When we heard that the Library Hotel Collection had just opened a new property, the Aria Hotel in Budapest, we were sisters on a mission! We were going to Budapest anyway in advance of a river cruise the timing was perfect.
Budapest does not have a shortage of hotels. However, in the past we found they ranged from very expensive large chains ( posh, but predictable) to often disappointing lesser-known properties.
The Aria Hotel in Budapest is a new player that is a marketer’s dream; a truly differentiated offering. Yes, this sounds like pompous corporate gobbledygook . Blonde spent decades in marketing always trying to claim that the products or services she offered had unique differentiators and always knowing that, well, in the interest of clean language, it was gobbledygook! So many years of
lying stretching the truth gave her the ability to recognize the real thing when she finally experienced it.
What’s so unique about the Aria Hotel Budapest?
The hotel’s theme is music and every room is dedicated to a musician.
Trust us, we aren’t talking the Hard Rock Cafe here.
There are four wings in the Aria Hotel; Jazz, Contemporary, Classical and Opera.
We were given the Beethoven room in the Classical wing. We don’t know why they assigned us that room but we have read that Beethoven was incompetent at math so perhaps they knew a little about us and saw the commonality.
If you plan well enough in advance and ask to spend the night with a “Legend” the hotel will make every effort to accommodate you. (Had she known, Blonde would have requested George Clooney whether or not he can sing. And despite the fact that there isn’t a George Clooney room.)
The 48 room options include Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, Mozart and even Maria Callas. Not even the most dedicated band groupie has slept with such an array of musical talent!
The hotel’s Music Director will even meet with you to create a “musical itinerary” for your musician of choice, provide you with a selection of DVDs and arrange an amenity “inspired” by your artist. (Hey, shouldn’t they have given us a hearing aid in the Beethoven room?)
The design of the Aria Hotel Budapest is inspired by music
The master designer of the hotel was Zoltan Varro and he was obviously given free rein to express his artistic inclinations. The building was originally a bank built in 1870. The vault was clearly opened wide and looted to design, build and decorate the hotel.
Admittedly you probably don’t think of Jimmy Hendrix or Tchaikovsky and have the image of a swimming pool pop into your head, but this is sure a cool backdrop.
And you may not think of Janis Joplin and Billy Holiday as athletic gals but you can ride a specially designed “hydrocycle” to their music when you are in the swimming pool!
The Aria Hotel has so many Swarovski crystals that the Swarovski lighting division must have been dedicated to only building fixtures for the hotel for at least a year. Many of the chandeliers are Swarovski, but not standard Swarovski (possibly an oxymoron) but custom designs. There are chandeliers with crystal treble notes and crystal harps over the elevator doors. There are also Murano glass chandeliers with their own musical motifs.
Even the carpets have musical instruments sketched into them. It could all be too much, but somehow it manages not to be.
One of the things we, and most likely everyone, first notices on entering the hotel is the keyboard along the lobby floor leading to a black grand piano. But this isn’t any black grand piano. This one was designed by Gergely Bogány a world-reknowned Hungarian pianist who may have had Jessica Rabbit as his muse! This curvy, beautiful piano consists of more than 18,000 parts and was built to create the highest possible sound quality.
What thrilled us more than the piano itself was that the day we were at the hotel Mr. Bogány stopped by, with no announcement or fanfare of any sort, to sit and play the piano during the hotel’s (free to guests) early evening wine and cheese event!
They also know that things other than music are needed for your stay
Views are always a nice touch
Budapest hotels and restaurants have not really developed the concept of rooftop bars so now they’re going to have to play some serious catch-up. The “High Note Sky Bar has stunning panoramic views of the city that need to be seen both at night and during the day.
Location, Location, Location is as true in Budapest as anywhere else
The hotel is a minute away (if you walk quite haltingly) from Saint Stephen’s Basilica, many fine restaurants, the city’s fancy pants Andrássy Avenue, the Danube and the best gelato shop in Budapest.
No annoying petty extra charges
Breakfast is included as are wi-fi, free mineral water, a multi-media library, international newspapers and that yummy wine and cheese evening event.
No street or other outside noise at all
They have some kind of super-duper soundproof glass that we can tell you is not the norm in hotels in Budapest! You don’t hear a thing from the outside world.
What else did you really like?
Oh, didn’t we mention that we also happened to meet the handsome, charming president of the Library Hotel Collection, Henry Kallan? He was coincidentally there when we were and came over to chat with us in the lobby.
Blonde lurched into auto-flirt mode in a fit of girlish delight.
Henry even spent a couple of hours with us late in the evening (as his several phones rang with calls from his New York office) telling us his fascinating life story that we aren’t going to give away in this post…
Wasn’t there anything you didn’t like?
Yes! We both thought our omelettes were over-cooked the morning we checked out. Aha!
The thing we disliked the most, by far, was that we had to leave. We were actually pouting about having to leave on a free 8 day river cruise because we wanted to stay at the hotel.
If you’re going to Budapest on holiday, perhaps before a river cruise or for some romantic occasion, stay at the Aria Hotel. If you don’t enjoy it we will refund the entire non-existent cost of subscribing to our blog.
Just do what it takes to stay there!
Disclaimer: We were the guests of the Aria Hotel Budapest. But our opinions and occasionally embarrassing behavior are all ours. We have been the guests of many properties and have never before dedicated a post to one. But Blonde accidentally stole the hair dryer bag from this property and is desperately trying to make it up to them!