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Continental Hotel Zara, Budapest 

42–44 Dohány Utca
Hungary 1074
Tel: 36 1 815 1070
view web site ›'s insider take:

Located just a few blocks from Budapest's massive Great Synagogue in Pest, this oversize hotel opened its 272 rooms and suites in mid 2010, occupying a landmark Art Nouveau building dating from 1897 that was formerly the Hungária Spa and Continental Hotel. Though today's basic rooms are small (around 215 square feet, including the bathroom and entryway), they're decorated with embroidered raw silk and other rich fabrics, Moorish light fixtures, and bathroom tile work that seems to echo the Oriental decorations of the Great Synagogue (a remarkable Moorish Revival building from 1859). Rooms also include modern touches like complimentary Wi-Fi and LCD TVs. Despite the age of the building and business-first decor, some of the public spaces can feel slightly anonymous and cold. But stop by the charming, almost hidden mezzanine cocktail bar above the lobby for a final shot of Zwack Unicum, the local liqueur, and after hearing a few Liszt sonatas banged out on the lobby grand, you'll feel like you're getting a great price on the Hungarian high life.—Evan Rail

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