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Review: The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (2023) [Hungary]
|Centralized and lively location
|Noise insulation is poor
|Great service recovery
|Interior has a standard Ritz-Carlton feel without unique Budapest/Hungarian theme
|Lots of suites availability; upgrades are easier
|AAA Rate includes breakfast and cheaper than standard rates (occasionally offered often)
|No Extra Person Fee Charge
|Bed felt cloud-like
We originally planned to stay at the Budapest Marriott Hotel for our trip to Hungary’s capital, but then noticed that the Marriott has been fully booked just a few days before I arrived, and I could not bank the chance of a suite upgrade.
I then looked at The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest which isn’t too far off in price and location and have plenty of suites still available. I’ll explain why the price isn’t far off down later in the post. With that, I cancelled my Budapest Marriott booking and went with the Ritz instead. My gamble paid off at the end!
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest- Booking
I booked a 2-night stay with the AAA Bed & Breakfast rate for 335 EUR a night. What makes the AAA rate interesting for this hotel is how consistently available they are throughout the hotel’s calendar. The standard AAA rate is 320 EUR a night, but that is without breakfast. The next rate is the AAA Bed & Breakfast, which is just 15 EUR more per night. Regardless if you’re booking solo, or have 3 guests total, the price is still 335 EUR. Thus, you can get a lot more value with the AAA Breakfast rate if you’re traveling with others.
Without AAA, the hotel can cost around 400-500 EUR a night, so you can be saving hundreds just by being a AAA member. The stars just aligned with me and my parents’ situation, and since the Ritz-Carlton brand typically don’t offer free breakfast to elites, we’re getting a lot of value out of this cash booking. I have no clue why there’s a special AAA rate for this specific Ritz in Budapest, but we’d be happy to take advantage of it any day!
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest- Location
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest is situated on Fashion Street, a lively pedestrian pathway filled with trendy restaurants, clothing stores, and souvenir shops. In front of the hotel is a small park named Elizabeth Square that has a giant Ferris wheel. There’s also a Kempinski just as the next door neighbor. Access to the Danube is very easy and just minutes walk away, and while there’s no view of the Danube River from any room in the Ritz, the surroundings are full of life.
The closest metro station is Deak Ferenc, which is literally in front of the hotel. From there, make sure to buy 24/72-hour travelcard to get tons of value out of your public transportation needs during your time in Budapest. Bus stations are also across the street that can take you to Budapest’s major landmarks. The nearest stop for the airport shuttle (100E) is in the Deak Ferenc ter M on Karoly krt.
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest- Check-in
We arrived at the hotel at around 1 pm from the airport. The front desk offered us the choice of champagne or orange juice as we approached them. Understandably, we were told that our room was not ready yet, and that it’d be ready in about an hour. So, we decided to kill time by walking around the Fashion Street and look for lunch.
In the meantime, I was given a note card listing all the benefits I’d receive as a Titanium Elite. The cool additions were the glass sparkling wine and complimentary pressing that can be redeemed. I didn’t get to redeem them, but they’re appreciated additions nonetheless!
After lunch, we came back to the hotel and were told again that the room would be ready in 30 minutes. So we decided to just wait in the lobby. Soon after after half an hour, we were told it would be ready in another 15 minutes. It felt like a guessing game when my room would be ready by then.
Annoyed and disappointed, we decided to go out again and walked along the Danube to see the Hungarian Parliament Building. It was until around 5pm where our room was ready after checking that the number had appeared on the Marriott Bonvoy app. The silver lining was we got to check out a few of the city’s landmarks during our lull time!
When we arrived back to the hotel, the front desk apologized for the long wait and gave us a complimentary voucher for afternoon tea that we can redeem at any time at Kaffee Wien during our stay. All’s well that ends well, I suppose!
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest- Family Suite
We were assigned to Room 617, with the Family Suite located in the back corner of the building that overlooks Fashion Street. All guest rooms start from the 3rd floor above the noticeable Kupola Lounge glass roof. While we were on our way to the room, I thought that the atrium was gorgeous to walk through.
It definitely feels great to be assigned to the biggest room of the floor!
Family Suite Living Room
The suite is very spacious for the three of us, but it was really weird that the sofa bed wasn’t set up in the living room even though we had a late time to check-in, and the fact that I did request a Family Suite with 3 adults on the reservation.
I’m grateful for the upgrade, but it just wasn’t what I expected when my previous stay at Prague Marriott proactively set up the sofa bed before our arrival. I didn’t feel like calling housekeeping and get out of the hotel again, so I decided to just let it be. Luckily, the sofa is way bigger than me, so I had no problem getting comfortable after a request of an extra blanket.
Welcome gifts of fruits and Sauska (Hungarian) Brut were put on a dining table left to the living room sofa.
To the right of the dining table is the room’s bar that you can open and close! Inside you can find Nespresso machine, snacks, and cooler on the bottom shelf. You can even buy a Hungarian cook book and a Rubik’s Cube- a Hungarian invention. Very practical piece of furniture overall!
There are power outlets by the chair in the living room. One downside to the Family Suite is the lack of work desk, but regular rooms do have them.
