The leafy Margaret Island in the middle of the Danube is popular with joggers and picnickers. The island itself is close to the centre; it can be accessed from Margaret Bridge at the southern tip (on foot or by bus 26) and from Árpád Bridge at the northern tip (by car or trams 1 and 1A).
The rooms are compact and comfortable; in style terms, they’re unlikely to set the world on fire, but they do have a full set of amenities (including hairdryer, air-conditioning and tea-making facilities). There are 267 rooms in the Health Spa Resort, all with balconies, and guests in executive rooms can take breakfast in the executive lounge (with its outer terrace) on the ninth floor; the 174 rooms in the Grand are more classical in design, although not all have balconies.
The Health Spa Resort has a spacious lobby with a rather dated feel to it; the Grand has the history, and the public areas reflect that - they are decidedly more elegant.
Eating and drinking
Each of the hotels has a bar and restaurant, and guests are free to make use of either. I prefer the Széchenyi Restaurant in the Grand, which has a graceful air and live gypsy music on most evenings. The menus feature Hungarian classics and international dishes, and offer a range of healthy selections (either à la carte or from the buffet). Both hotels have pleasant outdoor terraces.
Where to start? The price of the room gives you access to the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the large fitness room, the thermal baths, the steam bath, the sauna and the Jacuzzi. The thermal water is medically registered, and - as well as aiding relaxation - is said to alleviate complaints including rheumatism and osteoarthritis. There’s a medical section where diagnoses can be made and programmes tailored, and treatments available range from relaxing massages and mud packs to hydrotherapy and salt baths.
The service is good; I found the waiters in the Széchenyi Restaurant were attentive and polite.
Who stays there
Tourists after some pampering, patients looking to alleviate specific medical complaints, and business and conference guests.
- Business travellers
- Mature travellers
- Sporty types
- Great views / scenery
- Live entertainment
- Chilling out
- Nature / wildlife
Pros & Cons
- A vast range of spa treatments
- Pleasant location
- Slightly drab in style