Aria Hotel – Budapest

Unbeatable – there are killer views of the domes of St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the hotel is within walking distance of the city’s opera house, parliament building and Széchenyi Chain Bridge.

The curtain is up on a new music-themed hotel in the shadow of St Stephen’s Basilica, whose rooftop bar could become the coolest place in Budapest for a cocktail.

Style & character

Budapest’s new arrival comes from Henry Kallan, the man behind New York’s literary-themed Library Hotel. As the name suggests, music is the motif here. A long, black-and-white keyboard carpet (reminiscent of that scene from the Tom Hanks film Big) unfurls through the entrance to reveal a grand, if a little gaudily decked out (there are sofas upholstered in lime green satin, for heaven’s sake), “garden courtyard” and lobby. Violins and ornamental treble clefs hang from light fittings, gaze upwards and you’ll spot cartoons depicting singers ranging from James Brown to Jagger, while the centrepiece is a space-age piano designed by the Hungarian musician Gergely Bogányi. It’s one of only two in the world (the other is at the city’s music school) and looks not dissimilar to the Batmobile.

The impressive neoclassical building, a former bank, is split into four wings. Each represents a different musical genre, and bedrooms are all dedicated to a different artist. A Liszt suite takes top billing in the classical corner, for example, and you’ll find Louis Armstrong in the jazz wing. Inside you’ll find a large caricature of the chosen star, by Czech artist Joseph Blecha, and books about their life and work. The hotel will try to cater to your preference; unfortunately, someone else had already bagged the Bob Dylan suite, so I ended up with Tchaikovsky.

Perfectly attentive and friendly – but marks must be deducted when a member of staff walks into your bedroom without knocking (even if it was to drop off a copy of Blonde on Blonde). The subterranean spa – dimly-lit and with a sauna and steam room – is a more seductive alternative to the city’s famous public baths.


With a stay at Aria Hotel Budapest by Library Hotel Collection, you’ll be centrally located in Budapest, steps from St. Stephen’s Basilica and Andrassy Avenue. This 5-star hotel is within close proximity of PANiQ-Room and Elizabeth Park.

Value for money

Double rooms from €288 (£204), including breakfast. Free Wi-Fi. It’s expensive for Budapest, with only the Four Seasons charging more, but the concept is certainly unique. Plans have been mooted to offer packages that include tickets to or tours of the nearby Opera House.

Access for guests with disabilities?



It’s more suited to couples, but there are a handful of adjoining rooms aimed at families.

 Hercegprímás utca 5., Budapest, 1051, Hungary.

00 36 144 540

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