Luxury Spa Experience on a Budget – Hungary
No one should be denied a relaxing spa holiday after devoting so much of their time and energy to work and family, regardless of their bank balance. So we’d like to share some tried-and-tested destinations, which offer luxury spa experience on a budget. The first one on our list is undoubtedly Budapest, Hungary.
Possibly one of the most famous spa cities in Europe, if not the world, Budapest boasts a wide selection of luxury spa hotels and cosy public bath houses. And at the foot of Gellért Hill sits the most fabulous thermal bath of the city – The Gellért Bath. Opened in 1918 in an extravagant Art Nouveau building that’s as impressive today as it was almost a hundred years ago, Gellért Bath offers 12 beautifully decorated geothermal pools, both indoor and outdoor, of various sizes and temperatures. At just €18.50 for a day pass (lockable cabin included), you can sit around all day by the hot pools, leisurely getting in for a dip when the fancy takes you. Those exquisite mosaics, artistic statues, vaulted ceilings and ornate neoclassical decor are all there for your enjoyment without breaking the holiday budget. Towel hire is cheap, too, but you just have to carry some cash downstairs to the towel desk. (In fact, the ladies in the Spa were so nice that, when they found out we forgot to bring any cash, they gave us the towels for free!)
The Gellért Spa is scrupulously clean, but there’s nothing clinical about it: it’s pure indulgence and Old World charm from start to finish. The thermal pools and opulent atmosphere inside lend the spa an air of faded glory which is hard for the more modern, pristine spas elsewhere to emulate. In the summer, you can enjoy the outdoor pools, while wintertime allows visitors to stay snug and warm in the saunas and indoor bath. The mini waterfalls will give you effective shoulder massages, but if you and your travel mate want to feel more pampered, a 60min massage will cost less than £60 (25,000 HUF), for TWO! Compared to London, where a 45min massage for just one person can easily reach £80-100, this sounds too good a deal to miss.
Being in the heart of a busy Eastern Europe capital city, it takes just a few minutes to walk from the Gellért Spa to the restaurant areas. We loved the local garlic soup, paired with fluffy dough bread baked to an enticing golden brown colour, topped with sliced cheese and sour cream. All enjoyed in the warm breeze of early summer. A totally luxury (spa) experience, on a budget.
Shop our beach cover-ups for walking around the town after spa