Budapest, Hungary

BudapestA tour of Central Europe has taken you through romantic cities steeped in history. The cobblestone streets of Old Town and the beer halls of Prague. The opera, palaces, and coffeehouses in Vienna. Castles of Bratislava. So you expect much of the same by the time you reach Budapest. At first glance, Old World grandeur is what you’ll find along the Danube River while touring the Castle District, Heroes Square, and even visiting the thermal baths. But you’ll quickly notice an emerging contemporary art scene as well in the Bohemian Hungarian capital. Mixed in with the stately historic buildings, you’ll find modern art museums; WAMP, a monthly design market; pop-up shops; and floating restaurants.

Photo: Bohem Art Hotel
Photo: Bohem Art Hotel

Two centrally located hotels were designed with this creative spirit in mind. The Bohem Art Hotel feels like a hip art gallery. And it kind of is. Each room acts as an art show for a contemporary Hungarian artist. Some rooms fully embrace the modern, while others combine the past and the present with arched ceilings and modern interiors. The trendy downstairs restaurant serves champagne buffet breakfasts.

Photo: Casati Budapest Hotel
Photo: Casati Budapest Hotel

Near the opera house, another hotel, the Casati Budapest Hotel, also highlights local artists. With four types of rooms–classic, cool, natural, and heaven–guests select where they stay based on their personalities. Classic rooms, featuring antique furniture and oil paintings, mix the old and the new. Artists from Budapest designed and painted the imaginative cool rooms. And heaven rooms feature contemporary Hungarian artwork. If you never left your hotel, you’d think Budapest were a much younger city than it actually is.

Young Hungarians are modern, progressive, and free spirited. And while you’ll love visiting the World Heritage Sites that put Budapest on the tourist map, you’ll also find it refreshing how the historical and the modern are dynamically melding together.

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