Gifted with an abundance of year-long sunshine here in the UAE, something we have a distinct lack of is snow and never is this more apparent than when the festive season begins. With this in mind, escaping to an Eastern European wonderland where you can wrap up in winter woolies and marvel in even the mere chance of a sprinkling of snow, is rather appealing.
The ancient city of Budapest, the capital of Hungary or as it is commonly known ‘the pearl of the Danube’ is known for its beautiful classical and neoclassical architecture that comes alive under the hypnotic glisten of Winter icicles and December is simply the perfect month to explore. Meander through the ancient city streets that are home to notable cultural landmarks such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and the Hungarian National Gallery which has one of the largest collections of all periods of European art and is a must visit for any art lover. Take in the scenery of one of Europe’s most stunning capital cities as you breath in the crisp, winter air along the banks of the Danube River, itself a UNESCO World Heritage site, before submerging yourself into one of the 80 geothermal baths that can be found here. It was the Romans who founded the ‘Aqiuncum’, a network of thermal baths and have given Budapest its name as the ‘Thermal City’, the only one in Europe.
The city is immense, randomly scattered with stylistic masterworks recounting its glorious and eventful past and in the lead up to Christmas Budapest is transformed into a real life Winter wonderland. Traditional festive markets dot Vorosmarty Square under the twinkle of strategically strung fairy lights where you can sip on warming mulled wine and feast on roasted chestnuts to the backdrop of joyous Christmas carols.
For any enjoyable city break you need a luxurious base to retreat and relax as well as to raise your body temperature after a day of sightseeing and the beautiful Boscolo Hotel nestled right in the city’s core, is the ideal five-star property to lay your head. Paying homage to Budapest’s fantastical architecture the entrance to Boscolo Budapest is itself, an architectural work of art; a place where the contemporary and the historical blend together harmoniously. Comprising of just 185 rooms with 5 Executive Suites and 2 Presidential Suites for those with deep pockets, Boscolo Budapest is a home-away-from-home whilst staying in the crowned ‘Paris of the East’. The interiors are a fusion of eclectic touches and precious antiques resulting in a truly cosmopolitan design that gives off an air of exclusivity from the moment you step through the door.
From the modern simplicity of the hotel’s Classic Rooms complete with a stark marble and mahogany bathrooms and lined with fashionable Etro toiletries, to the stream of sunlight that pours in through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the sophisticated Executive Rooms, further enhanced by a spacious terrace where you can sit back and relax under the warmth of a cashmere blanket and watch the infectious buzz of Budapest below. The Junior Suites are even more luxurious still, boasting silk wall upholstery and immaculate attention to detail with each space seamlessly separated by semi-circular glass panels.
Boscolo Budapest perfectly incarnates the soul of the city marking the crossway between civilisation and culture. Go back in time in The New York Café, the beating heart of the hotel and a focal part of both Budapest and Hungarian literary life, a vivacious nod to the Belle Epoque. Stepping foot in here is like walking through the wardrobe into an entirely different world.
The original decoration has been preserved in such a painstakingly perfect way that it’s impossible to take your eye off each and every feature; The ceiling hosts frescoes of Gusztav Mannheimer and Ferenc Eisenhut, dating back to the mid 1800s and precious Venetian lamp shades diffuse a soft light that reflects off the gold-plated stuccoes of the tortile columns, creating a myriad of colours. It’s so impossibly beautiful there’s little wonder as to why it is considered the ‘most beautiful cafe in the world’. The sophistication of its interior envelopes you into its folds and you delight in the personal recommendations of the courteous wait staff and the typical Hungarian flavours delivered through the Italian inspired cuisine.
After dark let yourself be led by the soft, reddish lights of the hotel’s Nyugat Bar where you can enjoy a peaceful post-dinner drink or a vintage tipple in the intimacy of the refined surroundings.
When the inky night sky thickens, head outside the grandiose of the building and take your loved one in hand for a spot of ice-skating at the Ice Rink found at Budapest City Park, a perfect hour spent delving deeper into the festive mood. Each year there is also an enchanting performance of the Budapest Nutcracker Ballet which is a fine way to spend an evening in Budapest in the lead up to Christmas.
From the sub-zero temperatures of Eastern Europe outside to the warm welcome back inside the hotel you’re in good stead; for in a city known for its thermal baths, rich with healing water facilities, the hotel consciously offers an exclusive SPA, where you can recharge in the warmth of an ultra modern wellness center.
Relax and be pampered, choosing from a range of innovative treatments which can be undertaken in collaboration with an immersive spa experience. Sink into the extraordinary relaxation pool, designed by renowned architect Simone Micheli and be inspired by the natural elements of water, rock and wind: the surfaces and colours help to create the incredibly suggestive atmosphere and the subtle glow of the candles add to the overall sublime serene feel.
For a hotel so steeped in history with its Greek, Latin, Renaissance and baroque styles which have been so beautifully blended in a typical art nouveau way, it still manages to propel itself into the 21st-century with contemporary touches and a distinct and unrivaled level of service. If you’re looking for a winter escape, you will be hard-pushed to find somewhere more mesmerizing that Boscolo Budapest.
Over the festive period Boscolo Budapest is offering travellers from the GCC a special celebratory package, available 23rd December to 2nd January 2017. Accompanying your stay in this luxurious hotel, you’ll be treated to welcome beverages upon arrival, a special festive breakfast each and every morning of your stay, a sumptuous dinner for two at the significant New York Cafe and also some thoughtful Christmas gifts. Rates start from AED 988 for double occupancy including tax.
Visit the hotel’s website for further information and to book http://budapest.boscolohotels.com/luxury-hotel-budapest