We’d been lucky so far with inner city luxury brands (see: NH Collection Berlin), and the Kempinski was no exception. We arrived and the entrance was maybe 50m from the Metro station exit and we were greeted by an enormous revolving door entrance, which deposited us into the lobby. We approached the desk and checked if our room was ready, and were told that they’d check. We asked if someone would come and get us when they found out to which they agreed. We then went off to take some photos of the surrounds.
The lobby backs onto a bar and restaurant and includes a florist and ample seating areas – perfect for an impromptu meeting – lots of natural light and privacy.
We got back to reception and grabbed a seat and waited. And waited. I wasn’t quite sure what was taking so long and went back up to the desk to be told that, yes, our room was ready. Obviously a slight communication break down – I’d expected someone to find us when the room was ready. Not the end of the world. And so we headed up to our room.
We’re on the fifth floor overlooking the park, and the room is lovely. Sumptuous decor and quality everywhere – really nice. The bathroom has the hotel’s name-brand toiletries and robes.
We look at the desk and the reading material includes a thick coffee-table style hardback book on the Kempinski brand plus a plethora of brochures and pamphlets. We already had an idea of what we wanted to do so we headed straight out for our Hop On Hop Off bus tour.
When we came back we headed straight back out to explore the central city’s food offerings. We’d briefly flirted with the idea of eating at one of the hotel restaurants Nobu, but the prices were at the top end of the market so went out to find something a little more our price range.
Upon our return from dinner we went exploring the facilities and stuck our nose into the health centre. OMG: talk about everything you could want and more! For a start there is a long corridor with about six massage rooms on each side, half with two massage tables for couples massages, half with just one. At the end of the corridor is the gym – not just a treadmill, rowing machine and a few hand weights – this had the full set up with multiple machines, multiple racks of hand weights, treadmills and exercycles all in front of full length mirrors.
Suitably impressed we headed back up the hallway to the pool, which is a decent size, past the relaxation area towards the sauna area and an amusing sign indicating that we were entering a “Sauna Nudist Area”. Inside are a tepidarium, three sauna/steam rooms (aroma, sauna and steam) of various temperatures and a foot bathing area with an ice chute.
Ok: we definitely have to try those out – we nip upstairs and get changed and then head on down to try the pool. At one end is a giant tap like I had seen at the thermal baths, so I knew water would come out with sufficient force as to massage your neck head and shoulders, so i set about trying to find the button to switch it on.
I furrowed my brow and tried to figure out the puzzle. There was no button on the apparatus, so I spread my search further afield and lo: there on the wall near the entrance were three buttons. Stabbing blindly at them, the apparatus coughed into life with a powerful jet of water, but my attention was captured by a jet under the water coming out of the wall of the pool just beneath me.
I looked down and there were metal handles on each side of it: seeming to me to be for holding so you could force the jet to play along your back. Ooooh yeah – that’s exactly what it’s for and Ange giggles as the various looks of ecstasy play across my face. The pool isn’t hot – maybe best described as tepid, so before long we make our way through the relaxation area to the “Sauna Nudist Area”. I loved the little touches like the rack for holding your glasses while you’re sauna-ing.
We spend an enjoyable time in the sauna and steam room before retiring to the tepidarium which seems to me to be a pair of tiled, contoured couches in a slightly warmer than normal room. Very relaxing though, and it takes one of the attendants knocking on the window before we realise it’s now 10 pm, closing time!
The following morning we breakfast on muesli bars we bought at the local supermarket and then head back out to explore Budapest after leaving our luggage with the doorman. Upon our return we realise that they’ve switched off the revolving door and entry is now via a normal door within the revolving door – we’re momentarily nonplussed by the change!
Pros and Cons
Would I Go Back?
If I’m in Budapest and wanted a central (Pest) hotel with all the bells and whistles, I’d love to stay at the Kempinski. It’s a toss up whether to rave the most about the facilities, the location or the decor – I’ll have to give it to the facilities though – pool, gym and sauna complex!