Similarly to restaurants, not all Balaton hotels close as soon as the first autumn chill arrives. You can find hotels everywhere around the Lake, where the jacuzzi bubbles all year round and the greatest cold does not freezes the 'OPEN' sign off the door. We choose 9 of the hotels that joined the Nyitott Balaton campaign, which also stay open for the winter. But which is the best? Cast your vote!
Only a select circle can boast of owning their own Balaton island. The lakeside Hotel Helikon in Keszthely is one of lucky, although this can contribute to experience mostly in the summer. The lakeview balconies and the private swimming pool, however, are fun in the winter as well. The 3-star hotel is not primarily for those seeking luxury, but it's an ideal choice, for example, for those hiking or cycling. The Bike Ring passes right beside the building, and the buffet breakfast recharges riders sufficiently for the next stage.
Cím: 8360 Keszthely, Balaton-part 5.
Update: Closed until spring
The most beautiful feature of the south shore is the view of the north shore - the Ramada Hotel in Balatonalmádi, however, offers a view of both shores, also in winter. The multiple-floor hotel towering over Almádi is the child of the socialist era, but it underwent a thorough facelift a few years ago. Ramada is about size, so the swimming pool is huge, and the gym isn't cabin-sized either. The hotel boasts of a private beach, not to mention the rentable rooftop event venue, the panoramic Sky Lounge, and the hotel's very own yacht that you can also rent out.
Hunguest Hotel Bál Resort****
Address: 8220 Balatonalmádi, 14 Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Street
As opposes to the large hotels, the Bonvino in Badacsony attracts by its relatively small size. Its 4 stars come with a more informal and intimate ambiance than large hotels can offer; hotel guests never feel lost among elevators, corridors and numbered buildings here. The minimalist modern design pimped with wine-themed decoration is anything but cold. Bonvino advertises as a wine hotel, and this goes deeper than the abundance of wine bottles used as decoration. It has its own wine bar and its recommended programmes include various wine tastings and wine tours, not to mention that the majority of the best Badacsony wineries are found a mere few minutes' walk from here.
The restaurant is usually the weakest link in what hotels offer, but this clearly is not the case with the Zenit Hotel. Zenit, standing on the top of the hill above Vonyarcvashegy, works hand-in-hand with the Bock Bistro Balaton. The attractions of the place are complete with the interactive wine museum in the Festetics Cellar. The Zenit Hotel has nothing to be ashamed of either way. Its wellness pool is suitable also for swimming, it has a salt room, and the ambience and quality of the rooms leave nothing to be desired. It is ideal for weddings, but we also met people who held their divorce here.
The Két Korona Hotel on the high shore of Szárszó builds on conference and wellness tourism, offering ideal circumstances for both. There are six rooms and an event planner dedicated to conferences, and the wellness department can easily hold a conference's fill of people. The hotel was recently expanded and transformed, so it is definitely not for the nostalgic. From the balconies of superior rooms, you have a nice view of the Lake, and those who want more can still go for the panoramic top-floor suite.
Két Korona Conference & Wellness Hotel
Address: 8624 Balatonszárszó, 20 Csárda Street
A 3-star hotel similar to Hotel Helikon, with an old and a new wing, 3 minutes away from the Balatonlelle boat stop. Standard and premium rooms, the latter with balcony. Modest and not shabby 1970ies retro ambiance, a huge terrace by the entrance and a noteworthy newspaper selection. We loved Lidó for being unpretentious: it is a proper accommodation, nothing more and nothing less.
Address: 8638 Balatonlelle, Móló sétány 2.
Hotel Residence Balaton is a new wave establishment on the Silver Beach of Siófok. The brother of Mátraháza's Ózon Residence comes with buffet table and a'la carte in the restaurant, bedding folded to a heart-shape in the rooms, and a private beach only 100 metres away. The wellness department designed for relaxation has its own bar. The Residence is one of the most popular 4-star hotels of Lake Balaton, highly recommended by Tripadvisor reviews as well.
How could you upcycle an old, dilapidated mill building? You could, for example, transform it into a stylish countryside boutique hotel with a few rooms, romantic ambience and a terrace with plenty of plants. Meet Villa Fiore, the former Gubacsi Mill in Lesencetomaj, on the banks of the Lesence Creek. All 8 rooms are furnished differently, dominated by the romantic-rustic style. The windows look at the Szent Görgy Hill. The cuisine is typical of the Balaton Uplands with a few flavours from other European locations with a Mediterranean vibe thrown in.
The risk of not finding a free room is minimal here: Hotel Azúr is the largest 4-star by Lake Balaton with 3 buildings, 222 rooms, a bowling alley and a wellness department the size of the water park in a small town. The hotel by the Siófok boat stop has its private beach with sizeable park. It has three restaurants and bars, plus a grill terrace in the summer. (Hotel Azúr is also displayed on the cover photo above.)
Hotel Azúr**** Premium
Address: 8600 Siófok, 2/c Erkel Ferenc Street