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We adjusted our trip last minute from new year’s in Cairo to Budapest, and as luck would have it, there were rooms available at the New York Palace for 35k a night. The hotel looks gorgeous online and is home to one of the most famous coffee houses in all of Budapest so even though we were disappointed to postpone our trip to Egypt, we were very excited to experience Budapest.
We arrived from Rome, hopped in a taxi, and arrived at the hotel around 11:30 or 12. Oddly the bellhops did not greet us upon arrival, and we lugged our own bags up to check-in. Not a big deal, but after experiencing the level of service at the St Regis Rome it was noticed. In fact, the porters were far more attentive for the rest of our stay so I attribute to a busy NYE check-in.
- When: December 2018
- Where: Budapest
- Loyalty: Marriott Rewards
- Status: Gold
- Rate: 35k first night, 190 Euro 2nd night
- Upgrade: None
Speaking of Check-in…
We queued in the Marriott Rewards Elite line and after the guests in front of us were serviced, continued to wait without greeting as the desk attendant shuffled paperwork. And waited. Finally, with quite an irritated tone he asked us how he could help. Without seeing our room, status, information, anything he told us our room wasn’t available and we would have to wait or store our bags. We knew we were early for check-in, but it was the overall demeanor and tone used that was inappropriate at best. After check-in and before we left to lug our bags to the porter stand, we inquired about New Year’s. Not his job as he pointed to the line at the concierge…who was a treat as well.
My girlfriend queued up as I excused myself to the bathroom. When I got back she had a look on her face that told it all. He was a jerk. When I began to ask him some questions he softened a bit, but was clearly irritated that we didn’t have plans arranged already. For someone whose job it is to make guests wants and needs their priority, he not only failed to deliver on that mission, but even managed to make us feel embarrassed and distressed as to our options.
Ultimately we picked a new year’s party that was at Spoon, a docked boat on the Danube. The hotel’s party at the New York Café was sold out. Fair enough. What wasn’t fair was the attitude given to us when we asked… it could be summed up as this: How stupid are you to not have hotel plans, stay at our hotel, as Elite members, and then inquire about attending the party hosted by the hotel you’re staying at.
We ventured out into town and when we got back, early afternoon, our room was ready. One thing that I’ve noticed when redeeming points at many Marriott’s ( especially those in partnership like this one ) is that they shaft you on the room. However, we were paying a cash rate of 190Eur for the second night…
We were put in the newer section of the hotel. While that sounds like it should be better, it isn’t. It’s the more communist feeling building vs the beauty exemplified by the older section of the hotel. Not a big deal, but it was just more reason to potentially reconsider staying at a different property on a return visit.
New York Café
Every time we left and returned to the hotel there was a line outside waiting to enjoy the Café. It’s clearly a huge draw for tourists and when you pull up a map, you’ll see the Café listed before the hotel.
The Spa is located near the entrance of the hotel in the basement. We didn’t utilize any of the facilities, and the pool was occupied when I popped my head in, but it’s a small single lane lap pool with mood lighting.
I’m not in love with the location and would much rather stay nearer the Danube or Parliament. It’s roughly a 15-20 minute walk to most tourist attractions, 45 minutes to the famous thermal baths, and 15 minutes to the train station.
The hotel exterior and lobby is gorgeous, and if you were to stay in the main building, I’m sure the rooms and environment feel quite different. Our stay was negatively impacted by the human element of the hotel. Maybe we could write it off to the stress of NYE, but the porters were lovely when trying to flag down taxis during a very overwhelming influx of guests needing help.
Personally, I’d choose to stay at the Intercontinental on a return visit. At just 30k a night, you’ll be under the 40k that is a perk of the IHG Premier card from Chase and the location/view couldn’t be better.
In fact, I’d say its location is only bested by the Four Seasons. The Intercontinental seems like a damn steal when you factor in IHG Premier cardholders get a 4th night free, and you can often buy points for as little as half a cent.
If you’re looking to keep in the Marriott family, the Ritz is in a far better location and just 15k more points a night.