Family Suite Bedroom
The bed felt really soft, and the softest I’ve felt from a Ritz-Carlton bed. At first it bothered me since I prefer firmer beds, but I adjusted quick and had good night sleep every night. Some may not like it, however. I found the big bedside glass lamps to be in the way from the power outlets, and had to be careful around it when charging my phone.
It was fun observing the crowd on the lively Fashion Street, and the lights at night made the view much better. Outside noises can be heard, however even with all the windows closed.
Family Suite Bathroom
The Family Suite comes with a full and a half bathroom, with the half bathroom being by the room’s main entrance.
Amenities like dental and shaving kits are found in the master bathroom.
I didn’t get a chance to use the bathtub, but bath salts are provided and it looked pretty standard.
The bathrobe can be handy if you plan to go to nearby bathhouses that Budapest is known for since you’re responsible for bringing your own swimsuits and towels. Otherwise, you may need to rent them at a cost from the bathhouses. The bathhouse I went to was Rudas Bathhouse which was around 15 minutes walk from the hotel just across the Elizabeth Bridge, and I highly recommend it for the panoramic rooftop pool.
Shower room was quite small, but the shower pressure was good.
Ritz-Carlton properties now have switched to Diptyque amenities from Asprey. Even though I do like the Diptyque amenties from Qatar Airways, I don’t really like the Philosykos lineup used at Ritz-Carlton currently and preferred the former Asprey Purple Water.
There’s no sign anywhere that warns you about being charged if you’d take them outside of the room, but I suspect you’d be after check-out if you decide to do so since the size is much larger than normal toiletries that you can take with you.
I loved the suite overall, although I wished it came with a desk. The lighter color palette makes the room not feel stuffy.
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest- Breakfast
The breakfast is located at the Kapula Lounge and the Ottimo Restaurant connected to it. For both days, we only managed to sit in the Ottimo, and it appeared that you’d need a reservation to sit at the Kapula Lounge since space is limited.
The breakfast buffet spread is spread across the two settings, with the cold food, cereal, and pastries section set on the Kapula Lounge.
Hot food items and fruit juices are to be found in Ottimo Restaurant.
I really enjoyed how the sausage are made. They’re coarsely grounded compared to the smooth breakfast sausages I’m used to. You can feel the meat “bits” from each chew.
On top of the buffet, you can order one a la carte dish and coffee.
For the first day, I chose langos with poached eggs on top to mimic an eggs benedict. They tasted good, but they’re very hard to eat since the knife just had a hard time cutting through the fried breads. I felt like I’d get carpal tunnels trying to cut them.
For the coffee, I ordered a cappuccino with hints of tiramisu and ordered it again the next morning.
After the langos, I ordered waffles the next day. So sweet and crunchy!
My dad was curious about the Asian Broth, so he gave that a try. It was okay, but definitely would’ve been better with egg noodles instead of pasta.
Overall, the breakfast was quite enjoyable, and for the extra price we paid for the 3 of us (15 EUR/night total) was a steal!
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest- Kaffee Wien
We decided to redeem the afternoon tea voucher we got from the delayed check-in during the second day of our time in Budapest for a short break before resuming our exploration of the city. Kaffee Wien is just at the opposite side of the lobby, and is the hotel’s place for light bites and drinks.
They’re all quite tasty, and my favorite out of what we all ordered was the White Forest Cake. The tea just hits the spot in a cold and windy day.
Kaffee Wien Menu
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest- Pool, Jacuzzi, & Spa
The pool is located at the 8th floor. It’s small, but I was glad to have all of them to myself at one night. You’d also be able to see a reflection of yourself at night through the skylight.
There’s also a jacuzzi with buttons to control the jets. It was a delight to enjoy them alone in peace.
A shower by the pool is there for a quick rinse before or after pool use.
Spa treatment can be booked by reserving an appointment at the spa receptionist just before entering the pool. Since the nearby bathhouses provide massages, I decided to do them there for much cheaper as well. But, if you’re feeling lazy and still interested, some of the featured massages prices are listed on the hotel’s site.
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest- Fitness Center
Just underneath the pool is the fitness center. It’s equipped with weight and cardio machines, yoga equipment, and dumbbells.
The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest- Club Lounge
I did not purchase Club Lounge access, but here are a few details about it shown in front of the entrance at the 8th floor. With this hotel’s Club Lounge, breakfast is served at the Ottimo Restaurant just like what we had instead of it being inside the lounge.
My stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest was pretty good. The location is superb with metro and bus stations just footsteps away. The surroundings are also pleasant to just walk around on with Fashion Street filled with trendy shops and restaurants and the Danube being just minutes away for spectacular river walk experiences.
The hotel’s hard product felt approachable with lighter color palettes used in the rooms that lessened the stuffy feeling Ritz-Carlton typically gives with overbearing wood brown colors.
Service felt a notch below of what I’d expect from a Ritz-Carlton with the late check-in and not having our sofa bed set up. But, recovery attempts were made and elite treatment on this hotel is quite good especially with the generous upgrade that Ritz typically don’t give. It may just be a day off for them, which we all have!
I also can’t deny the value of the AAA rates that this hotel somehow offer consistently. The rates, especially the AAA Breakfast, makes the Ritz a very competitive choice within the Marriott Bonvoy umbrella, even making it cheaper than the Budapest Marriott at times. I’d definitely return to this hotel as long as the AAA rate is alive and kicking.