Located directly on the riverfront at the foot of Gellért Hill, Rudas might be the thermal bath with the best location in Budapest, yet for decades the building looked like a neglected scene from a war movie. In recent years the historic wings were renovated and modernized, and the only section that was left waiting for a facelift was the former bottling plant at the southern end of the facility. The reconstruction allowed for some expansion as well, and so the reopened wing awaits guests with four new swimming pools, a restaurant, and a Jacuzzi with a panoramic view.
Bathing culture is a core element of the
Budapest lifestyle: soaking in thermal waters on a regular basis is almost natural for us, while most of the world's hottest metropolises lack this luxury. There are a total of 21 thermal springs near Rudas, so the fact that there used to be a bath at this location even during the era of Turkish occupation is not surprising at all.
The final renovation project to renew Rudas Bath, specifically aimed at the dilapidated southern wing, started last fall. The investment, which was realized based on the plans of the Nirmana Architecture Firm, was finished within a year, and during the last few days the first guests could finally soak in the splendor of this new wing.
In addition to the domed Turkish bath and the swimming pool, now there are four new wellness pools with water maintained at 12°C, 32°C, 36°C, and 42°C, equipped with all kinds of massaging functions and colored anything but blue. As László Szőke, head of Budapest Spas, said at the presentation ceremony, they want to offer their guests a unique experience, so they designed the color scheme accordingly.
The wing is full of modern architectural elements, but its most unique feature is the unrivaled panorama, allowed by the large glass surfaces.
We can enjoy the same view from the sun deck and the
Jacuzzi: from the outdoor pool, we can clearly see the Liberty Bridge, the Elizabeth Bridge and virtually the city's entire Pest side.
The first floor houses a new restaurant, where the view is, again, magnificent. The interior design was apparently inspired by water, which is obvious from the color scheme and the clean design. The interior design plans and graphic works were made by Balázs Györfi, independently from the Nirmana Architecture Firm. Chef Lázár Kovács dreamed up a Turkish and Hungarian fusion kitchen for the restaurant, so sesame seeds, chickpeas, and cinnamon are common ingredients in these dishes, which look and taste really promising. Adding to the local flavors, some recipes even include the facility's natural spring waters.
The bath is open between 6am and 8pm, while the restaurant welcomes us until 11pm. Some familiar elements of the facilities were kept, but everything – including the locker rooms – became much more aesthetically pleasing and comfortable.
Let’s enjoy Rudas to the fullest extent – we cannot indulge in such an experience in any other world capital!