Even though it was only last month, it feels like an age ago that I was frozen to my core in the festive streets of Budapest!
I’ve got so much to share with you about our Christmassy trip to one of my new favourite cities, but first I must share with you my experience of the opulent Corinthia hotel. Although not my finest experience of a 5 star brand, it was worth writing about.
Budapest seems to embrace differences in every way. There isn’t a defined luxury quarter or east end vibe district, instead the wealth and flamboyant architecture seems spread throughout the city. For example, the Corinthia was located on a main road, lit up in a thousand Christmas lights, opposite a slightly less appealing bar known as ‘The Hangover’. But this doesn’t take away from a luxury experience. Instead it made us feel more at home. Budapest felt accepting, it wasn’t judge-y.
Welcomed into this ‘grand Budapest hotel’ by doormen in top hats and tails, we were happily greeted by a blast of warm air in the incredibly spacious lobby. Our faces delighted at the news of an early check in as we politely declined a porter with only small weekend cases to hand.
The first floor is exquisite. In the centre sits the main reception with stairs leading up to the royal ballroom. On each side, the building opens up to give an outdoor/indoor vibe, with hundreds of bedrooms looking out on the restaurant below, giving the feeling of a secret village as you wave to your neighbour across the giant hanging baubles.
Sprinkled throughout are beautiful historical features encased in glass, from a vintage bottle of champagne to the hotelier’s daughter’s book of photos collected from famous guests.
Taking a left by the gingerbread shed, we found our way to the second floor where our room was located.
On initial impressions I wasn’t particularly wowed by the room. It was very plain in décor and traditional in style but what it lacked in personality it made up for in size. The space around the bed itself was generous without considering the short hallway to a desk.
Upon entering, a wall of tall wardrobes was built opposite the marbled bathroom, which was again spacious and tidy complete with a bathtub, shower and two fluffy robes.
Our room didn’t enjoy a city view like some of the higher floors but instead looked out into the festive brightly lit restaurant area, where enjoyably we could spot each other from across the way.
Unfortunately we experienced a few issues with our bedroom including no cold water and a weak unpredictable shower. However we were offered a late check out in return. Getting the bad bits out of the way, we also had a rather restless sleep on our first night as below us was the thumping bass of a Christmas party that for some unbeknown reason was allowed to continue on until 3am.
Moving on, we awoke slightly sleepy to a buffet breakfast served in the beautiful bright conservatory lobby. I wasn’t crazily in love with some aspects of the breakfast – the pancakes were solid and there were no mugs for tea, not particularly good for a 5 star hotel – but the offerings of champagne and bucks fizz for a morning tipple slightly made up for it. (Although maaaaan was I craving my perfect bacon and maple syrup brekkie!).
The room service however was probably a particular highlight. One on evening we rushed around missing dinner before our river cruise and returned to the hotel starving hungry, craving the comfort of our big bed. We both ordered a gigantic juicy burger that was delivered in a polished cloche by an extremely friendly porter. It was incredibly good value for the service and got me wanting to eat in almost every night!
The Corinthia also offers two bars and two other restaurants including the highly rated Rickshaw that I wish we’d had a chance to sample. The bar looked incredibly cosy with an open fireplace and cocktail lover’s dream menu, with drinks from various eras.
Yet the main feature of the 5 star hotel is Royal Spa. Located on its own floor, the Art Deco relaxation haven invites guests in robes to bubble in a Jacuzzi, sauna or menthol steam room.
The famously pictured swimming pool stretches under panels of stained glass windows, although was a little chilly to dip into! Safe to say we stuck to the warm therapeutic jacuzzis.
In all I’d have to say that sadly the Corinthia didn’t meet up to my expectations. As a 5 star hotel I would anticipate faultless services, a shower better than my own and a good night’s sleep!