Meet Me at the Ritz | A weekend at the Ritz-Carlton Budapest

The Ritz-Carlton is probably one of the most lavish and exclusive hotel brands in the world, the epitome of luxury and impeccable service. César Ritz, the founder of the brand, has often been described as the ‘king of hotels’ and his legacy keeps on staying alive across the 130 hotels worldwide, some of which are of course on my hotel bucket list.

My first stay at the Ritz was part of a weekend away with my mum a few months ago and I couldn’t have chosen a better hotel to kick off our monthly hotel review section. Stay tuned for more to come.

Majestic and classy, the Ritz-Carlton Budapest has possibly the best location in town, behind the city’s vibrant fashion street – Deák Ferenc utca – and only five minutes’ walk from the breathtaking view over Buda. And if you happen to board a last minute flight for a festive weekend escape during winter, the hotel is surrounded by Christmas markets, dazzling lights and by an intense aroma of hot mulled wine and warming gulyás.

THE DESIGN

It was love at first sight! The perfect balance between sophisticated elegance and minimal decor, with a very subtle colour scheme spreading throughout the entire hotel. The lobby, one of my favourite areas, welcomes you with an asymmetrical lamp, fresh flowers (when I was there they were freesias), high-end sofas and a little Hungarian corner, where you can even spot the world’s best selling toy, namely the Rubik’s Cube.

The entrance takes you straight to the breakfast area – the Kupola lounge – with its walls covered with old pictures of a pre-war Budapest and a magnificent glass cupola, which was probably my most photographed object during my stay.

Details of the lobby and of the interior decor of the hotel

The mesmerizing cupola

I stayed in a Superior Twin room and I was pleasantly surprised by its size, approximately 35m² (the average in some 5* luxury hotels in Europe is 25m², not to mention in Dubai, where even the first room category is around 50m² … but that’s another world). The room comes with everything that you would expect from a hotel like the Ritz: pillow menu, Nespresso machine and selection of teas, complimentary bottles of water refilled every day and premium bathroom amenities courtesy of the Asprey of London.

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Inside the Superior Twin room

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Bathroom details

The bed was heavenly comfortable and I really enjoyed the little touches here and there, that made the room feel like a home away from home. If I have to be incredibly picky, I would say that I wish more hotels would ditch the carpet and turn to a much more practical and elegant wooden floor, but that’s just my very humble opinion.

THE FOODIE CORNER

Nothing can beat a hotel’s breakfast and that’s what I always look forward to the most, even more than jumping on those amazingly comfy beds. The Ritz-Carlton Budapest serves breakfast at the Kupola lounge, with a selection of artisan bread, Hungarian cheeses, fresh seasonal fruits, smoked salmon and the most delicious little pastries, which I devoured every day, especially the lemon and poppy seed one. The food choice is pretty standard and it’s quite similar to what you would usually expect from a hotel of that kind, but somehow I wasn’t much impressed. Everything was excellent and tasteful, but there was no omg factor.

And for all eggs lover out there, fear not, there is a separate à la carte menu that will most likely satisfy all your morning cravings.

The hotel’s only restaurant – the Déak St. Kitchen – offers traditional Hungarian dishes with a modern twist in a fine dining atmosphere, yet very cozy and edgy. The menu is a little bit limited and vegetarians / vegans would struggle to find something to eat, aside from some salad based dishes, but the food is exceptional and you can see how much work has been put into sourcing organic and authentic ingredients.

When I went for dinner I tried a variety of regional farm cheeses and charcuterie as a starter, followed by paprikás, a traditional meat based Hungarian dish served with home made spätzle. My choice of wine was a local red from the Szekszárd area, the Bodri Kadarka, and as an additional starter the waiter brought us freshly baked brioche with herb butter, courtesy of the chef.

THE HOSPITALITY

Everything was up to the Ritz standards, from the smooth and easy check-in and check-out, to the service at the restaurant, which despite being quite slow due to a sudden issue in the kitchen, made their best to make us comfortable and forget about the 40 minutes waiting time (disclaimer: that was really a one off and in the end we got complimentary coffee and tea and a final 20% off discount). Even when I went to the spa to try the swimming pool, the receptionist didn’t speak English, but he was so lovely and helpful that we sorted out everything with some good old hand gestures.

PERFECT FOR …

… couples who travel to Budapest for a city break getaway and want to stay in the city centre and enjoy a luxurious, yet not too pretentious hospitality. Ideal for single travellers, as well.

BASIC INFO

℘ The Ritz-Carlton Budapest
℘ Erzsébet tér 9-10, 1051 Budapest, Hungary
℘ +36 1 4295500
℘ reservation.budapest@ritzcarlton.com
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/europe/budapest

Giulia

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