Budapest Marriott Hotel
Apaczai Csere Janos u. 4.
phone: 36 (1) 266 7000
We originally had reservations at the highly touted Art’otel, however, a friend (who recently lived in Budapest) implored us to change our plans and stay at the Budapest Marriott Hotel. We thought he was out of his mind, since the Marriott didn’t seem to possess any local charm or even a trace of ethnic interest. Our friend insisted that we book at room at the Marriott – "it’s near everything, and I’ve stayed at every decent hotel in Budapest. Believe me, the Marriott is the best place in Budapest," he said. Since he was so persistent, and since we had been having a difficult time finding a charming little Hungarian hotel that was also fairly luxurious (only the Gellert seemed an option, but the location and reports of shabby rooms deterred us), we looked up the Marriott online and half-heartedly booked a room. We canceled our reservation at Art’otel, which our friend swore had small rooms and a gloomy local ("it’s not what all the magazines say it is," he said). We were skeptical, since we always try to find non-chain hotels that reflect the local color of the country we are visiting. Staying at a Marriott while traveling abroad isn’t really our style, and we were sure the Marriott wasn’t going to be terribly "Hungarian."
So...we arrived at the Marriott on a misty morning and were treated royally by the friendly doormen from the moment we stepped out of the taxi. The desk staff was even more accommodating, setting us up in a room on the exclusive "Club Floor" and plying us with maps and information. Our room, located on the top floor (10) of the hotel, afforded spectacular views of Buda, Castle Hill, the Chain Bridge (which was about a block away), the Danube, Fisherman’s Bastion, Parliament – everything you come to Budapest to see. Buda Castle stared directly across the river at us. The view was unparalleled, and we later found the sunsets over Castle Hill to be worth coming back to the room for. Our large room itself was certainly comfortable, containing a king-sized bed; sitting area with two chairs, a sofa and small table; writing desk and armoire with TV (we got our first glimpse of Al Jazeera here). The bathroom was very clean and well equipped and had a shower with good water pressure. A hair dryer was provided, along with an iron and ironing board.
While comfortable, the room was pretty much standard Marriott – if you closed the curtains, you could have been in a nice room in the Cleveland Marriott for all you knew. However – the excellent yet non-intrusive service and the delicious food served in the complimentary Club (a perk of the floor we stayed on) was distinctly Hungarian. We had wonderful breakfasts and snacks in the 10th floor Club Room overlooking the Danube, which were included in our room rate. Excellent breads, jams and breakfast meats were served at breakfast, and a variety of pastries and cookies, nuts, soft drinks and other snacks were available til late-night for our convenience. We only went down to the hotel’s Duna Grill for a "full" breakfast one day during our 4-day stay – the Club breakfast was so good that we didn’t bother to get in the elevator. What the Marriott lacks in Hungarian "looks," it makes up in Hungarian "feel." There is no question that you are in Budapest while staying here, even if the room décor is strictly USA. The excellent staff were a delight – they were attentive while simultaneously staying out of your way (perfect!). And the lobby area was furnished with old maps of the city and heavy Hungarian tapestries and fabrics.
The Marriott’s location can’t be beat. Located right on the quay along the Danube, everything you want to see is a short walk or easy tram/subway ride. Vaci Utca is a block behind the hotel, so you have easy access to nightlife, restaurants and shopping without the noise and lights. The Chain Bridge is a very short walk along the quay, and even parliament is within do-able walking distance. Andrassy Ut is also within walking distance, and there is a convenient subway station within a few blocks.
Walking around the city, we noticed that the other hotels were either big "corporate" affairs or dingy eastern European cinder blocks – even the much lauded Kempinski Corvinus was a huge modern glass and steel place that offered no views and was located smack on noisy Vaci Utca. We were also relieved to pass the Art-otel and see that it didn’t appear to be all it was cracked up to be. Let’s just say that it looked nothing like the photos I had seen, and I would have been mighty upset if we had decided to stay there (especially at those prices!).
We have no regrets for taking our friends advice. Hopefully on our next visit, there will be a more "Hungarian" hotel that offers high level accommodations. Until then, we’ll stick with the Marriott.
Club Level Room Rate (double) 41918 ft per night