Kempinski Hotel Corvinus, Budapest $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Overlooking Pest's most pleasant square, Erzsébet tér, the Corvinus is a significant stone in the Kempinski crown. The 366 rooms give a nod to historical styles (the TV cabinet resembles a 19th-century armoire), but while German businessmen, Austrian pilots, and Swiss doctors don't seem to mind all the black woods, the look could be a bit too heavy for American tastes. Request an upper-floor room on the north side of the building for views of St. Stephen's Basilica and grassy, tree-shaded Erzsébet tér, where office workers eat lunch, students flirt, and older folks chat on benches. András, the concierge, displays a never-say-die attitude when it comes to making reservations for guests at the city's most popular restaurants, such as Menza. The 30-euro breakfast usually isn't included in the room rate, but guests are invited to visit the spa's sauna, steam room, tepidarium, pool, and aromatherapy rooms free of charge, and there's live afternoon chamber music in the lobby, free broadband in the rooms, and Wi-Fi in the public areas. Special Internet offers that discount room rates by about $100 even in high season make a stay here something of a bargain among high-end rooms, at least occasionally.