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Hi! We're Laura and Tanbay
Travel Bloggers and soul mates

We've been travelling the world for the last 3 years. This blog is designed to help you achieve your dreams too, no matter what they are.

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Is the Aria Hotel the Best Hotel in Budapest?


The Aria Hotel Budapest is not only Hungary's only musical themed hotel, it is also ranked as the # 1 hotel in Budapest on TripAdvisor!

This is an impressive achievement and it's obvious why they're ranked so highly: the Aria is in the perfect location, it's luxurious, it's comfortable and the spa and service are impeccable. 

We stayed for one night and this is what we thought:

Check in




















Before we'd even stepped into the Aria Hotel we were impressed - by the location: the Aria is less than a two minute walk from St Stephen's Basilikum (the Cathedral) I don't think you can get more centrally located in Budapest than this. It was the perfect spot for a hotel.

Check in is at 3pm, but if you arrive early it's no problem, you can leave your luggage in a safe place and enjoy the spa area or start exploring Budapest. 

We were shown up to our room and taught about the special sound system and shown how we could control everything (lights, curtains, sound) from the bed. There was also a beautiful tray of fresh fruit to welcome us. 

Our room

We stayed in the Aria Signature Room with a Music Garden Balcony view. Our room was very comfy, with a king size bed and a massive shower and separate bath. 

The room came with mineral water, a selection of newspapers, fine chocolates, fresh fruit and a Nespresso machine. 

The room also had an intelligent Multi-Media system with a great sound system. There were even speakers in the bathroom so you could listen to music or what was on the TV.

There was also an iPad in the room!

Wine and Cheese reception

Everyday between 4pm and 6pm, guests of the Aria can enjoy a wine and cheese reception. We LOVE good cheese, luckily the Aria catered to that by having four absolutely divine cheeses: a goat's cheese, a blue cheese, a soft cheese and a Gouda. 

We tried a white wine which paired beautifully with all the cheeses. It was citrusy and sweet. 

To go with the cheese there was also bread, olives, dried fruits and fresh fruits. We tried a bit of everything and it was all delectable. 


Rooftop bar

The rooftop bar - High Notes Sky Bar - has an absolutely stunning 360 degree view. This makes it perfect for both evening cocktails when the sun is going down, and morning yoga when the sun is rising! 


As the Aria is so centrally located, you can enjoy views of all the main attractions up here: the Basilikum, the Parliament, Castle Hill, just to name a few!


Note: drink orders come with a complimentary snack!

Harmony Spa Wellness Centre

The Aria Hotel has one of the best spa's we've ever seen in a hotel. It has a heated indoor pool, it was only heated to 28 degree celsius, but this was the perfect temperature for cooling off in after a trip to their saunas (one is 50 degrees Celsius, the other 80 degrees) or the aromatic steam room, or even the jacuzzi! 


Dotted around the swimming pool are plenty of comfy coaches and beds to chill out in. It's such a relaxing atmosphere with mood lighting, candles and calming music. We had a great time in here, it was probably our favourite part of the whole hotel. 

It's no wonder the Aria were awarded Europe's Best Wellness Spa in 2015.

We also tried out the gym, which is fully equipped and the screens on the machines give you access to the internet! You can watch inspirational YouTube videos as you work out!




Breakfast

Breakfast was very good. The staff were friendly, helpful and very nice. There was a large selection of cereals, breads, cheeses, cold meats, fruit, yoghurts and dried fruit. You can also order eggs in any way you'd like, and tea, coffee and fruit juice were served too. 


The omelettes were especially good. We had an omelette for breakfast in almost every hotel we stayed in in Asia and none of them compared to these ones. It was perfect. 

The musical theme
The Aria Hotel is the only hotel in Hungary that is a musically themed hotel, and the music was impressive. Upbeat music greeted us when we first arrived in our room, cool & classy live jazz was played during wine and cheese, Eastern relaxing music was played in the spa and calming classical music could be heard at breakfast. The music always fitted the mood and was always at an appropriate noise level. 

