“ Address: Vaci utca 20 / 1052 Budapest / Hungary / Tel: 0036 1 4853100 „
When I go on a city break I like my hotel to be slap bang in the middle of the city. I don't want to be finishing my meal in a restaurant or walking along with my wife enjoying what's left of the evening and find myself nagged by a feeling of unease. This unease is usually brought on by the thought of not being able to find my way back to our hotel. I want to relax and enjoy my time in the city, not thinking 'don't we have to cross the street here, walk behind the abandoned market area, go down that alley and it's on the right, or the left, by the shop with the blue shutters?' There are no such problems with the Hotel Mercure.
Walk out the front door and turn right, you're five minutes walk away from the market place. Right outside the hotel are a parade of shops, ideal for gifts or to buy drinks and snacks. There are also many restaurants to choose from, (including a McDonalds if traditional goulash isn't your thing). All of the major sites are within walking distance of the hotel. The river is only a ten minute walk away. The added advantage of having your hotel in a central location is that it is easy to plan your day so that you can return in the early evening to put away any shopping and change for dinner.
The hotel itself is very clean, tidy and professional. I got the impression that they get a lot of business customers staying there and the hotel gives off this vibe. The staff can be a bit abrupt but not rude. I would class them as polite and professional rather than warm and friendly. The rooms are comfortable and clean, nothing to get excited about but you're in Budapest to see the city not the inside of a hotel room.
Budapest is not cheap; don't expect to save any money. Food and drink prices are on a par with London. Anything you buy in the hotel will be no exception to this rule. The price of the room was very reasonable and the location made exploring Budapest much easier. I would definitely use the Mercure again.
On my last trip to Budapest I was very lucky to choose a hotel within walking distance of the centre and quite a few of the main attractions. The Mercure Budapest was formerly known as The Taverna and is located about two minutes walk away from the bank of the River Danube. We arrived by taxi from the airport which is roughly about 17 kilometres and as I paid the taxi driver I remember thinking that I really liked the fact that the front entrance which is quite grand was on a main road with tourists milling around. I much prefer this than being stuck away down a dark alleyway.
I was impressed with the front entrance of the hotel with its glass windows shining through to the myriad of lights inside and beautifully manicured conifers sitting upright in purple pots with the Mercure sign embellished on the front. The last time I stayed in a Mercure Hotel was years ago in the south of France and I didn't remember it looking as grand as this one but then this hotel has just been renovated.
The staff on reception were smartly dressed and greeted us with a smile. The young man who took our details could speak very good English and although he was friendly there was an air of cockiness about him which slightly annoyed me. Having signed in we were given a swipe card to the room which was on the fourth floor.
There are seven floors altogether and 227 rooms. Lifts are in use and out of the 227 rooms there are only two suitable for disabled persons.
There are two types of rooms available - standard double and privilege double. We chose the privilege double.
Our room overlooked the road but wasn't too noisy as the windows were doubled glazed. The colour scheme was easy to the eye with white walls, wooden floor and long flowing curtains in an amber shade. To the right of the bed facing the window was a small desk and chair with a mirror hung above the desk. A table lamp in contemporary style was placed on the desk as was a steel tray of coffee/tea making facilities. There was also a small table centrally placed in the room which had a tray of bottled mineral waters and two glasses. This added touch was much appreciated as the room was boiling hot. Luckily, I did manage to locate the control for the air-conditioning . All the furniture was white as were the lamp shades and bedding. Opposite the bed was a set of drawers in the same pristine white with a flat screen TV perched above. Satellite channels were available. It was a nice touch to have an English paper already placed on the desk on the day of arrival and every morning afterwards.
Other things to mention about our privilege room is that there is an ASDL Internet connection which is free to use all day and if you want to use Wi Fi then you have to ask for vouchers at the reception desk. Other usual items are on offer like mini bar, telephone, hairdryer, and a safe to put your valuables in, if you any. I never use safes as I tend to carry my meagre collection of valuables around in my rucksack but I know some people like to use a safe.
