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Dang, I am behind on my posts.
But then I realized I have still left out parts of Eurotrip 2014 after reading Travel is Free’s awesome review of the Radisson Blu Beke in Budapest this morning. I stayed at this hotel too and wanted to contribute my review and photos, because I’d argue that the room I stayed in looked even more 1970s than theirs.
I got out at BUD after flying in from VIE on an Austrian flight, paid for with 15,000 United miles. I’d already researched how to take public transportation and went to buy a bus and train ticket at the tourist desk in the airport. I walked out, hung a right, and the bus was already waiting there. I didn’t understand the announcements and relied on Google Maps to show me where to get off. Then, I took the train and got out at the bus and train terminal near the Radisson Blu Beke, and walked there in about 10 minutes.
I found the check-in process to be really pleasant, actually. I was checked in by the assistant manager of the hotel, as I arrived in the middle of a tour group coming in, and he seemed to be supervising and helping with the overflow. Even with dozens of people in line, I was checked in in about 10 minutes, which was blazing fast, considering.
While in line, I looked around and noticed a bar attached to the lobby, and made a mental note to check it out. Along with my room key, the assistant manager gave me a coupon for a buy-one-get-one drink, which was a nice touch. It definitely did its job of getting me into the bar.
He also acknowledge my Gold status with Club Carlson and told me I’d been upgraded to a suite… sweet!
I was assigned to room 635. Walking through the door was like swinging open the door to a portal into 1970 (or at least what I imagine 1970 was like). However, it was huge.
There was a couch, two love seats, a table with chairs, a desk, a large bed, an additional seating and surfaces spread out over three rooms. It certainly was in dire need of an update, but the amount of space was really generous.
I really think that if they overhauled this property they could A). raise the daily room rate B). charge more Club Carlson Gold Points (I booked when it was still 9,000 Gold Points per night – a steal – but it’s still a great deal at its current 15,000 Gold Points per night) C). compete with the other chain hotels in Budapest D). elevate the Radisson Blu brand – this one, while large, did not feel like a luxury brand.
No idea why my camera was so “foggy” during this round of photos… Sorry about their quality!
The bed was really comfortable, and the desk area was great for banging out a couple of blog posts.
There was a large tub and shower – I didn’t snap a picture of it. Also, behind the large drapes, the windows looked out onto the streets below. We were in a corner room, and could see down two streets. The view wasn’t remarkable or anything, but the main windows faced south and let in a good amount of sunlight throughout the day.
That carpet just kills me. I couldn’t stop looking at it.
But, despite the dated decor, furniture, and carpet, I really appreciated the upgrade to the suite. It was honestly more space than I knew what to do with, and I ended up using the extra chairs to hold my jackets, and never even sat at the table. But, it was nice to have the space. And, as a benefit for having a suite, that meant that breakfast was included with the room.
There was some confusion on whether or not I’d have to pay, so I went back and asked the assistant manager again after the rush slowed down, and he assured me that the suite came with breakfast included. So in addition to the upgrade and welcome amenity, I also got free breakfast. I believe it would’ve been $20 per person a day otherwise, so with all of that considered, I got quite a good value out of 9,000 Club Carlson Gold Points for 2 nights. Even at 15,000 Gold Points, it’s still a great deal, and Budapest is a fascinating and wonderful city.
The overall hotel isn’t quite as dated as the rooms, although it does kinda have that “Xanadu” look. The building exterior is actually really lovely. The bellhops were attentive with luggage and getting cabs, and I actually really enjoyed it. No, it’s not sleek or modern. Yes, the carpet and lighting and wallpaper are all “old” and the whole thing needs an update, but it has good bones and is in a great location.
It left me with that feeling of untapped potential. All the ingredients are there. They just need to combine them, and this property would be a really great hotel option in Budapest. I’d be happy to pay more Gold Points for a better property, and I know they could command a higher daily rate.
When I think of this in comparison to other Radisson Blu properties (the one near Venice in Italy and the amazing property in Fiji come to mind), it doesn’t hold a candle. I’d have to agree with Drew from Travel is Free: right now, it’s barely a Park Inn.
Y’all know I love a good breakfast. The options here were fantastic. Again with the decor and whatnot, but the food options were freshly cooked by a chef in the same room, and there was lots of fruit, veggies, juices, cereals, yogurts, etc. up for grabs. I stuffed myself each morning for free thanks to my upgrade. I do think this one would be worth paying for, if only for the amount of options available and the freshness of the hot dishes.
Great property and location, super dated, but still a good value. I would stay here again in a second, but wouldn’t (couldn’t) recommend it over other properties. (Also, GO ME for getting my “bottom line” down an actual bottom line.)
Has anyone else stayed here? Would you consider this property on Gold Points?
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