I just wrapped up a whirlwind week-long trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest. While I’ll have more to report on from the trip (including the best hotel stay of my entire life), I wanted to write about a pretty disappointing experience that I had staying at the Hilton Budapest.
While we were going back and forth on our hotel option in Budapest (including holding a hotel stay at a different but similar-calibre hotel until a couple nights prior to our stay), our family decided to book a Loft Suite at the Hilton Budapest.
Our first impressions of the hotel were really positive. The hotel is located in the historic Castle District, which was truly gorgeous. However, be warned that this is across the Danube River from the city centre (Pest), which means that it’ll take a while to get to some tourist attractions. While I personally didn’t mind this, especially since I really love walking around cities, my parents found it especially annoying that we would have to make the 20-odd minute trek and a funicular ride, or hail a taxi if we wanted to nap or grab some stuff from the hotel during the day.
Hilton Budapest Exterior
The service at the hotel was unfortunately really disappointing. While I wasn’t expecting to be fawned over, there were times when the service felt really cold and unfriendly, which isn’t ideal especially in what is considered one of the Budapest’s best hotels. The staff also weren’t very good at responding to or anticipating any requests. For example, the Loft Suite that we booked had a sofa-bed. Given that our party had three people, I was expecting the sofa-bed to either be fully set up or that the bedding would already be provided. Instead, we had to wait a significant amount of time for them to deliver and then set up the bedding, which delayed our travel plans for the first day.
Hilton Budapest Loft Suite Sofabed
The biggest service lapse during our stay happened when we requested an extra duvet/comforter at 11PM on the first night. You’d think that this would be a fairly straightforward request. However, it never arrived. We called down two more times, and were told each time that it was “being delivered shortly”. We waited until 1AM, before eventually giving up. The next day, we tried requesting the comforter again with the front desk associate, who said that he would “talk to housekeeping and have it delivered”. Despite this, it was never delivered and we had to call down three more times on the second day for them to finally deliver it. Yes. That’s six times that we had to request the duvet. This overall experience didn’t reflect well on the hotel’s customer service.
Hilton Budapest Front Desk
For our stay, we had booked a loft suite, which was able to accommodate three people. While you’d expect a hotel to offer all suite guests executive club access. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem like it was the case, which I thought was slightly disappointing and an oversight on the Hilton’s part. I’m not complaining about this, but I think it would be a nice service that the hotel could offer.
Hilton Budapest Loft Suite
This last point isn’t really a complaint, however, I thought I’d just point this out. The hotel offered a “Budapest highlights” tour, which cost 28 Euros and included a driver and a local tour guide for hotel guests. We were really excited about this, especially considering we had a phenomenal walking tour organised by the Mandarin Oriental in Prague. Unfortunately, the tour was disappointing. First, the hotel didn’t provide us with any confirmation, as they were waiting for extra participants to run the tour. Then, they then gave the wrong starting time for the tour, and we had to call down the clarify. When it came to the tour itself, the tour guide was perfectly knowledgeable and friendly. However, I was slightly disappointed that much of the tour was quite literally conducted in a car. We didn’t have much time to stop and see many of the sights. Instead, we just drove around in a car, stopping only at the Gellert Hotel and Spa, the New York Cafe and Liberty Square. I thought this was disappointing and was expecting more time to actually leave the car and explore some of the sights.
Budapest Chain Link Bridge
While the stay was disappointing, I wouldn’t rate it as an actively bad experience. However, there are definitely many ways in which the hotel could seriously work to improve their product. Granted, this came off the back of two phenomenal hotel stays, but I was still expecting more from the Hilton. I won’t be returning to the hotel anytime soon.
What’s your most disappointing recent hotel stay?