Elvis Villa (Map pp54-5; (H) 312 1653; www.elvisvilla.ro; Str Avram lancu 5; dm €12) A backpacker favourite. Bucharest character Elvis (an Aussie) struts around his clean, funky hostel offering free laundry facilities, free Internet use and even free beer. It's a party place and the rooms are small so don't expect an early night. Discounts are available for long-term stays.

Youth Hostel Villa Helga (Map pp54-5, §610 2214; Str Salcämilor 2; dm €12) Centrally located, this place offers peace and quiet, a friendly atmosphere, and free laundry, breakfast and Internet access to guests. There are discounts for long-term stays.

Vila 11 (Map pp54-5; ® 0722 495 900/901; Vila [email protected]; Str Institutul Medico Militär 11; dm/d


Athénée Palace Hilton (Map p60; @ 303 3777; www.hilton.com; Athénée Palace, Str Episcopiei 1-3; s/d £310/340, tr €430-560; §£)) For glamour and style in sumptuous surroundings the Hilton surpasses them all. Yet it's the fusion of elegance with the building's fascinating and colourful history that makes this the top dog. The fairylight-lit terrace is the best in the city, while the brasserie is the meeting point for expats, tourists and business travellers. Indulge yourself and imagine the secret liaisons and political scandals that once simmered in these fabulous rooms.

Hanul lui Manuc (Manuc's Inn; Map p60; @ 313 1415; [email protected]; Str Francezà 62-64; s/d €20/35) An infamous hotel housed in one of Bucharest's oldest buildings. Originally a 19th-century merchants' inn (caravanserai), it has a colourful guest list from its past, including prostitutes, criminals, rogues and merchants. Legend has it that the original owner was poisoned by a fortune-teller who had to murder him to make his prophecy (that the inn-keeper would die) come true.

Sculpted wooden balconies line the terrace overlooking the courtyard. As a budget choice it can't be beaten, but (and this is a big but) we found the restaurant service to be appallingly slow and surly. Despite this it remains the best-known and most popular option for travellers seeking Bucharest's flamboyant past.

(12.50/27) Brand new, family-owned pensi-une near Garä de Nord where you'Ü find home comforts and a peaceful atmosphere. A gem.


Hotel Carpati (Map p60; @ 315 0140; www.carpatihotel .compace.ro; Str Matei Millo 16; s €11-16, d €29-40) A popular budget choice, so book in advance. It's central with an excellent free breakfast, gleaming reception and clean rooms.

Hotel Muntenia (Map p60; §§314 6010; mun [email protected]; Str Academiei 19-21; s/d/tr €16/25/33) fabulously ugly, cavernous hotel with large rooms and faintly seedy air. Its excellent value and location make it a wise yet kitsch choice - especially with the Soviet-style receptionists' hairdos!

Hotel Turist (Map pp54-5; @ 224 4460; [email protected] parch.ro; B-dul Poligrafiei 3-5; s €24-28, d €33-38) Those Soviet architects have done it again - tall, ugly and concrete. But with free breakfast, private bathroom and friendly staff it's great value. The downside of being north of the centre is offset by the pool next door and gym guests can pay to use.

Hotel Bucegi (Map pp54-5; @ 212 7154; Str Witing 2; s €16, d €22-31, tr €28) It's the best of the fairly bad bunch near Gará de Nord. Saying that, its 57 rooms have prevented many an exhausted backpacker from a less-pleasant night in this grotty part of Bucharest.

Travellers arriving into the city by train will notice other hotels around Garä de Nord, including the OK Hotel Marna (Map pp54-5), bargain-basement Hotel Cerna (Map pp54-5) and Hotel Astoria (Map pp54-5). Be warned, they're fine if you need a bed but the location is rundown and seedy.

Casa Albà (@230 5203; Aleea Privighetorilor 1-3; huts €12-15, tents €3-5; ® mid-Apr-Oct) You can pitch a tent or rent a two-bed wooden hut (câsute) in these well-maintained grounds. Take bus No 301 from Piata Romanâ to Çoseaua Bucureçti-Ploieçti; get off at the stop after Bâneasa airport and head east along Aleea Privighetorilor. Bus 783 to/ from Otopeni airport also stops here.

