For our last night in Budapest we were invited to try out The Corinthia. I was really looking forward to this one as I'd heard so many great things - everyone raves about it and it's always featured on numerous 'best hotels in Budapest' lists. And it was a beautiful hotel, but I'm not quite sure it was for me.
We got the train from Vienna back to Budapest really easily. The online booking system is pretty confusing, but thankfully it was all fine and we sat back and relaxed in first class with our pastries we'd brought with us from the Hotel Imperial. The three hours passed quickly as we chatted about our week and the adventures we'd been up to exploring the two stunning cities of Vienna and Budapest. We got to Budapest Keleti station and a quick taxi ride later we were outside The Corinthia, which had a very grand facade!
The doormen kindly carried our bags in to the lobby, and we were directed to the Executive level to the private check-in desk. The woman on the desk was cold and unwelcoming with a sour expression on her face, and I couldn't wait to get away from her. We were shown to our suite by a very lovely gentleman, and we gave him a nice large tip to try and get rid of some of our Hungarian Forint.
The hotel was originally opened in 1896 as the Grand Hotel Royal, and was once the most exclusive hotel in Budapest. Today it's still luxurious, and has a bar, four restaurants, and a jazz club!
Our Deluxe Suite was all dark-mahogany and of the standard 'hotel' style full of the usual paraphernalia, and it was absolutely huge! We had a big hallway which led to a small but impressive marble bathroom, another separate toilet and sink, a living room/study, and the bedroom.
It was furnished quite simply and felt very 'five-star business hotel'. It was quite soulless and didn't have an awful lot of character, which is such a shame. Apparently there was a big fire in the 1950's and the architect who redesigned the hotel demolished the entire interior of the hotel, and today none of the original interior remains, hence the lack of character and very modern feel to it.
Anyway, after getting settled and changed we then went down to the swimming pool and spa to take a look. Now this was amazing!
The swimming pool was huge and beautiful, and there wasn't just one jacuzzi, but two, each a different temperature. There were also two saunas at different temperatures and a steam room! Once we were in there we didn't want to leave, so we stayed there for a couple of hours and found a group of young Welsh men in the jacuzzi to talk to, although we didn't really get a choice of whether we wanted to talk to them or not. They were very loud.
The staff came over a number of times to tell the guys to keep the noise down, so Bella and I decided to leave and go and get dressed for dinner and have a final night out at Szimpla Kert ruin bar. We weren't too hungry so went to the Executive level in the hotel where there's a lounge with complimentary food and drinks. It was full of different cheeses and meats, sandwiches, cakes and fruit. There was also free champagne - score!
After filling ourselves up we then decided to go for a walk as it was still too early for Szimpla Kert. We ended up walking 5 miles! We walked from the hotel to Margaret Bridge, across Margaret Bridge and then along the riverfront with every other tourist in Budapest so we could see the Hungarian Parliament from the other side of the river all lit up. Then we walked across the Chain Bridge to Szimpla Kert, and after having a drink in Szimpla Kert and realizing how tired we were, we then walked back to the hotel.
On our way to Szimpla Kert we finally had some famous Hungarian Chimney Cake, also known as Kürtőskalács! We found a little stall on the side of the road in the Jewish district near Szimpla, and at just 700Forint we got a huge cinnamon chimney cake. It was fascinating watching them make it, and although it was pretty scrummy you definitely couldn't eat a whole one by yourself!
We got back to the hotel around 11pm, so not too late, and luckily the hotel bed was super soft and I had a brilliant night's sleep! The next morning we went to the New York Cafe and I ate so much I didn't eat another meal until the following day!
All in all The Corinthia was wonderful and I can see why people love it, but for me I personally much prefer hotels with character and a history behind them that you can envisage as you walk around it. I think it would be really fantastic if the hotel had some information on the history of the hotel in the rooms, especially considering the history of it and the details of the fire and reconstruction - I found everything out via the internet. You can see a full room tour in the video below!
Despite the soulless interior the pool and spa facilities were marvelous, they really impressed me and it was so lovely spending the afternoon just relaxing after such a busy week! The location is good for Andrassy Avenue, the Jewish Quarter, and City Park, however it is quite far from the Chain Bridge and St Stephen's Basilica. Rooms start from 100Euros a night for a Superior Room, and 315Euros per night for the Deluxe Suite, and all rooms include free WIFI. Do remember though that Budapest charge a city tax on top of the hotel rate!
Sadly the bad service continued when we checked out - another unfriendly face checked us out, and then another unfriendly face served me at the concierge when I needed some stamps to post a letter and some postcards. The service was literally the opposite of what we experienced at Hotel Imperial and Le Meridien earlier in the week, it really doesn't take much to smile and be courteous towards guests. Thankfully the doormen and bell boys were so lovely and really helped us with our heavy bags, so at least our final experience with The Corinthia was a good one.
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*We received our room complimentary for review purposes. Despite it being complimentary this does not in any way influence my views, and everything I have said is my 100% honest opinion.