Supreme Pampering in Budapest – Gellert Spa and Bath

Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and Bath

The first time we went to Budapest was a frigid February weekend. Living in Germany, I tend to get the mid-winter blues and need to just get away. Even though, we weren’t going any place warmer, it was different and exciting. It was so cold! There seemed to be a permanent layer of frost on every exposed surface in the entire city. We spent a good portion of the weekend seeing the city from inside a warm trolley car or sitting in cafes warming up.  It was time to go back, this time in the summer, and take a dip in the famous spas of Budapest. We chose to go to the Gellert Spa and we were not disappointed.

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Gellert Baths, an age-old and elegant tradition dating back to the Ottomans. You'll love it!

Additional Reading: Where To Stay in Budapest

Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and Bath
One of the things we wanted to do is visit the famous baths. We entered the Széchenyi bathhouse to take a look around. Even after living in Japan where we took weekly baths wearing nothing but our birthday suits, we were still a bit out of our comfort zones. On our first trip, we peeked through the frosty windows promptly left. Between the extreme cold and the uncomfortableness of not being sure what Hungarian bath etiquette was, we couldn’t do it. We have regretted that decision ever since.

Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and Bath

Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and Bath

We made sure to include it on our trip when we were traveling east on a Eurail pass. We decided that no matter what else we did, we were going to do the baths. We were so determined that when booking our hotel, Jim found one that was a Budapest classic, the Danubius Hotel Gellért, which included a free entrance into the Gellert spa. Done deal!Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and Bath
As this was now August, taking baths sounded much more palatable, but it wouldn’t have mattered if it was raining, sleeting, earthquaking…we were getting in that bath! We loved our train trip up to Budapest, but riding a train all day, especially in places like Slovakia, it got a little gritty. I was certainly ready to get good and clean.
To be honest, we weren’t any more comfortable with the etiquette and surprisingly entering from our special hotel side, didn’t make it any easier. We found ourselves tentatively looking for the door, then we walked in a deserted hallway, side-stepping electricians working on lights, and finally made it to our concierge who promptly wrist-banded us and sent us on our way.

Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and Bath
We march up to the Gellert desk and they give us each a key for our lockers and towels.Guess what they don’t give you? And guess what we as last minute packers forgot? Swimsuits! Can you believe it? Going to the baths was one of our main goals on the trip, and yet we had no suits. According to the assistants, though, this was no problem. They had suits for rent. The problem is there are no rental suits that fit my….statuesque body. I borrowed one to use for bottoms and wore my shirt and bra on top. They were okay with that!  Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and Bath Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and BathThe history of Gellert spa in Budapest goes as far back as the 12th century. People seemed to always know about the caves with healing waters, but it wasn’t until 13th century that the first building was erected to put them to use, and the spa is mentioned in written history as far back as the 15th century. Known to calm the soul and have miraculous healing powers, there has never been a time when they weren’t popular among the elite. By the 19th century, foreigners were drawn to the city, just like us to experience the waters, and more buildings were added for the enjoyment of the guests. With construction due to the building of the Liberty bridge, a new design for Gellert Spa was accepted using royal Art Nouveau style. The interior is stunning, and it makes you feel like you are one of the Budapest elite.

Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and Bath
Our hotel deal was one day pass, so we started as early in the morning as we could. There were some regulars there, who come for their daily laps or a steam and a chat with their buddies, but tourist-wise it was slow in the morning hours. We explored, we swam, we marveled, and we enjoyed the wave pool which we were surprised to learn had been there since 1927! The waves were quite strong, too.

Supreme Pampering in Budapest Gellert Spa and Bath
A relaxing day, we loved the Gellert Spa. So, if you find yourself in Budapest, go to the baths!

Practical Information:

Book your next stay at the Danubius Hotel Gellert right here!

We trained into Budapest and took the subway right to the hotel. The metro stop is Szent Gellért, so it’s easy to remember. There is also a bus stop and boat ferry stop right there. It couldn’t be more convenient. The hotel also has parking if you’re arriving by car.
Remember, we stayed right there at the Gellert Hotel so we had free entry into the spa, but for more information about tickets, events, rules, or anything else I would go directly to the Gellert Spa website.

 

 

52 Comments

  1. Soooo….how were the baths?? I’d imagine your experience was magical. the baths are beautiful. I can’t believe you forgot your suits though, I suppose excitement des that to you.

  2. I’m excited to hear about the baths! I’m planning to go to to Budapest for the first time this summer and will be in need of some major relaxing! Think this will be there perfect treat 🙂 And the city looks so beautiful!

  3. This looks so grand! Are they more like pools than baths? (or is that what baths are like in this part of the world) And is the water warm/hot? So curious!

  4. The baths in Hungary are AMAZING. I’ve been to Szechenyi, but thanks for the look inside Gellert! (And having lived in Japan as well, nothing beats an onsen, yeah?)

    1. Kristina, Onsens, especially a rotenburo (outside), will forever be my favorites! However, Gellert was beautiful. I want to go to Szechenyi, too. They’re just addictive!

  5. This looks gorgeous!! Is the Gellert Hotel what they modeled the “Grand Budapest Hotel” after in the movie? Kind of looks similar on the outside! You would never believe you had any of the foibles you had getting into the baths just by looking at the pictures! hahah!

  6. Despite having been in Budapest any times, I’ve yet to try the famous baths. I’ve even stayed in Hotel gallery, but it was a business trip, so no time for swimming. Next time, I hope. 🙂

  7. Oh I would loveeeee to be there right now even if it is cold!! The photo’s are gorgeous! And thanks for including info about the history, I love knowing how old places are 🙂

  8. Oh, love the details on this place! It is great to learn about an option to the Széchenyi Baths. Looks like Budapest is good for bath hopping ;0) I always forget to pack a swimsuit. Not sure why.

  9. Great photos. We were there last summer and visited Gellert and enjoyed the indoor pools especially. It wasn’t our favorite thermal bath though, we find the layout a bit of a labyrinth and service wasn’t very friendly. Our favorite was actually Rudas, the old Turkish thermal baths. Szchenyi is great too, especially on a warm summer day as the highlight are the outdoor pools.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Frank, Well, we’ll have to try those next time. I do agree about the maze of hallways, but the staff was super-friendly to us, probably because I looked so pathetic without a bathing suit.

  10. What a gorgeous bath house!! I love all the vintage architecture. I was right there with you on the uncomfortableness. I just went to Hot Springs Arkansas and just couldn’t go to the bath house. Maybe next time. It sounds like a fantastic weekend trip. Your photos are beautiful!!

  11. What a gorgeous interior. When I was in Budapest it was plus 40+ Cel. In fact, I still remember that the city made the news one day for being the hottest city on the planet that particular day. Although I love visiting bath houses, the intense heat of the city deflated my interest big time. Next time I go back, for sure! Thanks for much for linking up this week. #TPThursday

  12. Lovely photos! We’ve been to the Széchenyi Baths twice and loved it…definitely a learning curve when you realize you need towels, suits and to rent a locker or cabin for your stuff! We’ll have to give Gellert’s a try some day when we’re back in Europe. 🙂

  13. We missed these on our recent trip. We had considered staying at the Gellert but decided on a hotel on the Pest side of the river near the ferries wheel. How was the hotel?

    1. The main plus of staying in the Gellert is the benefit of having access to the bath outside of normal public hours and being able to walk down in your robe and suit. The hotel itself is nice, but some of the rooms are definitely due for a remodel. Having said that, we would certainly stay there again, and since Budapest is one of our favorite Eastern European destinations, we probably will.

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