For travellers who seek the finest that the world has to offer

Modern luxury meets historic charm at The Ritz-Carlton Budapest

Opened in 2016, The Ritz Carlton Budapest is a sleek and sophisticated stay with views of the Danube.

Traveller: Sue Wallace
Room: City View Deluxe Suite
Address: 9-10 Elizabeth Square, Budapest.
Date: November 2023
Best for: Discerning travellers seeking a haven in the heart of beautiful Budapest.

Built in 1914 as the headquarters of an Italian insurance company within the remains of Adria Palace, The Ritz-Carlton Budapest retains its historic charm while showcasing an opulent interior scheme that wows you from the first step into the lobby. There’s nothing like standing on a private balcony at the Ritz-Carlton Budapest, where the twinkling lights of the city can dazzle even the most seasoned traveller. The River Danube winds its way through the Hungarian capital, separating Buda on the hills and Pest on the flat, a reminder that Budapest was once two separate cities until 1873.

The first Ritz-Carlton to open in Hungary in 2016, it has been updated over the years and exudes a sleek sophistication with a contemporary feel that makes me want to linger in the lobby, restaurants and my suite. There are 170 rooms and 30 suites plus an elegant Club Lounge and Spa. It’s all about modern luxury that acknowledges the past.

budapest views
The view © Ritz-Carlton

The Signature factor

The magnificent architecture of the Ritz-Carlton Budapest sweeps you off your feet. The outstanding art-deco stained-glass cupula in rich shades of blue, turquoise and aqua and the grand crystal chandelier are especially spectacular. It’s hard to take your eyes off them as you dine on delicious Hungarian treats. Original architectural features complement the striking decor, which is inspired by the swirling waters of the Danube.

First impressions

All the senses are pleased at the Ritz-Carlton Budapest. The interior design and captivating flower arrangements are a visual treat, the scent of the latter utterly delicious. Music comes courtesy of a talented pianist playing a white baby grand piano, and the comfy sofas and leather armchairs are impossible to resist. Combined with a warm welcome at check-in, the hotel leaves a great first impression.

a classy lobby
The lobby © Ritz-Carlton

The room

My luxury city view suite has a cosy living area and a spacious bedroom with a comfy bed, the gentle hues of the pastel colour palette are homely and welcoming – but I can’t wait to throw open the balcony doors and enjoy spectacular views of the city. The glittering, 65-metre-high iconic Budapest Ferris Wheel is mesmerising as it rotates against the black, star-studded sky, opposite the hotel.

Inside, heritage architecture such as high ceilings and expansive windows are nestled snugly within the sleek-lined suite. There are bold accents: tall, green Venetian glass lamps with cream shades that sit bedside and eye-catching modern art on the walls. The fragrance of fresh flowers filters into the marble bathroom that boasts a tub, shower and Asprey products.

city view suite with light blue decor
City view suite © Ritz-Carlton

Top suite

The majestic Royal Suite exudes understated elegance with attention to detail. Dressed in muted blues and greys with herringbone parquetry floors and textured rugs, the corner suite is located on the top floor and is filled with natural light from the expansive windows. There’s a spacious bedroom with a pale blue sofa and cushions, a living room with a TV, a work area and a dining room with statement lighting and artwork in shades of red. the marble bathroom has a walk-in shower and bathtub, and is stocked with Asprey amenities. Royal Suite guests have access to the executive Club Lounge with complimentary food and beverages, a dedicated concierge service and use of an executive board room.

Royal Suite © Ritz-Carlton

On my plate

Dining is an adventure at The Ritz-Carlton Budapest, with the Italian-inspired Ottimo restaurant serving classics prepared from authentic family recipes using the finest ingredients. Standouts include the slow-cooked pork belly with local cherry beer, served with celery root, green apple and caviar, and Italian arborio rice with braised porcini mushrooms and grilled king prawns.

The finale of millefoglie – thin, crispy puff pastry layered with vanilla cream, strawberries and lavender pannacotta – is delightful. For meat lovers, there’s a steak menu featuring different cuts, including T-bone and tomahawk, and sweet tooths can indulge in the high tea by pastry chef Istvan Mazas and his team, who create masterpieces almost too good to eat.

Set within a grand space with original marble walls and a showpiece cupola, the Kupola Lounge showcases a photographic collection of budapest in its early years and serves international dishes, local Hungarian cheeses and hams. Try the Langos – traditional fried dough with spring onion, sour cream, and shredded cheese.

The pretty Kupola Bar is perfect for fancy cocktails (try the Vineyard Sour, Bloody Istvan or a Paprika Hungarian) and the sunday brunch is a popular affair with music and bubbles. Wine lovers will be impressed with the vast collection of drops to choose from, some international and others from Hungary’s Villany, Szekszard and Balaton regions.

a classy restaurant with wood furnishings
Ottimo © Ritz-Carlton

Highlights from the mini-bar

The well-stocked mini-bar is labelled with prices and features local wines and spirits, the usual drinks and treats such as Budapest Cinq Filles, tasty candy in a beautiful box.

I wish I could take home…

The never-ending supply of sweet treats by star pastry chef Istvan Mazas are amazing confections, and the geometric chocolate Easter egg is a stunning example, crafted in tribute to the Hungarian inventor Rubik Erno, of Rubik’s Cube fame.

A hanging egg chair at the pool
The pool © Ritz-Carlton

Staying in

Budapest is famous for its thermal baths and spa therapies and the Ritz-Carlton Spa doesn’t disappoint, offering fabulous treatments such as the Royal Palace Ritual which includes a full-body exfoliation and hot stone massage with aromatic oils in a thermal suite. Feel like a workout? Head to the fitness centre with sauna, steam room and a tub for soaking. A pretty indoor heated pool with natural light is perfect for a relaxing dip.

Kaffee Wien
Kaffee Wien © Ritz-Carlton

Stepping out

The Ritz-Carlton Budapest is located in the heart of Budapest close to many of the main attractions. The hotel is a five-minute walk from St Stephen’s Basilica and the River Danube, and close to the Castle district and Opera House. Fashionistas rejoice, as it’s also just a short hop to the glamorous shopping thoroughfare, Andrassy Street.

Signature verdict

The Ritz Carlton is a sophisticated haven known for its stunning architecture and cultural delights. Lobby watching is fascinating and those cakes remain memorable.

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