Snagov Lake has a complex that permits camping (see p78).



Hotel Opera (Map p60; (§312 4857; Str Ion Brez-oianu 37; s/d €125/143; IE) 0) This hotel has benefited from a total refit and has a classical, though slightly overdone, music theme. It's in a central location, and rooms have TV.

Hotel Duke (Map pp54-5; @ 212 5344; www .hotelduke.ro; B-dul Dacia 33; s/d €100/130) A gorgeous little hotel in a lovely area. It's friendly, and staff will pamper you and put a choccie on your pillow - it's that kind of place.

Hotel Banat (Map p60; D 313 1056; Piata CA Rosetti 5; s €65, d €65-75, t €105) A stunning haunted-house façade hides some good, clean rooms in the heart of the city.

Hotel Bulevard (Map p60; @315 3300; B-dul Re-gina Elisabeta 21; s/d/tr €66/79/96) A chintz-lover's paradise. It's a bit over-the-top glam but it's smack-bang in the centre and good value.

Hotel Capitol (Map p60; @315 8030; www.hotel capitol.ro; Calea Victoriei 29; s/d/tr €75/98/110) Its exterior has Parisian elegance by the bucketload, but inside we found a ratber seedy atmosphere, which may vanish with ongoing renovation.

Best Western Pare Hotel (Map pp54-5; g 224 2000; www.parch.ro; B-dul Poligrafiei 3-5; s/d €128/146; §£) ) A stunning transformation of a rather bleak Soviet-style skyscraper. Rooms have amazing views - just ignore its blue-and-yellow exterior. It has a pool and gym and is child-friendly.

Hotel Central (Map p60; g 315 5636; www.central hotel.ro; Str Ion Brezoianu 13; s/d/tr €80/90/120; §§) This place has had a makeover, adding some of that 'could be anywhere in the world' feeling to this nice but impersonal hotel.

Near Gara de Nord there's an Ibis Hotel (Map PP54-5; g 222 2722; Calea Grivitei 143; s & d €69).


You can stay in a luxury city pad that has the same laundry and cleaning services as hotels for upwards of €40 a night. Companies offering apartments include Shannon Apartments ( g 222 9473; [email protected]) and Bucharest Comfort Suites (Map p60; "S 310 2884; www.comfortsuites.ro; B-dul Nicolae Bâlcescu 16).

Top End

Hotel Inter-Continental (Map p60; g 310 2020; www .interconti.com; B-dul Nicolae Bâlcescu 2-4; s €294, d €320-420; SI ) This place towers above Piata Universitâtii, which was centre stage in the revolution. Inside it's a super-swanky, 22-floor, five-star wonder with a casino.

Marriott Grand Hotel (Map pp54-5; (1)403 1000; www.marriott.com; Calea 13 Septembrie 90; s €250, d €250-450; H3 ) This hotel sits in the shadow of the Palace of Parliament, itself a monumental edifice that lay unfinished by Ceauçescu's timely demise. Today, it's sheer luxury, with snooty staff and incredible five-star rooms.

Hotel Cap;a (Map p60; g 313 4038; Calea Victoriei 36; s/d €231/300) It has a bohemian history and a charming façade, with beautiful rooms right at the centre of the action.

Hotel Sofitel (Map pp54-5; g 224 3000; www .sofitel.ro; B-dul Expozitiei 2; s/d €225/240; IK) ) Adjoining the World Trade Centre, this place has 202 classy rooms with incredible views over the city and a pleasing, elegant air.

Crowne Plaza Bucharest (Map pp54-5; g 224 0034; www.crownplaza.com; B-dul Poligrafiei 1; s/d €195/ 211; d§) A sparkling haven of peace and luxury at the northern end of Bucharest. It boasts a leafy outdoor terrace bar which does great cocktails.

In the city centre there's also Hotel Lido (Map p60; g 3144930; www.lido.ro; B-dul General Magh-eru 5-7) and the landmark Hotel Continental (Map p60; g 313 4114; www.continentalhotels.ro; Calea Victoriei 56; s/d €164/186). Hotel Bucure§ti (Map p60; Calea Victoriei) was undergoing a multimillion euro face-lift at the time of writing and will emerge as a five-star hotel.

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