City guide

Checking in: Budapest hotel news and deals – December 2018

Photo : Continental Group

The indulgent spirit of Hungarian hospitality is rightfully legendary – many hotels here offer world-class accommodation and services with genuinely caring professionalism, often offered at remarkably friendly prices. In this instalment of our monthly Checking In series, we scan the latest developments in Budapest’s hotel scene for news, special promotions and unbelievable bargains slated for December 2018.

New hotel opens in Budapest city centre

D8 HotelPhoto: Continental Group

As we reported in September, a new superior three-star hotel is opening right in the heart of Budapest. Unveiled in November, steps away from focal Vörösmarty tér and a short stroll from the Chain Bridge, the D8 Hotel could not be better located. It’s a member of the Budapest-based, Hungarian-owned Continental Group, whose portfolio also includes other key hotels in prime city spots, all exuding a specific urban style. The D8, named after its address on Dorottya utca parallel to the Danube, comprises 121 bright, modern guestrooms. Groups of four can also take advantage of the family rooms, with two separate bedrooms. Downstairs, an expansive, inventive lobby area will soon feature its own bar. For more details, see the D8 Hotel website.


Circus games at the Gresham

BreakFEST at the GreshamPhoto: PANAMY Photo 

Anyone walking into the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace on the morning of 30 November would have got a strange surprise. Along with the usual courteous welcome from doormen and reception staff, men on stilts, jugglers, acrobats and magicians wandered around the lobby area as if the ornate Art-Nouveau surroundings of this landmark lodging were Budapest City Circus. The reason? BreakFEST, a special morning performance staged at the Gresham for selected guests to showcase the hotel’s attractions and its history. A pop-up play in three acts then presented a different era in the Gresham legend. For those who missed out, there’s still plenty on going on at the Gresham through the festive season, including afternoon tea with live piano music every day between 3pm and 6pm, a kiddie-friendly Santa brunch from noon on 9 December, and a five-course Christmas dinner from 6pm on 24 and 25 December. Look out in the days to come for our special feature on luxury Christmas dinners around Budapest. See the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace for details.


Private spa health centre set up at the Helia

Photo: Danubius Hotel Helia

Budapest’s first private spa health centre has just opened at the Danubius Hotel Helia, where long-experienced professionals offer a personalised approach to underwater gymnastics, Maitland therapy, massages for stress relief, and so on. Opened as a spa hotel in 1990, overlooking the Danube in north Pest, the Helia is the ideal location for this new facility, SmileyMed, with a pool, an adventure pool, a sauna, a thermal pool and a two-level gym with panoramic views. As Ágnes Molnár, senior physiotherapist at SmileyMed, says: ‘Here, we can follow the latest international research and trends, and find innovations. We can bring the best out of ourselves and our patients’. The Helia has also just welcomed the opening of the Yellow Bistro & Bar, with light, contemporary cuisine. For more details, see SmileyMed.


Special Christmas Menu at the Deák St. Kitchen

Photo: Deák St. Kitchen

The homely restaurant of focal The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest, Deák St. Kitchen is a superb location for a special Christmastime meal. Between 10 and 25 December, guests can enjoy a three-course gourmet set menu here for 9,500 forints per person. Special hand-crafted amuse bouche creations by the chef ready the belly for the feast, with Hungarian fish soup or mangalica terrine to follow for starters. For mains, you can choose veal-stuffed cabbage with paprika, mangalica bacon and sour cream or grilled hake fillet with Jerusalem artichoke, green apple and Ceylon cinnamon compote. Come dessert, a special chocolate sphere sweetens the deal. À la carte courses are also available during this time, with individual pricing. Live music entertains guests most evenings. See Deák St. Kitchen for details.


Alpine scenes for Christmas at the Kempinski

Sugary treats at the ES Deli Photo: Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest

Right in the heart of Budapest, the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest is transforming its ÉS Bisztró terrace on the prominent pedestrianised shopping street of Deák Ferenc utca into a festive wonderland. Unveiled in late November and running until 10 January, the Winter Terrace takes its decorative theme from Alpine chalets, serving guests warming mulled wine, speciality coffee from the ÉS Deli and lángos, a revered Hungarian treat of fried dough, here topped with smoked salmon, plus pulled pork, pancakes and cabbage soup. Its Sunday brunch also gets seasonal, a four-course menu offered during Advent, on 25 December and 1 January, and complemented with live music on 24 and 31 December. For more details, see the Kempinski website.