October 07, 2009

Hungary’s capital is slowly swapping its Soviet grit for some European brio. On our radar: the 74-room, retro-mod Soho Boutique Hotel (doubles from $130), decorated with Pop art murals; the edgy Retrock boutique, where local designers display their wares; and the Jewish-Hungarian Fülemüle Étterem (dinner for two $96), which serves regional soul food (rich goose cassoulet) accompanied by crisp Hungarian whites. And don’t miss the classic Gellért Baths & Spa, with three outdoor pools and eight indoor thermal baths.

Gellért Baths

The classic bath house has three outdoor pools and eight indoor thermal baths.

Soho Boutique Hotel

Opened in 2008, this boutique hotel is located in one of the most diverse and engaging neighborhoods in Budapest. Famed shopping mecca Vaci Street is just steps away, and the Danube, the city's theater district, as well as dozens of historical attractions, are also nearby. The Soho Boutique Hotel embraces a retro-mod sensibility in its design concept. Pop-art murals adorn the walls in the colorful lobby, which is enlivened by techno music. The Soho's 74 rooms and suites have dark-wood furnishings and cutting-edge fixtures that look to be straight out of an Ikea catalog.

Retrock

Wildly popular with the college crowd, this avant-garde clothier in downtown Pest majors in originality. Retrock stocks experimental clothing by cutting-edge Hungarian designers, more specifically, unique men's and women's pieces blending the vintage with the new. The colorful shop's staff consists mostly of a youthful group of fashionistas that are well versed Hungarian couture. The boutique also carries a collection of movie posters, comic books, and nostalgia-inducing accessories, along with contemporary and period fashions by a variety of international designers.

Fulemule Etterem

The Jewish-Hungarian restaurant serves regional soul food (rich goose cassoulet) accompanied by crisp Hungarian whites.

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