Quick Update from Budapest

by on October 2, 2011 · 16 comments

in Four Seasons, Trip Reports

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Budapest is an incredible city. It’s unbelievably gorgeous and the nightlife has been a blast (to say the least) as well. Day 1 was spent roaming around, going to the Four Seasons Spa and of course … the Britney Spears concert – which was an experience.

First off; the Four Seasons Gresham Palace is a stunning hotel. That being said, it’s expensive and the room I booked ended up being on the first floor with an interior view so I ended up paying more to upgrade to a suite which has a small balcony and showstopping views of the Danube (I’ll save the full story on that for the review post).

My Four Seasons Budapest "suite"... it was more like a huge room, but it was really nice nonetheless

View from the balcony

Post jetlag-busting spa treatments

Four Seasons Budapest Lobby

Hungarian paprika chicken with egg noodles

View of the castle from the room at night

The Britney concert was fun and the Starwood Preferred Guest tickets were phenomenal - we were 3rd row in section 102, which was right off the stage. Considering I got both tickets for 5,000 Starwood points via SPG Concerts, I consider it a very good redemption. Lori who is clearly the bigger Britney fan also had a great time and considering this is her birthday weekend, I consider it a success.

Lori and TPG pre-show

Some notes from the concert: Britney’s art of lip-syncing is as strong as ever. She has really mastered the craft and it showed. She was also extremely lethargic. Seriously, I felt like she was in slow motion – especially because her massive crew of backup dancers were amazing.

Britney ... queen of lip-syncing

The show itself was entertaining and I found it interesting that no one was dancing or even standing up at the concert. I’m not sure if that’s a Hungarian thing or whether people were dazed that the show was basically Britney’s CD blasting at full volume with some slight shimmying on stage. We were seated next to a couple in their 60′s – I’m betting a Starwood road warrior who took his wife – who seemed to have a good time, but sat stone-faced the whole night.

It was quite the show ... complete with pyrotechnics and flying angels

We got a late start Saturday, and had breakfast and coffee in the area around the hotel while browsing several unique stores. After grabbing Hungarian for lunch it was off to the Gellert baths in the afternoon, which was a really nice experience. The Four Seasons concierge (who has been nothing short of amazing) set up our Gellert trip and prepared us bath bags; which included towels, shampoo/soap and slippers. The weather has been fantastic here, so we spent some time at the outdoor pool area and also did the indoor co-ed thermal baths. We split up to try out the inner mens/women-only pools, which had ornate tiling. Besides a little confusion around how to get my locker to work and where we had to buy swimming caps, it was a really fun experience.

Today we have a reservation at the Marriott for their famed brunch on the terrace (thanks to TPG reader John’s recommendation) and 2-hour Segway tour of the city which should be interesting as I’ve never been on a Segway before. The weather seriously cannot be better – sunny and mid/high 70s so I’m looking forward to zipping around the city.

More to come!

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  • Adam K

    Looks like an incredible trip! I’ve been there a few times and always enjoy Budapest

  • Pob312

    s/b “chicken paprikash”.

  • Andrew S Moe

    Can you tell us how you booked concert tickets using hotel points? Thanks!

  • Josh MacDonald

    I don’t know how he did it, but my assumption would be that he booked them through spg experiences:

  • Felipe Yang

    I thought you were supposed to get a complimentary upgrade with the Amex Platinum if available. If you were able to pay for one, doesn’t it mean they had availability?

  • Anonymous

    I hope you’re not being too coddled by that hotel, the good stuff is out with the real folks.

    Rick Steves, as usual, has great walking tours and suggestions. My favs in Budapest are the Széchenyi baths, Great Market Hall, and their adorable metro.

  • JNYC

    I went to The Femme Fatale Concert in Atlantic City. I had tickets in section 103, first row, for $216. Two for 5,000 points was a gift! And, one thing I can tell you is that on-one in that concert sat down or stopped singing for a minute. From Minaj opening, to Britney’s part, the concert rocked. Her tickets abroad are much cheaper, hence I plan to go see her again at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with some of the AA miles from the Citi Cards offers you advices us. For someone who has been through what she has, two kids, and a busted knee with 2 surgeries, Britney has made a huge comeback this year.

  • David

    Nick Minaj opens? That’s a NO BRAINER – GO!

  • David

    Segway – what most of us secretly want to do, but will probably end up just staring and making fun of others doing it…. you’re now “that guy” on the seg!

  • Byebenito

    Are you introducing us to Mrs. The Points Guy? (Lori, not Britney!)

  • Matt

    Thanks for turning me on to SPG’s concert ticket redemption! I was so inspired by your posts, that I just booked a long weekend in Budapest…including a Cash + Points stay at the Meridien and a SPG – sponsored Rihanna concert!

  • Huh


  • Anonymous

    Hah no. Lori is in a relationship with a great guy. We are just friends…. trust me! ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, it was AWESOME. Yes, I probably looked like a dork, but most people actually smiled and waved as we whizzed by. More details to come!

  • Anonymous

    Correct.. I’m definitely going to complain about the experience

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