By the time I arrived in Budapest, I was about a third of the way through my trip. In a little over two weeks, I’d stayed in three Airbnbs in South Africa, and two Airbnbs and one hotel in England. I’d only had my own place for two of those nights. I had a blast with my friends, but I was also looking forward to being by myself. While in Budapest, I stayed at St. George Residence All Suite Hotel Deluxe, a luxury hotel on the Buda side of the Danube River.
It wasn’t until Christmas Eve, when reading the Eastern Europe guidebook Santa gave me, that I found out that there was a Buda and a Pest – which is supposed to sound like, “Pesht”. Basically, the Buda side has all the history and the Pest side is the modern city with all the energy. I love energy, obviously, having lived in New York City for years, but one of the things I love the most about being in Europe is the history – the castles that are three times as old as the United States, the cobblestone streets, and the open plazas where important things have happened over the years. I opted to stay in Buda, at the oldest hotel in Budapest.
St. George Residence is in a building from the 14th century and was used as an inn during the 18th century. There are signs of this history everywhere, including a suit of armor at the entrance, chairs that look like they belong in a museum, and a 700-year-old wine cellar with an arched stone ceiling. The hotel has 26 unique suites at different levels of Diamond, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, all with stocked kitchenettes, perfect for longer stays. There is a courtyard, but it was still a little cold to read my book in while I was visiting. Because of the hotel’s age, there is no elevator, but someone will help you with your luggage if you, like me, neglected to pack light.
The hotel is on a quiet street with views of towers and turrets of churches and other historic buildings. Fortuna Street is scattered with incredible restaurants where you can treat yourself to a fancy meal for around $15. I’ll be writing about the food I ate in Hungary in a separate post, but most of the places I went were within 5 minutes walking of the hotel because the reviews were raving.
Aside from my cabs to arrive with my luggage from the airport and to get to the bus station when I was leaving, I didn’t use a cab or public transportation once, which speaks to the location, location, location of the hotel. I walked over 7 miles a day when I was visiting because there was a lot to see, but if you don’t walk as much as I do, you could easily take advantage of the bus routes right outside on Fortuna Street.
When I opened the door of my room at St. George Residence, I said, “wow…” out loud to no one, just as I had when I saw my friend walk down the aisle a few days earlier. It reminded me of rooms I’ve seen in my travels throughout Europe when visiting a palace or an aristocrat’s home – rooms that are typically roped off because something important happened in there or because tourists have tried to sit on the centuries-old furniture. You’d typically have to lean over said ropes in order to take a good picture, but this time, I made this room my home for three nights.
The spacious room in front of me had a full kitchen and more furniture than I’d had in my NYC apartment – a table, four chairs, a huge armoire, a bench, a desk and chair, and some pieces I didn’t really know the purpose of. The only thing missing was a couch or a chaise lounge, which I would have appreciated. I spent most of my time in the room either at the desk (where the wifi signal was strongest), in the comfortable king-sized bed, or in the bathtub.
That first night, after a nice dinner on Fortuna Street, I thought it appropriate to take a bath in my hotel room, since one of the things Budapest is famous for is the public baths. With a glass of local red from the mini-bar, bubbles from the entire bottle of hotel shower gel, and an hour in the hot water, I congratulated myself for making it two weeks in to my trip without a breakdown even though I’d almost missed my flight from London to Budapest.
The rest of the time in my hotel continued to be relaxing. I slept in thanks to the comfortable bed and the blackout curtains. I used my kettle for lots of hot water, as recommended to me by my doctors in India, and used my mini-fridge to hold some leftovers from my fancy meals. I felt at home. But also, because I was staying in such a unique and historic accommodation, I felt like I was in Hungary when I was in Hungary.
Köszönöm, St. George Residence All Suite Hotel Deluxe, for hosting me in Budapest. Opinions are always my own.