Much like the city it is located in, the Continental Hotel Zara is a delightful mix of grand decadence, subtle elegance and vibrant character. My stay here was one of the highlights of my trip to Budapest and so has moved me to pay tribute to it!
If you weave down a maze of quiet streets lined with historic buildings still reaching with pride to the skies, having aged gracefully from opulant to shabby-but-interesting, you will find the giant iron revolving doors of the Continental Hotel Zara. A mere ten minutes from the heart of Budapest.
The entrance hall is made of marble in warm shades of red, pinks and oranges with lofty ceilings decorated with Renaissance style frescoes and frieze detailing. There is a galleria bar overlooking this entrance that is delightful. A beautiful water feature and sculpture also adorn the entrance hall, giving it a modern edge.
I was staying in an executive room which was a bit on the small side, but the decor was composed of warm earthy browns brightened by pops of colour.
The bedroom size was more than compensated for though by the hotel’s (literal) crowning glory – the two rooftop swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor. Given the excruciating heat in summertime Hungary, relaxing in the outdoor pool at sunset, high amonfst Budapest’s skyline is one of the best ways to recover.
The hotel also has a spa on the second floor, perfect too for a little R&R. It’s not a big one, there is only one treatment room, but I got a very soothing aromatherapy massage.
And if you couldn’t face the heat, you could rent a dvd player for your room and stay indoors.
I didn’t get the chance to sample the bar or restaurant for any other meals but breakfast, however the decor had the same sophistication of the rest of the hotel. Breakfast was yummy too – they do fantastic bacon and pancakes and had a wide range of fruit on offer. The scrambled eggs were a bit lacklustre though.
As a 4* hotel it could have run the risk of having snooty staff, but everyone was friendly and helpful giving the hotel warmth and adding tomy lovely stay.
I cannot recommend this hotel enough and think it is a travesty that it’s not 5* although I suppose the room size of the lower grade rooms lets it down. If you are in Budapest though, do stay here if you want to experience pleasant luxury near the heart of Hungary’s exciting capital.