Now let's take a look at the en-suite bathroom. I have seen trendier bathrooms but overall the standard of our bathroom was pretty good. The decor was a mixture of white and buttermilk tiles. Because we had chosen a privilege double room we were lucky to have a bath and a high powered massage shower that nearly blew my head off. Two pairs of slippers were placed on the floor in front of the shower cubicle and hung on the back of the door where two luxurious white bathrobes. We had two oval shaped wash basins with a middle tiled surface area where hand towels were neatly folded. Behind the towels sat a wicker basket filled with various toiletries all bearing the hotel's moniker. Everything in the bathroom was scrupulously clean and just perfect really. I loved all the freebies - even the hair net!
The first night of our stay we didn't actually go down to the bar as we were starving and the hotel doesn't serve evening meals although they have a small selection of snacks at the bar. We went out on to the main street leading into the centre where we found a pub serving food. The following night after a day's sightseeing we went to the bar quite early for a beer. The bar area is really funky with bright orange and cream contemporary armchairs to the left of the bar. Cacti and those plants that are called 'Mother-in-law Tongues' were placed at intervals along the main seating area in enormous coloured pots. I thought the lounge and bar area was more like a dance floor as part of the floor was carpeted but then the central section was a highly polished tiled floor with a section raised slightly higher which led to another seating area overlooking the top of the bar. The seats here were a wacky purple and triangular in shape. it was all very 70's retro which I thought was a lot of fun.
What I didn't think was a lot of fun was the price of a beer. My husband came back from the bar with a worried look on his face. He had been charged £4 a pint. I think he thought that he had been overcharged so he went back to the bar and questioned the price. My husband said, 'Surely, this can't be right - these are London prices.' With a surly look and an arrogant voice the waiter said, 'I have worked in London and I can assure you, Sir, these are not London prices. I gently kicked my husband on the shins to warn him not to get into a fight about the price of beer as it wasn't worth it. I said, Remember, this is Budapest, not Warsaw. We came to the conclusion that it was better to order a bottle of wine which was cheaper at just under £8.
So what's left to report - the breakfast room. Very well organised and well set out. Again, interesting decor. Like another set from a Bruce Lee film. The room has a central serving area which has two separate oval bases with two wooden pillars reaching into the ceiling decorated with tiny lights. A huge buffet is spread on top of the oval serving areas. The food was the standard buffet you generally receive in this part of the world; a selection of cooked meats, eggs, cereals, various types of rolls and bread varieties, cakes, pastries, fruit juices, yogurts etc. All fresh and well presented. Once we had filled our plate and poured a cup of coffee we went and sat down on the modern tables in the seating area. Tables sat four and were very spacious. Extra baskets of bread were already placed on the tables every morning with a selection of newspapers. Nice added extra. I loved the glass paneling that led through to the entrance lobby from the breakfast area - different shades of lurid green, purple and orange glass. All very funky.
As I mentioned at the beginning this hotel is in a great location because some of the wonderful attractions like the Parliament Building is about 5 minutes away on the metro as is Elizabeth Bridge and St Stephan's Basilica. The Museum of Fine art is close by which is a gem of a building even if there isn't a lot of art exhibited by famous artists there. The National Museum is only a kilometre away as is the Main Market Hall - another interesting and fascinating place to visit. The nearest metro station is Ferenciek tere M3. The metro is fast, clean and pretty safe. The nearest train station, Nyugati is 1.5km away. If you travel by car there is an underground car park and the charge is approx 24 euros per day.
Price wise - We went in May and paid 99 euros for the room only. I don't think that is too bad to say that Budapest is quite an expensive city, anyway.
Overall, I liked the Mercure Budapest. The decor was good fun, especially the bar area. Our room was very comfortable and the double bed was one of the comfiest I have ever slept in. Breakfasts were fine and the location was superb with lots of good transport connections. The only down side and there usually is one - was the manner of some members of staff. I found some of the young men to be very patronising and a little supercilious. Apart from that we had a good stay in this central hotel and really loved Budapest as a city.