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accomodation in Budapest - reserve or wing it?

Slave Lake, Canada
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accomodation in Budapest - reserve or wing it?

We (husband and I) will be in Budapest from Sept 21 to Oct 4 and have reserved a hotel room for the first 3 nights. We are thinking of just looking for accomodation once we are there as we would like to travel outside of the city, possibly some overnights in other cities, even an overnight in Vienna. In reading the threads so far it sounds like most of the posters already have their accomodation booked. Some of the apartments sound interesting, do I have to book them ahead of time to stay there, or can we contact them in Budapest once we are there and enquire about vacancies? Also where do I find a website for superrooms?

Thanks, any help/suggestions appreciated.

11. Re: accomodation in Budapest - reserve or wing it?

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Slave Lake, Canada
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12. Re: accomodation in Budapest - reserve or wing it?

Well, I'm totally in love - what a wonderful city! I promised that I would post on our experiences "winging it" re accomodation. So here goes. Gotta start with a really big thank you to all the posts on Trip Advisor. Public transit was wonderful, convenient, and totally hassle free thanks to the information available on this site, well it would have been nice to find a transit map, but we got by on tourist maps pretty wel. Saw lots of Kontrollers at the Entrance to metros - only stopped once at exit. They were very polite.

I am not sorry that we did not book all of our rooms in advance, I had booked our first 3 nights at the Best Western Grand Hungaria Hotel. (because I could pay for the rooms with air miles). It was nice enough, and had a truly humoungous breakfast buffet, but coffee definitely not up to Budapest standards, the location okay but not fabulous, and more expensive than I was hoping to find.

We took a "hop on hop off" tour of Budapest the day after arriving, to give ourselves a feel for the layout of the city. It was enjoyable, hopped off at Gellert hill and wandered about for a while then hopped on the next bus, noticed that tour guides definitely vary in English language proficiency...

Took a walk that afternoon armed with a list of possible hotels in the area that appealed to us, also kept eyes open for any in the area (V or Vl) not listed on TA or in our guide books. The downside to not booking ahead is that of course, your first or second choice may be full right now, but having the luxury of a 2 week stay in Budapest, you may be able to book it for 4 or 5 days from now, the 4 or 5 days spent in a hotel that maybe you don't prefer, but is still in the area you like. We spent 4 nights at hotel Unio - great location, but definitely overpriced and underloved (had only breakfast buffet that we actually avoided, went instead to a bakery on Oktogon with fabulous pastries, szendvics, and cafe americano - oh how we miss breakfast szendvics). Decided at the last minute to go to Pecs one day later than planned so were suddenly looking for a room on a friday night - this time I just phoned hotels listed in guide book and got one night at Hotel Medosz. This is a bloody fabulous bargain - not in any way fancy, as the book noted the furnishings are a little "tired", but very clean. (telephone is out in the hallway - bathrooms ensuite, but tub with hand shower in our room - no stand up shower) Also, the staff were very friendly, the breakfast was great and the location is wonderful (on Jokai ter just accross Andrassy utca from the completely charming Lizst Ferenc ter).

Pecs was a wonderful city - arrived Saturday noon sans reservations. Oddone123, I tried for the Palatinus, but they were full. Happily the Aranyhajo Fogado right next door had a room available (more like a suite actually with separate sitting room - for 56 Euros!). Spent a lovely afternoon, evening and following day wandering all around Pecs (our train left late Sunday afternoon and the hotel stored our luggage for us after we checked out). We encountered a marching band in red wigs, an orchestral performance taking place under a tree just outside a church, a climb up some truly vertiginous streets to a hotel that you can see from central Pecs - I only like hiking if there is cold beer at the end.

Back in Budapest we spent our final 4 nights at Hotel Central Basilica on Hercegprimas. The front of the hotel has a view of St Stevens(Szent Istvan) Basilica. Though our room had an inner courtyard, rather than Basilica view it was still my favourite of all of the Budapest hotels we stayed at. Renovated to within an inch of its life, (or else built to blend tastefully with its' neighbors) the rooms were spacious, clean and incredibly comfortable. The breakfast buffet delicious, and adorned with one of those automatic esspresso machines which I now covet. In the "learn from my mistakes" section: if you stay there and read about the "laundry service" offered under "hotel amenities" it is a good idea to ask first what the cost will be - I didn't and had the largest laundry bill I've ever paid in my life.

