Danubius Grand Hotel and Health Spa Resort, Budapest, Hungary
A turn-of-the-century grande dame renovated back in 2003, the Danubius holds court on Margaret Island in the middle of the Danube River, yet minutes by taxi from the center of Budapest. All rooms look onto the park allowing for a welcome ambiance of peace and quiet. A heated underground walkway leads from the hotel to the spa, which is bright, modern and home to indoor and outdoor pools, a therapeutic exercise thermal bath and hydro pool. (Budapest is famous for its medicinal-water reserves, with some 80 natural thermal springs emerging from its environs.) Alongside these healing waters is a host of massages, mud packs and facials, a Kneipp therapy center known for its naturopathic treatment principles and a medical center that offers cosmetic surgery, a laser eye clinic and a renowned dental clinic.
Signature Treatments: The mineral pools and salt cave, which is great for alleviating bronchial and sinus problems.
Who Goes: Middle-aged European matrons who know the resort’s value and young Western Europeans looking for a deal. (Hungary offers cosmetic and dental surgery much cheaper than London and Paris.)
Cost: A seven-night stay starts at $865 and includes breakfast, a medical consultation and various prescribed treatments. Margaret Island, Budapest; 361/889-4700; danubiushotels.com/margitsziget.