We last visited the hotel right before it underwent a thorough renovation before the pandemic ensued. On our return, the views from the hotel rooms, glancing at the Buda Castle and the mighty Danube River, were just as impressive as we remembered. The hotel rooms face the imposing river, each under a slightly different angle. Even in the brutal socialist years, architects knew well that the location was fantastic. Famed Hungarian architect Jozsef Finta designed the hotel named Duna upon its opening. Marriott took over the management in 1993, and everything else is history, as they say. The hotel chain continued the story of the legendary hotel, making it the first international stay in the city. Since its inception, the hotel has been dedicated to business and congress guests, becoming a symbol of the meetings industry in Budapest. During our last visit, we noted that the hotel has fierce competition in an outpost where the number of premium hotels is rapidly increasing. After staying at Marriott Budapest, we can confirm the hotel retained its position as one of the leading meeting hotels in town. As the main avenue closed off for traffic in the summer, Budapest acquired a picturesque pedestrian boulevard, dominated by the Marriott Budapest in the thick of the action. We can say the location is superb. You can effortlessly stroll to most tourist attractions.
It is virtually impossible to stay any closer to the city centre in Budapest. All landmarks and tourist must-sees are within spitting distance of the hotel. Regardless of the traffic on the busy street next to the hotel, guests will hear no noise inside their rooms. The public tram stop is just a few hundred metres away. We recommend the storied metro, the second underground subway ever built worldwide. With three lines operating (yellow, red and blue), it is easily the most effective mode of transportation around. The iconic No. 1 yellow route, featuring a retro photogenic design, is definitely worth visiting. Unsurprisingly, the metro stations transformed into film sets several times in their history. You will need around 18 minutes by car to reach the hotel from the airport. The hotel also offers a shuttle service. Although not free of charge, the parking garage is nevertheless a secure option for guests arriving by car. Considering the public transport connections in Budapest are persistently improving, you need not consider taxi service. For active guests, exploring the city by bicycle is an excellent alternative. The city is home to over 200 kilometres of cycling routes. Our tip: When finding the hotel, check which streets are closed, as the traffic signage changes according to the season.
COLD STARTER – Architecture and aesthetics
Knowing the entire Danube riverside of the hotel is under protection as a UNESCO World Heritage Site tells everything about the significance of the hotel and its location. The monolithic, concrete, brutalist architecture encroaches an entire Danube-facing chunk of the riverside in a T-letter shape. That is one of the reasons that the views from all rooms are so impressive. In our opinion, the architecture is exceptionally original and, above all, functional. During the last renovation, the architects left the façade untouched, apart from the glass balcony walls that now appear elegant and uncluttered. While the exterior remains unchanged, the interior has become distinctly modern after renovations in 2017 and 2020. A long countertop turns heads in the lobby, changing its role throughout the day – from a breakfast area and cocktail bar to the heart of the DNB Restaurant.
The Bauhaus details adore the interior aesthetics, separating the different areas within the hotel. In our opinion, the hotel lobby is among the most impressive in Budapest. Even when the hotel is packed, it somehow appears fluid. The furniture in darker hues complements the designer pieces and the pleasant illumination. The hygge concept flows from the lobby to all facilities in the hotel, including the must-visit Sky Bar.
WARM ENTRÉE – The staff and the culinary experience
One glance at the staff is enough to see this is Marriott’s flagship hotel. There is no staff member who does not devote 100% of their attention to the guests. Cleanliness and orderliness are on a world-class level. We met personnel willing to meet our needs and requests throughout our stay. That is what we noted on our last visit. Now, it seems they further elevated the experience. The second an idea popped up in our head, a staff member was there to make it a reality.
The hotel breakfast continues to be exceptional. The selection of dishes is rich, and the front cooking is a welcome addition. We only have praise for the healthy part of breakfast, which we found outstanding. Alas, queuing up for coffee or juice is inevitable when the hotel is jam-packed. But that is a problem that the management can address. We do recommend going for breakfast as early as possible.
The breakfast hall becomes the DNB Restaurant during the day. It offers a modern twist on classic Hungarian dishes. We were thrilled to learn the meat is exclusively Hungarian, as were other ingredients. Tasting the signature dish, the beef tartare, is a must. We were also satisfied with the wine offer. One of the best hotel restaurants is also a hit among locals, who flock here for Sunday brunch. Considering the booked tables and demand for brunch, the restaurant is a proven choice.
