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Boscolo Budapest Was Full of Bronzes, Busts and Balustrades

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  Site Where: Erzsébet körút 9-11, Budapest, Hungary, 1073
February 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM | by | ()

A stone bust carved into the facade of Boscolo Budapest.

It used to be called the New York Palace, and its most famous venue is still the New York Cafe. Then it became the Boscolo Budapest. Then in 2011, Marriott swooped in and annexed it to their Autograph Collection. Call it what you will—it doesn't really matter because once you walk inside, you start to realize why so many people have been making a fuss about this place for years.

We checked into the Boscolo Budapest at the tail end of our mini-trek through Eastern Europe last month, and boy, was it a welcome respite. Immediately upon arrival (and we got there pretty early, around 11am), the staff were totally welcoming, not only allowing us up to our room ahead of normal check-in time, but also upgrading us to a Junior Suite on the fourth floor. Like always, we were planning to request an upgrade anyway (it was Budapest, in the middle of January, after all), but they were one step ahead of us!

Of course, we were dazzled by the atrium-style lobby, which is encircled by five floors of gleaming portico arches stacked on top of each other, leading all the way up to a glorious skylit roof. But more on that later. First, our initial room reaction...

The Junior Suite was a treat indeed. This was the first time we've ever had the luxury of our own private entryway. In other words, from the hallway, we passed through not one but two sets of doors to get to the suite itself, a nice added touch if privacy is a concern (which it wasn't particularly for us).

Once inside, a small foyer acts as an introduction to the room: the small space, decorated with a single column holding up a white-and-gold undulating vase sculpture, was where we set down our suitcase and did a little walk-through the rest of the suite. Off to the left was a walk-in closet with a bathrobe, slippers, a safe, and plenty of coat hangers.

A bronze sitting horse decorated our coffeetable.

The foyer led into a quaint little living room area with a couch, two armchairs, a coffee table with local magazines (and, randomly, a bronze mini horse statue), a desk, a drape-y chandelier, a minibar, a flat-screen TV (playing that annoying but somehow necessary New Age-y welcome music softly in the background), and a pair of brocaded curtains concealing windows that opened onto Blaha Lujza Square. The carpet was spotless and freshly vacuumed, which we appreciated, though the furniture itself was a little bland and stuffy.

Next was the bedroom, which caught us off guard because it was so bare. Comprised solely of a bed, two night stands, a flat-screen TV fixed to the wall, and that same drape-y chandelier thing, we were a little disappointed. Plenty of hotels go for the minimalist look with great success, but we honestly expected more from this place. After such a grand first impression, our room itself, though large and plush, was a bit of a letdown.

Nevermind, though. We tried to focus on the positives—big room, nice views of the square, free bottled water—and then headed into the bathroom, which significantly helped redeem the suite in our eyes.

Elaborate and also quite large, the bathroom featured pink marble walls, a generous tub with rainfall shower head, a wide counter with two sinks, Etro toiletries, and a separate toilet and bidet area (granted, we didn't use the latter, but we always appreciate the distinctly European feature). Later on during our stay, wearing a robe, and strolling freely between the bathroom and our bedroom window overlooking the square, the room's blandness suddenly seemed less important, and we were able to focus purely on how pampered we felt inside our suite.

Of course, we made a point of wandering around the gorgeous lobby whenever we got the chance. During the day, light pours in from the glass roof above, making the space seem even more ethereal and museum-like than it already is. Breakfast, meanwhile, was served in a dedicated corner of the hotel's New York Cafe (which, we noticed, got pretty busy at night). Though our favorite part was after breakfast, when we explored all the different rooms and passageways that connect the lobby and the restaurant.

Overall impression: Certainly the lobby is unlike any other we've seen before, and between the excellent service, our room upgrade, and the nightly "scene" we witnessed each night in the adjoining New York Cafe, we left more than satisfied with our stay. We'd give the hotel's location a B+, since it's right near the metro and plenty of buses, and walkable to most major landmarks and public squares. However, next time we come back to the city, if we happen to be craving something more modern-feeling, we might skip this place altogether and head for one of Budapest's more artsy boutiques.

We paid EUR 125/night ($167 USD), and received free WiFi and breakfast each morning during our two-night stay.

[Photos: HotelChatter]

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