The Aria has four wings, and each is dedicated to a major genre of music: Classical, Jazz, Contemporary and Opera. We were in the classical wing and classical music played in our hallway. 


Nearby attractions
I wouldn't be surprised if you stayed at the Aria and didn't leave the premises, it has such a nice atmosphere and everything is so luxurious it's hard to leave. However, it's worth noting that the Aria Hotel is also in the absolute best location in Budapest. Here are some nearby attractions:
  • Saint Stephen's Basilika - largest church in Budapest, with impressive views from the roof and the 1000 year old hand of St Stephen himself preserved in the chapel. (1 minute walk)
  • Hungarian Parliament House - extremely beautiful building and the third largest parliament house in Europe (15 minutes walk)
  • Buda Castle - historical place of Hungarian royalty (10 minutes drive)
  • Deak Ferenc Square - the nearest tube station (3 minutes walk)
Even the airport is only 30 minutes away (car).

But despite being so centrally located, we were never disturbed by the noise of the city. 

They are also right next to a shop that sells these impressive rose  shaped ice creams! Instagood! 


Further information


Conclusion
As I'm sure you can tell, we loved our stay at the Aria Hotel, everything was perfect: the staff, the rooms, the food, everything was comfy and well thought out. What really made the Aria stand out for us though, was the Spa and the location - they can't be beaten!

To make your reservations, head over to the Aria's own website: www.ariahotelbudapest.com you can also find them on FacebookTwitter and  TripAdvisor

Make sure you pin this to your Budapest bucket-list:


And to keep up with our own adventures in Budapest, follow us on Facebook and Twitter too!

Travelling Weasels were invited as guests of the Aria, but all opinions are our own as always.

Taste Hungary, Hungarian-Vegetarian Food Tour


Looking for great Vegetarian/Vegan food in Hungary? Taste Hungary offer the BEST food tours in Hungary. 

We went on the Hungarian-Vegetarian walk with Taste Hungary and this is what we thought:

Central Market Hall




















The Hungarian-Vegetarian Walk with Taste Hungary started in the best place - the Central Market Hall.  This was such an appropriate place for a Hungarian food tour to start because it's full of local, tasty products:

Like these fresh raspberries, which were there to meet us with our wonderful guide, Zsofia. She told us what the schedule was for the day and a bit about the Central Market Hall: It was built in 1896 to celebrate Hungary's millennium, and was the first market hall in Budapest. Nowadays it's not the only market hall in Budapest, but it's still the biggest. It's used by locals and tourists alike and is commonly known just as 'The Hall'. 


Unicum
After the raspberries, we headed over to a small bar in the Central Market Hall to try a traditional Hungarian liqueur, Unicum. Unicum was invented in 1790 by a Jewish-Hungarian Dr called Dr Zwack. He invented it as a medicine for Joseph the Second. Unicum has been popular and easy to buy in Hungary ever since, EXCEPT for the 40 years when the USSR occupied Hungary. The Unicum family took themselves and the secret recipe to the US and the Soviets didn't know how to make it!

The Unicum recipe is still a secret to this day, although we do know that it's 40% alcohol and has over 42 digestive herbs. 

We both really enjoyed our shot of Unicum, it has a similar taste to Jagermeister, but is more delicious in our opinion. 

Retesek 

Next we went to a strudel stand in the Central Market Hall. We tried three different traditional strudels: a poppy seed, a squash & poppy and a cottage cheese & dill. They were all filling and tasty. 


We also tried scones here: cheese, cabbage and potato. The potato was our favourite. 

The strudel was actually brought over by the Turks during the Ottoman occupation. 

Paprika

Paprika was also introduced by the Turks in the 16th Century. As Hungary wasn't on the Silk Road, paprika was used as a cheap version of black pepper. Paprika is actually a Hungarian word and is now a national symbol - it's a very popular with the tourists. 