MAIN COURSE – The meetings offering at the hotel
Marriott Budapest offers several room types – Deluxe and Executive Rooms and Suites. Stunning views of Buda enriched our stay in the Deluxe Room. Although not the most spacious, the rooms feature an ultra-functional design, and the views compensate for the lack of space. Bright pastel-coloured tapestry crowns the walls. The tapestry, coupled with wooden flooring in grey colour, renders the room inviting and elegant at the same time. An alluring abstract artwork in the room is a nod to the mural on the façade, just next to the hotel entrance. We were particularly impressed by the lounger next to the window. Here, guests can admire the cityscape or read a trendy magazine or book. The unusual writing desk is made from stone yet spacious enough for business guests who wish to work. Illumination is well managed, and guests can find electric sockets almost anywhere. A well-stocked mini bar is praiseworthy, now an exception rather than a rule in most hotels. We adored the compact bed, boasting excellent bed linings. The bathroom was more spartan but included everything a business guest needs. Generally, the room meets Marriott standards and provides all the amenities, including a convenient ironing board.
The conference centre is deservedly among the best in Budapest. There are plentiful reasons for its dominance; one is the airiness within the halls. Another reason is the number of breakout rooms – 16 come in different sizes and configurations. Superb catering is what makes the experience truly memorable. The gastronomy is modern, innovative and tasty. Marriott Budapest also offers an excellent ratio between the number of hotel rooms (364) and the size of the conference centre (a maximum of 650 attendees). The entire conference centre belongs to the category of middle-sized conference centres. Their technical team is professional and kind. Everything can be managed and arranged, even after they had hosted a wedding the previous night. Thus, organising an event here is a pleasure.
DESSERT – The extras
The Liz and Chain Sky Lounge rooftop bar is one of the most exclusive event locations in the city. Located on the ninth floor, it offers picture-postcard views. Making a reservation is wise, as the venue is booked months in advance.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
The hotel is restlessly busy, and when full to the brim, the staff at the reception can become less hospitable. With a dozen guests lining up at the registration desk, we felt as though we were at an airport terminal. Otherwise, the hotel has virtually no drawbacks apart from the high prices. But even the price is justified by the superb service.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
The DNB Restaurant serving authentic interpretations of Hungarian dishes is first-class. They also offer daily lunch menus for affordable prices.
We did not encounter a lot of sustainable initiatives during our stay, apart from the commonplace communication about saving energy by reusing towels and eco-friendly cosmetics in shampoo and soap dispensers. We found their invitation to save water by opting for tap water commendable. The sign “clean, healthy, zero sugar, fat-free, refreshing, organic, safe to drink – Enjoy your Budapest water” could be even larger. Such endeavours are admirable.
FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
Compared to our last evaluation, the hotel has improved its final mark, partly due to the impeccable service. In light of the latest renovation, the exterior did not take precedence. Au contraire, it remained almost unchanged – elegantly monolithic. The interior, though, changed the hotel’s appeal entirely. Event organisers will undoubtedly appreciate the revamp. One of the advantages of Marriott Budapest is the number of hotel rooms combined with the capacity of the well-functioning conference centre. The hotel exudes a classic character, marked by distinct architecture and paired with superb hotel service and an excellent conference centre.
You are terribly mistaken if you believe classic chain hotels, such as Marriott Budapest, are nearing extinction. Even within its hotel chain, the establishment has fierce competition. Nonetheless, the hotel is among the city’s most frequented, regardless of the season. Prices have consequently risen, but when organising an event here, there is a slew of advantages. The service is excellent, and the flops here and there do not taint the overall great impression. Marriott Budapest is an establishment where you can trust the hotel team to pull off a spectacular event and meet the most demanding requests. At the same time, the hotel embodies Marriott’s slogan – People first. Splendid!
FINAL GRADE: 4.91 GOLD City Meeting Hotel
GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60
|OPEN FROM||1969, renovated in 2018|
|MEETINGS STAR||City Meeting Hotel|
|STANDARD||Hotel with conference facilities|
|NUMBER OF ROOMS||364 rooms|
|TOTAL EVENT SPACE||1544 m2|
|MAX. CAPACITY THEATRE||650|
|INTERNET PRICE||353 – 550 EUR (single use) / Booking, September 2023|
|ADDRESS:||BUDAPEST MARRIOTT HOTEL|
Apaczai Csere Janos u. 4.
Budapest, HungaryT: +36 1 486 5000
|FACILITIES||DNB Budapest RestaurantLiz and Chain GreatroomLiz and Chain Sky LoungeFitness & Health ClubEvent HubCongress centre with 16 hallsOutdoor cateringUnderground parking garage|
|SPECIALS||In warm summer months, event organisers can host their events on one of the most exclusive outdoor terraces, the Sky Lounge. Instagram-savvy attendees will be amazed by the views and the superb cuisine.|
|3. FIRST IMPRESSION||4.91|
|5. EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE||4.93|
|7. HOTEL ROOM||4.85|
|8. HOTEL BED||4.90|
|9. BATHROOM AND RESTROOM||4.87|
|10. HOTEL BREAKFAST||4.90|
|11. BARS AND RESTAURANTS||4.91|
|12. CONGRESS HALL||4.98|
|13. ADDITIONAL OFFER||4.95|