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In October I went to Budapest and since I already told you about my suite (and the monster upgrade fee!) at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest, I wanted to fill you in on the other hotel I stayed at while I was there, Le Méridien Budapest.
Location, Location, Location
What I loved most about this hotel was its fantastic location on Erzsébet (Elizabeth) Square, named after the Hapsburg Empress Elizabeth (her nickname was Sissi), on the Pest side of the Danube with picture-perfect views of the medieval hillside streets of Buda and its Castle District.
Le Méridien Budapest is actually housed in the historic Adria Palace, a gorgeous pre-modern office building originally constructed to house the Adria Insurance Company. It was designed in 1913, and built from 1914-1918 (not the best timing, historically speaking!). It was badly damaged in World War II, then during the Communist era, it was the headquarters of the Budapest Police until 1997. Le Méridien purchased it and began reconstruction in 1998, and finally opened in 2000.
The hotel is fairly large, with 218 rooms and suites with all the standard 5-star amenities like high-speed WiFi, LCD televisions with satellite channels, and a gourmet French restaurant called Le Bourbon. There’s no spa here since Budapest is the “City of Spas” and there are over 80 baths that tourists can visit.
I’m an SPG Platinum member, so I get free automatic room upgrades based on availability in addition to the other perks like free WiFi (though wired high-speed internet is free at this hotel anyway). Well, I was upgraded to a suite, but it wasn’t automatic. I had to be sure to ask for the upgrade because the reception staff originally weren’t going to give it to me. So it’s a good lesson: be sure to ask every time because the hotel staff sometimes doesn’t know all the rules, and it’s worth it to put in the extra effort. I always say, it never hurts to ask!
In order of ascending size, the hotel has three room categories: Superior, Deluxe and Executive; and three suite sizes: Business, Executive and Diplomatic. I had originally booked the smallest room type, a Superior, but was upgraded to the smallest suite type, a Business Suite, jumping three categories.
Business Suites are corner rooms with views over Deak Square and a little pedestrianized street. They’re not quite suites in the sense that there isn’t more than one room to them, but they are pretty large, and have enough room for a separate sitting area in the bedroom with a sofa, armchair and coffee table, and they also have a guest half-bath. My room had a king-size bed and a full bath with separate shower and bathtub.
There was nothing too interesting about the décor—it was that classic, elegant kind of look with dark wood used in the tables and desk, and furniture upholstered with traditional patterns.
All in all, I was pretty happy with it—the room was spacious (not always common in Europe!), comfortable and affordable.
By The Numbers
I was able to get a pretty reasonable rate at the hotel for 129 euros ($175)—though looking at dates in November, it’s as low as 121 euros ($165)—so I just paid for it rather than using valuable Starwood points. However, the Business Suite I was upgraded to actually starts at 281 euros ($385), so I got it for a steal—and it’s a great example of the valuable perks elite status can confer on you. Plus, I got breakfast included with my rate (with a room service option), so it ended up being a really great deal all in all.
If you do want to use your points, though, the hotel runs 10,000 Starpoints per night, or 4,000 Starpoints and $60 per night using the SPG Cash & Points option.