Request a Danube-side room at the InterContinental Budapest (from $210), a modern landmark on the river’s east (or Pest) bank that offers unmatched views of the Castle District’s Gothic skyline and the Buda Hills. Combat jet lag at the in-house spa, whose Zen-like serenity offers an attractive alternative to the often frenetic scene at the city’s traditional baths. Opt for an anti-aging facial ($95) that uses products made with locally sourced thermal waters.
Get into the Bohemian spirit across the river at Art’otel (from $145), located inside four restored Baroque townhouses. You can explore the surrounding medieval area by renting one of the house bicycles ($20 per day), but don’t miss the daily 4 p.m. tour of the hotel’s art collection, which includes 600 works by American artist Donald Sultan (free, includes a complimentary drink at the bar).
Splurge on a room at the Four Seasons (from $380), housed in the stunning Gresham Palace, a 1906 Art Nouveau masterpiece near the Pest side of the Chain Bridge. The swanky conversion features showy flourishes like peacock-embellished iron gates, a glittering mosaic-tiled lobby, and a gargantuan crystal chandelier.