Ritz-Carlton, Budapest

The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest hotel is located in the heart of the bustling 5th district overlooking Erzsebet Square with a view of St. Stephen's Basilica and walking distance to many of the city's historic sites as well as restaurants, cafes, boutiques and galleries.

In a city known for architecture ranging from Roman and Gothic to Baroque and Art Nouveau, the 20-century facade of the hotel is a modern standout. Its exterior reminded me of a stately jewel box with its clean lines and ornate marble statues original to the building erected in 1914 as a headquarters for an Italian insurance company. 

Inside, the hotel is both modern and classic. The design concept was inspired by the nearby Danube river in both color and movement.  Shades of blues and greys create an elegant tone and the curves and swirls incorporated into the design of furniture, patterns on the carpet and custom lighting give the interiors a fresh and contemporary look.

The hotel features 170 rooms and 30 luxury suites.  Ours was a deluxe room on the sixth floor overlooking the park with a view of St. Stephen's Basilica. It was a comfortable-sized room with a dreamy, king-sized feather bed dressed in luxury linens, a writing desk and sitting area with sofa. The large marble bathroom had a walk-in shower and separate tub and was stocked with bath amenities from the London luxury label, Asprey.

I like to hit the gym when I travel to help with jet lag and the fitness center at the Ritz-Carlton was efficiently laid out with treadmills, elliptical and recumbent bike machines as well as a mirrored area with benches and free weights.  It also had yoga mats, bottled water, towels and fresh fruit. The adjacent spa was still under construction but is scheduled to open in January 2017.  The plans for the spa area call for a thermal bath, swimming pool, sauna, relaxing areas and treatment rooms.

The hotel has two restaurants - Deak Street Kitchen (DKS) and the Kupola Bar and Lounge.  The DSK appears to be a standalone restaurant with its own terrace and entrance off of Fashion Street but it can also be accessed from the hotel lounge.  It's a clever design feature which creates the illusion of "dining out" even if you're staying at the hotel.  The restaurant serves Hungarian dishes as well grilled meats, salads, burgers and sandwiches.  It is quite popular with locals and was very busy the day we had lunch during the first weekend of the Christmas Market which was staged just outside the restaurant. Daily breakfast was included in our reservation and was served in the Kupola Lounge. We had our choice of the extensive buffet or ordering off the menu or both.  

The service throughout our stay was impeccable from check-in and the plate of cookies delivered to our room upon arrival to the attentive concierge team who assisted us with restaurant and transportation reservations. The doormen were helpful and engaging and I felt bad every time I used the revolving door forgetting they were standing by poised to open the swinging door for us. And it was nice to return to the Kupola Bar on our second night and have the hostess and bartender greet us by name.

 Larry squeezing in a quick nap on the sofa.  

Larry squeezing in a quick nap on the sofa.  

The location was perfect as we like to explore on foot and almost everything we wanted to see was within walking distance.  As much as we tried to see everything beautiful Budapest has to offer we still didn't see enough of it. We plan to visit again and would definitely stay at the Ritz-Carlton.