It's only usually sweet paprika that's used in Hungarian cooking, with spicy paprika used to flavour salami and similar things. 

Mantra

Although coffee isn't exactly Hungarian, coffee shops are very popular in Budapest - especially fair trade, organic ones. Our next stop was Mantra for fair trade, organic drinks. I had an excellent bitter coffee from the Congo and Tanbay had a 100% dark chocolate drink. Both were delectable. 

Leves

Then we walked a short distance to Leves for some delicious, vegan, tomato soup. Leves is very popular with students and we can see why because the soup was fantastic. 

Rozsavolgyi 
Next we went to Rozsavolgyi which not only had some of the best chocolate we'd ever tasted, it was also the best dressed: 




We tried six chocolates: Tarkony (tarragon), Kave and Balzsamecet (coffee and balsamic vinegar), Fust (smoked wood), Levendula (lavender), Malna Gomt (raspberry ball) and Giandotto (milk chocolate and hazelnut):


They were all INCREDIBLE. My absolute favourite was the Levendula and Tanbay loved the Kave. 

Napfenyes 

Then it was lunchtime! Napfenyes restaurant is known as one of the best vegan restaurants in Europe. We started off with cabbages stuffed with rice in a paprika sauce, and I swear it was one of the best dishes I've ever tasted. It was delicious!! 


It was followed by a traditional Hungarian dish: a Cottage cheese dumpling sweetened with cinnamon. It had a twist though: it was vegan: The sour cream sauce was made of soy and the cottage cheese was made from grains. Delicious! 

Madal

We made a quick stop at Madal, for yummy raw vegan cakes, before we headed to our final stop:

Tasting Table

The Tasting Table was our last stop and it was super tasty! 

Set in a cute kitchen/cellar/shop hybrid, there was a great selection of wines, including the best collection of Tokaj wines in Budapest. We were very impressed by the Unicum selection which came in all shapes and sizes:


After we'd admired the space, it was time to sit down and try some wine and cheeses:

As someone who loves maps, I was extremely impressed by our map/place setting, it was beautiful! 

But so were the wines:



We started off with a white wine: Abbey Winery Pannonhalma Tramini 2015 from the Pannonhalma region (West of Hungary). This wine was really delicious, it was light and dry. It was paired with a 'Mountain Cheese', which was also really delicious. It was soft and strong. 


Next up was the red wine: Bolyki Winery, Bull's Blood 2013 from the Eger region (North East). This was a light house wine and it was paired with a smoked cheese: Paranyica. 

Then was the dessert wine: Royal Tokaj Winery, 5 Puttonyos Aszu 2009 from the Tokaj region (North East). Also known as the 'Kin of Wines'. This went with a Blue Cheese that was absolutely divine. 

All in all, my favourite wine and cheese course was the last one. It was the perfect way to end a perfect afternoon. 

Further Information
To find out more, check out our daily vlog about it :) 

Conclusion

We absolutely loved our Hungarian-Vegetarian Food Tour with Taste Hungary. It was informative, it was super tasty, and our guide Zsofia was so nice and so much fun that we felt like we were being shown round by a friend. 

Our favourite foods of the day were the potato scones, the coffee, the lavender chocolate, the stuffed cabbage and the blue cheese. Everything was delicious and we highly recommend this tour. 

To book a Hungarian-Vegetarian tour, head over to this page: tastehungary.com/tour/vegetarian-walk/ and/or check out Taste Hungary's other awesome tours: tastehungary.com

You can also find them on TripAdvisor (where they are rated as  the NUMBER ONE class & workshop in Budapest)! They are also on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Like what you've seen here? Make sure you pin it to your bucket-list!




And to keep up with our own adventures, be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Disclaimer: Travelling Weasels were invited as guests of Taste Hungary, but as always all opinions are our own. 

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