Sofitel, Budapest

The location

ImageI arrived on a cold December night, and was able to enjoy the illuminated Budapest landmarks during the ride from the airport to the hotel. It is located right next to the famous chains bridge, with a spectacular view of the castle and the fisherman’s bastion. As I stepped into the spectacular lobby, a surprise was awaiting, as my traveller status with Accor apparently entitles me to a special welcome whenever I visit a Sofitel. The client relations advisor led me to my room and ensured everything was alright. She also was kind enough to reply to the feedback I sent her later about my stay.

The room

I would say slightly dated, but very spacious, with ample space to relax (there is a sofa), work (a large desk) or sleep (very comfortable bed with a warm duvet). The bathroom was also very spacious with both a shower and a bath, as well as being adorned with l’Occitane products. It was also supremely quiet with very nice views and free water was provided. The slight letdowns were the pay-as-you-go wi-fi and the temperature in the room, which was slightly too cool for my liking.

Meals and drinks

I enjoyed a snack on the first night and a few drinks on the second day. The food is not as good as the food you would have in a Sofitel in, say, Paris, but the prices are very reasonable. Staff are friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the wines they serve. I recommend you try in particular one of the excellent sweet Tokaji wines on offer. Overall, the Paris-Budapest bar is a very nice place to be, with an excellent music selection (I even heard some Divine Comedy) and spectacular views over the Habsburg castle and the bridge. I particularly enjoyed relaxing there after a dinner out. The only thing that was not so pleasant about the view were two young prostitutes circling round the block in the freezing Budapest night, a very sad aspect of the city that is regrettably omnipresent at night.

The facilities

Staying at the Sofitel will allow you to enjoy the sauna and the 12-meter pool free of charge. They are both excellent, but I would maybe suggest the hotel they consider charging a small fee or at least forbid alcohol on the premises. Mingling with other guests enjoying a can of beer next to the pool is not really what I am after when I stay at a five-star hotel.

The breakfast

Overall, you will be able to compose yourself a decent and hearty breakfast to brave the cold. A cooked option is on offer, both self service and cooked on demand. One suggestion would be to improve the quality of the orange juice.

The price

Including breakfast, in the region of 140-160 euros if you get a good rate. At this price this is excellent value for money and an exceptional level of service. As a French traveller, I can however only warn my fellow countrymen about the high number of other Gallic guests in this French chain: when someone tries to enter an elevator before you have had the chance to exit, this feels strangely familiar.