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Ritz Carlton Budapest, a most gracious experience (REVIEW)

Housed within a protected historic building overlooking Elizabeth Square, with views over St Stephens Basilica, The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest boasts an ideal location in the heart of the city, steps from most attractions and 8 minutes walk to the Danube. Constructed in 1914 as the headquarters for an Italian insurance company, the building has seen many incarnations. Recently, it has undergone a multi-million dollar complete transformation, opening in April 2016 as The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest.

While many of the building’s original architectural details have been retained, including elegant statues on the exterior walls, the interior design sensibly blends contemporary luxury with Art Deco, with many elements inspired by the blue whirling waters of Danube River. The color palette , the lighting and the mix of lacquered wood, marble and steel – make up for a sleek design feel throughout the entire hotel. The quality of furnishings and finishes is impeccable, with an exceptional attention to details not only throughout the accommodations but also public spaces.

The original marble lobby features a series of interlinked seating areas, at the heart of which is one of the highlights of the hotel, the Kupola Lounge. This grand, high-ceiling room is dominated by a spectacular stained glass dome and a magnificent crystal chandelier. Presently, the Kupola Lounge serves buffet breakfast and light lunch but I have learned the hotel also has plans to introduce afternoon tea. There is also a curiosities cabinet placed in the lobby, depicting Hungarian symbols.

The lobby also houses a contemporary bar which serves innovative cocktails in a cosmopolitan and sophisticated ambiance. The Kupola Bar attracts not only hotel guests but also local patrons, making it an ideal meeting point throughout the entire day.

The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge on the 8th floor boasts an impressive interior design, with an open space that features areas for dining, relaxation and work. The Club Level provides guests with an elevated experience with dedicated check-in/check-out, concierge services, as well as complimentary food and beverage presentations throughout the day.

The main restaurant of the hotel Deak Street Kitchen is already proving to be a major success especially with locals and foreign travelers, during my visit, the restaurant being fully booked at dinner. Deak St Kitchen provides a relaxed and brasserie-style environment, with an open-kitchen serving Hungarian-inspired dishes, using local seasonal ingredients, and a generous selection of Hungarian local wines. During my dinner I enjoyed a Hungarian Goulash and a chicken paprikas, both dishes with a modern twist. The restaurant has been carefully planned, with the addition of an outside terrace ideal for al fresco dining, overlooking Fashion Street. Service at Deak Street Kitchen was exceptional !

At the time of my stay the roof-top Ritz-Carlton Spa was still under construction, with an estimated opening date early December. Guests can, however, use the open 24/7 open Fitness Centre, a space flooded with natural light on the top of the building.

My room, a Junior Club Suite, was spacious, with a separate living room (with a built in fireplace) and a bedroom that featured an exceptionally comfortable bed. The marble bathroom had separate bathtub and walk-in glass enclosed shower.

Considering that the hotel has been open for less than 6 months, the service standard throughout the hotel is of a good standard – warm, welcoming and intuitive. Overall, the team is very young with a genuine passion to serve.  I was particularly impressed by the level of name recognition, most of the staff recognizing me by name during the stay.

Watch here a video preview of the Junior Club Suite. A video preview of the lobby can be watched here.

Oliver Petcu in Budapest

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