-minute massage session that costs 11,200 forints per person.
Standing as a historic landmark at Buda’s Danube bank at the Elizabeth Bridge since the mid-1500s, this traditional edifice has much more in store for soakers than healing thermal waters. After a thorough renovation program, contemporary design elements now mingle with the bath’s centuries-old features, making it the perfect spot for modern-day wellness treatments, like prime massages – those who are after palatial pampering can book Rudas’s 70-minute VIP massage, a candlelit treatment applied amid mellow music (available from 17,000 forints per person). Guests who would like to benefit from the spring waters’ internal healing effects can fill their bottles at Rudas’s drinking hall, located under Elizabeth Bridge. Here, three different fountains (from the Juventus, Attila, and Hungária springs) provide mineral-rich liquids that are used to treat various health problems, like respiratory disease or stomach disorders, and a liter of the magical aqua sets you back just 70 forints – the drinking hall is open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11am to 6pm, and on Tuesday and Thursday from 7am to 2pm.
As a recent addition to the city’s renowned Széchenyi Bath, now those who want to take a truly mind-blowing warm-water dip can indulge in the BeerSpa, an intoxicating facility located right below the historic thermal bath. Here, wooden tubs are filled with a mix of mineral-rich 36°C hot water, infused with the natural extracts used to brew beer, including malts, hops, brewer’s yeast, and barley. This unique combination stimulates the metabolism, help removes harmful substances from the body, and eases fatigue, stress, and hangovers. On top of all, throughout the boozy BeerSpa experience, guests can pour and enjoy an unlimited amount of beer on tap within reach from the tub. To use this alcohol-infused feature, you need a valid ticket for the main bath facilities and a separate ticket for the suds-filled tubs (7,625 HUF for one person, 12,200 HUF for two).