Brody House is enviably situated on a grand square in the palace quarter on the Pest side of town, not far from the Danube; its neighbours are historic mansions and a former parliament building.
Touch down at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (still known locally by its former name, Ferihegy), which is a 20-minute drive from Brody House (www.bud.hu/english).
One of Budapest’s three international train stations, Keleti is two minutes from Brody House by car. The train journey from Berlin takes just under 12 hours, Prague’s seven hours away and Vienna can be reached in less than three.
There’s no parking at the hotel, so you’ll want to drop off your luggage and check in before leaving your car at the Pollack Mihaly carpark 50m away.
Worth getting out of bed for
Brody Studios, the hotel's unihibited and creative cousin, should be your first port of call. Once you’ve had your fill of admiring the art on the walls and loitering with the locals in the hotel's club rooms, talk to the staff: they’ll be thrilled to put together a customised itinerary for you, taking in their hand-picked Budapest highlights. A major attraction in the City of Spas is a trip to the historic Turkish baths, of which there are dozens; Brody House staff can arrange visits to several, including neo-Baroque Széchenyi on Állatkerti Körút . If you like shopping for art and antiques, nearby Falk Miksa Utca is the street to visit; head out alone or take a guided tour (in English): they’re available year round. Modern art gallery, shop, studio and café Printa on Rumbach Sebestyén Utca puts many of its limited-edition print designs onto clothes, cushions, aprons, etc, in their silkscreen studio; they’re also rumoured to serve Budapest’s best coffee. The somewhat surreal Memento Park on Balatoni Út is worth a visit by history buffs: the collection of preserved Communist statues that used to dot the Budapest landscape gives an insight into an era that’s gone but not forgotten.
Near the hotel, Mák Bistro on Vigyázó Ferenc Utca boasts high ceilings, an award-winning chef and first-class Hungarian cuisine. Just across the river on the Buda side of town, Pierrot on Fortuna Utca is housed in an historic 13th-century building and has a courtyard that’s delightful in summer; in colder weather, request a table by the bar. A few doors down, tuck in to typical Hungarian dishes in the cosy, relaxed 21. For cooking that’s even more traditional, visit Pest Buda on the same street, and imagine that you’re feasting on your Hungarian grandmother’s comfort food. In an industrial-style space, Borbíróság updates Hungarian classics (blackberry cream soup with mint parfait, salmon with elderflower and brownies with tokaj caviar) and has an excellent selection of native wines. And Mazel Tov's dining space is lofty and greenery-lined; their menu of Israeli fusion food is pretty impressive, too.
Tuck in to coffee and cake at Gerbeaud on Vörösmarty Tér; it’s one of the city’s best loved confectioners. Less than 10 minutes away by foot on Károlyi Mihály Utca is the grand dame of Budapest coffeehouses, Central, which serves elaborate sweet treats and elegantly presented savoury dishes, along with a hefty slice of Hungarian heritage. Also nearby is Gerlóczy Cafe and Restaurant on Gerlóczy Utca; it’s a traditional Hungarian bistro that makes a cosy, laid-back setting for lunch or a snack. Another Pest-side favourite is Tom George on Október 6, a nautical-themed restaurant with a lively atmosphere and an American-influenced Italian menu.
Szimpla Kert, formerly a factory, is the most famous of Budapest's signature 'ruin bars': a maze of shabbily cool rooms and bohemian gardens; live music, film screenings and other culttural happenings are often held here. Alternatively, Ellátó Kert at 48 Kazinczy Utca in the Jewish Quarter has a more alfresco feel, where revellers socialise under a colourful canvas. If you prefer your drinking establishments a little more polished, rooftop 360 Bar has a relaxed yet glamorous air and on-high views over the city. Boutiq’Bar on Paulay Ede Utca is a great place to start the night, with bona fide mixologists behind the bar.