Bathing in magical, mineral-rich waters is no luxury to Hungarians; it has been their way of life for more than 2,000 years. Their spa culture dates back to the Romans, who believed that the Earth’s crust was thinner in Hungary so its waters would absorb beneficial minerals more effectively.
Whether that’s true or not, the country is certainly teeming with thermal water springs (according to National Geographic there are more than 1,300), with Budapest itself having over 100 – more than any other capital city. It is therefore no surprise that the city is known as the spa capital of the world.
You might have heard of or even visited Budapest’s famous public baths (notably Széchenyi and Gellért), but for a more elevated, private experience, you might want to visit the following spas, which offer unforgettable, exquisite treatments.
You’ve probably heard of Omorovicza’s award-winning skin care, which includes the patented Healing Concentrate co-created with the Hungarian Laboratory of Dermatology that discovered vitamin C. Its flagship spa slash store is situated on the famous Andrássy Avenue. The site has always been known for its curative properties; it was once a medieval Ottoman bath before the Omorovicza family built their thermal bath in the 1800s.
Fast forward to the early 2000s and Stephen and Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza decided to turn family history into a legacy. The resultant Institute is an oasis in the city, with reflective deep blue resins, natural limestone and copper details that celebrate the elemental power of the earth. Plus, its muted, earthy tones instantly relax your body.
THE TREATMENT TO TRY: Illuminating facial
This is the perfect prescription for skin that feels dull and looks a little lackluster. It begins with a neroli-scented double cleanse using the popular Thermal Cleansing Balm (made with calcium and magnesium-rich Hungarian Moor Mud), to deeply cleanse and remove any makeup and impurities from deep within pores. Then, a gentle copper and lactic acid peel sloughs away dead skin cells and refines the skin’s texture.
Next, skilled therapists apply the velvety Gold Hydralifting Mask, a beautiful rose-scented skin treatment that harnesses the power of colloidal gold to restore hydration and soothe any sensitivity (you’ll enjoy an arm and hand massage while this works into your skin). Finally, you’ll finish with a face massage using Hungarian techniques to stimulate cell renewal and collagen production while defining facial contours.
The spa at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace Hotel
This opulent venue is situated right on the Danube River and is a must-visit for those who have an appreciation for art, history and Budapest’s Golden Era glam. There are almost too many things to note about it, from the iconic iron peacock gates to a lobby adorned with over two million delicate mosaic tiles, to beautiful stained-glass windows and a contemporary brasserie, Kollázs.
However, most notable of all is its spa. Located on the top floor – a unique trait as spas are usually tucked away on the lower grounds – it has a light, airy and fresh feel. It features an infinity pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna and six treatment rooms, not to mention the changing rooms have everything you could need from Diptyque skin care to Marvis toothpaste.
THE TREATMENT TO TRY: Touch of the Earth
This full-body pamper uses authentic Hungarian ingredients to leave you relaxed, glowing and rejuvenated. It begins with a full-body scrub that utilizes native lavender, grapeseed oil and salt – a simple but effective blend to exfoliate dead skin cells.
Then, your body is enveloped in Hungarian Moor Mud taken from Lake Heviz. Rich in joint-soothing and skin-healing calcium and magnesium, it was originally discovered by Roman soldiers who realized the wounds of their injured horses healed at a significantly faster rate when journeying through the mud. Plus, both humid and fulvic acids detoxify and purify the skin for a deep cleanse. Finally, your therapist will provide a full-body massage to tackle any sore aches and pains.
The Swan Spa at Matild Palace
Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Matild Palace is an elegant hotel built during the Belle Époque era in 1902. The interiors exude regal luxury throughout – from the enchanting entrance adorned with carved owls and floral motifs to the ornate lobby and library finished with golden touches.
The Swan Spa follows suit with crisp marble walls and floors. It features a Hungarian-influenced bath experience alongside traditional thermal therapy and Hammam rituals. A sauna, salt and steam room and two treatment rooms further seal the deal. Post-treatment, it’s also worth visiting the Matild Cafe and Cabaret; dating back to 1901, it’s been running for almost four decades and was the first business to open in the city following the siege of Budapest.
THE TREATMENT TO TRY: L’Amia Natura organic & lifting aromatherapy facial
If you’re after a relaxing aromatherapy facial with great skin results, try this treatment created by Hungarian beautician Gaspar Viki. It begins with a deep, foaming cleanse using aroma waters and a unique brush massage, which prepares the skin to better absorb the active botanical ingredients in L’Amia Natura formulas.
Using massage techniques to lift, tone and contour the face, the treatment successfully targets signs of aging, from reducing wrinkles and age spots to firming sagging skin and restoring a youthful glow.
The Royal Spa at Corinthia Budapest
The Corinthia Budapest is an outstanding landmark that dates back to 1886. Its grandeur is immediately apparent from its pillar-lined creamy marble lobby and centerpiece staircase adorned with golden statues. The hotel itself is divided between two glass-covered atria that bring in natural light, creating an airy sense of space.
Hidden away near the majestic lobby is the magnificent spa. A 15-meter swimming pool is overlooked by a balcony lined with stained glass windows and ceilings, and multiple arches disguise tucked-away Jacuzzis and whirlpools. Head through its narrow corridors to find six treatment rooms, experience showers (the tropical rain shower is an absolute highlight), saunas, steam rooms and everything you need for a full spa day.
THE TREATMENT TO TRY: Espa body ritual
This body ritual is a head-to-toe pamper. It starts with a full-body exfoliation using a detoxifying blend of natural sea salts, grapefruit, cypress and eucalyptus oil to awaken the senses and aid lymphatic drainage. Then, your body is cocooned in a marine algae body wrap to intensely nourish and hydrate.
While the skin-smoothing mud soaks in, you’re treated to a gentle scalp massage that sweeps you into a state of mindfulness and Zen (it’s no surprise to the therapist if you start to doze off at this stage). Once you have taken a refreshing shower to remove the salts and mud, you’re enveloped in warming body oils for a bespoke aromatherapy massage that tackles joint pains and muscle aches and leave feeling refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated.