With all of the exploring we have done in the last 6 months, I realized I should share more about the places we stay so you can get ideas or learn from our mistakes.
Picking a hotel can be a tricky thing at times. Sometimes you pick solely on location, sometimes it is solely on price, and sometimes it can really make or break your trip!
When I am booking hotels, I typically have up to 10 windows open at a time – researching best places to stay and price comparing on all of the different sites. My go-to pages are Booking.com and AMEXtravel.com
For our recent trip to Budapest, I used Amextravel.com in conjunction with our access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program through our American Express Platinum card to book our stay at the Ritz Carlton Budapest. New Years weekend tends to be a higher-priced weekend so the price difference between a more basic hotel and this luxury one was actually smaller than on a normal weekend.
Thanks to the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, we got early check-in (12pm), a free room upgrade from a Superior Room to a Deluxe Room (bigger room, better view) with a bottle of champagne, chocolate and strawberries, a macaron and more chocolate, late check-out (4pm), breakfast for two (buffet plus an entrée from the menu), and a $100 food & beverage credit! You really can’t beat that type of treatment!!
The room itself was stunning and the bed was insanely comfortable. I loved how bright and airy it was and especially the light fixture in the center of the room. The views from the window were lovely overlooking the square. It was a perfect time to stay at the hotel because it was so bitterly cold outside we decided to spend the whole day at the hotel. We had complete access to the pool and spa, but since the sauna wasn’t currently open, we were able to go to the resort next door and use all of their spa facilities. We actually walked from our hotel to the next one in our slippers and robes – it was pretty funny!
The staff brought fresh ice for the champagne and another tray of chocolates later in the day which was perfect, and we decided to spend out food credit at the restaurant for dinner.
Thanks to Hungarian prices, we were able to get an appetizer – a Hungarian cheese and meat plate, two sides – truffle fries and roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon, two of the most expensive entrees – aged beef and grilled salmon, and two drinks for only $70!!
We were too stuffed for dessert so we waited a couple of hours and then called for room service to spend the rest of the credit which felt so indulgent! We had chocolate ice cream, cheesecake, creme brûlée, and a fresh fruit plate brought right to the bed! European TV isn’t great but the room had a Smart TV so we could bring things up on our phones and mirror them onto the TV!
The staff was so kind and helpful the entire stay which really made a difference in the experience. The staff knew us by name and remembered us, even though we didn’t stay there very long. The staff also didn’t act judgmental or elitist, which I find most important. It was by far my favorite luxury hotel experience thus far.