Budapest

The Gellért is probably Budapest's most famous hotel, known for its ornate spa, pool and Art-Nouveau façade. Designed before World War I but only opened after the conflict finished, this architectural landmark was the height of luxury in its day, and a lively stop on the Grand Tour between the wars. The world's first wave pool was unveiled here in 1927, and seaplanes would take off from the Danube embankment opposite, bound for Balaton. (A plaque now marks the spot.) In State hands after World War II, this revered old dame became worn and tatty, and its rooms now await a complete overhaul following the sale of the Hotel in 2019. The spa, attached to the hotel, free for guests and under different ownership, remains a superb and well-kept attraction, as does the wave pool, open in summer. Lending its name to the metro station and tram stop outside, the Gellért is worth a visit for its terrace café alone.

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