Danubius Hotel Astoria, Budapest $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
In a city that's heating up in terms of hotel rates, the 234-room Astoria is a thrill for young couples from America and Britain longing for inexpensive lodgings in the heart of Pest. Dating back to 1914 and the return of Hungarian émigré Mihály Gellér, a former employee of the old Waldorf Astoria (thus the name), the Danubius Hotel Astoria is such a landmark that it has its own metro station. In the public spaces, heavy Greek-style columns and lots of marble blend with Art Nouveau vintage stained-glass windows to create a slightly dinged-up feast for the senses. Discreet nooks throughout the building suggest clandestine meetings of the le Carré variety, and the budget-rate rooms feel like an upstairs bedroom in a well-cared-for country house. Much like its sister hotel Gellért, the Astoria has loads of run-down Old World charm, but a top-to-bottom reconstruction in 2006 spruced up the carved moldings and wrought-iron banisters and brought in elegant period wallpapers and a new coat of paint—everything but the facade is now in better shape. Book a room overlooking tiny Magyar utca to avoid the serious traffic noise of the main roads of Múzeum or Kossuth. A buffet breakfast in the large Astoria restaurant is included.
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