If you’re a regular reader, then you’ll know I recently returned from a trip that included a brief stay in Budapest. It was my first time in the city and in order to see it properly, I knew location was key, which is why I decided to stay at the beautiful Four Seasons Budapest for our pre-Viking River Cruise visit. Also known as the Gresham Palace, this elegant hotel has it all from a great location to excellent service. I’m a big fan of Four Seasons and I can’t think of a single occasion when my experience with them was anything less than exceptional, and Budapest was no exception. With that in mind I wanted to share with you what the hotel looks like, what it’s like to stay there and some of my favorite features of this classic property.
Location and Style
I’ve written many times that location for me is the most important aspect to selecting a hotel. Time is too short to waste commuting in and out of the central business district and a well-located hotel makes a big difference in the enjoyment of a trip. The Four Seasons Budapest honestly has one of the best spots in town. Right on the Danube, just across from the Chain Bridge, the hotel is within easy walking distance to the central downtown core and a lot of the sites visitors may want to visit. It’s also close to tram and metro lines, which makes getting around town easy.
I love historic hotels and the Four Seasons Budapest oozes elegance and Old World charm thanks in large part to the period building it calls home. The Gresham Palace has had a very eclectic history from serving as the headquarters for a life insurance company to housing a Chinese food restaurant. The current owners rescued this Art Nouveau building from the rubble and returned it back to the beauty that it once was. Walking into the lobby, the eye is immediately drawn up to the massive glass dome that encapsulates the center of the hotel, set off by a dazzling and massive chandelier that echoes the spirit of Chihuly. No detail is left unattended to.
Service and Comfort
That elegance follows the guest to each room, with high ceilings, impossibly comfortable beds and all of the amenities a fine luxury hotel should have. I may also be slightly (very) addicted to L’Occitane products and was thrilled to see that they still use them – not all Four Seasons hotels do. For me though, the view we enjoyed from our room overlooking the beautiful Danube with the Buda skyline in full view was the highlight. There’s nothing like looking out across the river as the sun sets, creating an almost mystical look to the river.
Naturally the service at the Four Seasons Budapest was excellent, from our car service that picked us up at the airport to check in and even breakfast in the morning. Everything was done expertly and without any visible flaws. I’ve long said that the real difference between luxury hotels and ones that are just nice is the service, and Four Seasons proves that point again and again.
You will be shocked to learn that I loved my short, one-night stay at the Four Seasons Budapest. For a quick visit it was the perfect choice from the ideal location to an extremely comfortable night’s rest. It was Christmastime so we were treated to something a little extra special – a Christmas market right in the hotel itself. 2014 was the first year they’ve tried something like this, but I hope it becomes a new tradition for the hotel – it added a special holiday feeling that was nice to experience. Whether you’re in town to board a cruise like we did or just to spend a few days playing tourist, the Four Seasons Budapest really is the best option in town.
Have you stayed at a Four Seasons hotel in the past? What do you like most about them?