We were fortunate in that we had lots of time to wander around Budapest and enjoy it at a leisurely pace, this meant that searching for a hotel once we were there not such a huge sacrifice time-wise. I sincerely hope that we will be able to return, and I would then like to do a short term apartment rental. One of my favourite things about Budapest were the markets.

Though I did enjoy the cafes, etterems, and cuckrazdas. How can you not love a city where the sidewalk cafes have blankets draped over the backs of the chairs?

I wish I had taken notes on all of the places where we stopped for food, beer, coffee etc. Here are a few I remember

We went to cafe M (Kertez utca near Kiraly utca), as recommended on this site - the food and atmosphere were great. I loved Rose on Hegedu u.(if you walk on Dob toward Erzsebet Korut, turn left on Akacfa - do this during the day and check out the wonderful Kaiser's Szupermarket , it will be closed by dinner time so carry on and Akacfa will turn into Hegedu, Rose will be on your right hand side - the goose thigh cooked in its own fat with champagne cabbage and aged plums was delicious. My husband's favourite was Kulaks (just behind the New York Coffee House - a beautiful and elegant coffee experience).

Andrassy Utca is a great place to walk, and stop for refreshments. We had beer served by formally dressed waiters under a gorgeous tree at the Premier Etterem and Terasz one late afternoon. The street was closed to vehicle traffic because of "critical mass" - a day of demonstrating the superiority of bicycles over cars I think? There were 3 men on the other side of the street performing South American Aboriginal music, but dressed in Plains costumes - lovely and surreal.

On the 30th of September large piles of demolition debris started appearing on the sidewalks, by night time a lot of it had been scavenged, or the more usable bits had been arranged as if for sale, the next morning garbage trucks were beggining to pick up the piles of what, presumably no one wants. We were wondering if this is a city wide phenomenon that occurs at the end of the month? or is it something that happens every week but on different dates in different parts of the city?

Also - the ubiquitous graffiti, is this a celebration of freedom of expression after the fall of communism? did it arise as a means of anonymous free expression during the communist period? Is it something that Hungarians have always done?

Finally - Go to Budapest, and for crying out loud don't try to do it in a weekend.

Denver, Colorado
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for Pecs, Budapest
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13. Re: accomodation in Budapest - reserve or wing it?

greyj,

So glad you had such a good time in Hungary. (I've been wondering how it turned out.)

A couple of other things I must admit I'm pleased about (and I'm sure that the real experts who post on this forum will be pleased with as well).

1) That you found you got some helpful info here. Sometimes it gets discouraging to read comments about all the problems people have had (particularly with the public transportation) when they could have so easily been avoided just by reading the posts here before going.

2) That you enjoyed Pecs. Sounds as though you found a good hotel there too. I think that Pecs deserves more tourist interest from this side of the pond than it appears to get. (I'm not surprised that the Palatinus was full on a Saturday night. Their 'weekend special' seems to be a big favorite.)

I'm headed back next month. This time I'll be spending 2 nights in Pecs, as I didn't see enough of it the last time. Am hoping to take a side trip to Villanyi maybe. Will have 10 nights in Budapest altogether, staying at the Gellert (which I like a lot) again.

Thanks for the report. Maybe sometime we can meet up in Budapest - who knows?

Liz

Slave Lake, Canada
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14. Re: accomodation in Budapest - reserve or wing it?

Hi Liz

I agree, Pecs definitely is worth visiting for at least an overnight, or two. Enjoyed the trip there by train as well, great way to see the countryside. We were fortunate in that the weather was beautiful throughout our trip. I loved our hotel in Pecs, the windows overlooked Kiraly utca which was wonderfully quiet early Sunday morning - just a few people out walking their dogs, then a large tour group assembled led by guides holding up colour coded signs, I felt so sorry for them being herded through a town that I was free to explore at my leisure. The ice cream is delicious - the chocolate had definitely been dallying with rum. Maybe we will meet up someday in Budapest - or Pecs, wouldn't that be fun.

15. Re: accomodation in Budapest - reserve or wing it?

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16. Re: accomodation in Budapest - reserve or wing it?

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17. Re: accomodation in Budapest - reserve or wing it?

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