To Buda or To Pest – that is the question? And badly misquoted Shakespearean references aside, that actually is the question for most travellers planning accommodation for a first visit to Budapest (or a second one in my case). A little introduction for those of you who have never been: the composition of the city of Budapest reflects that of its name, a comfortable jigsaw pairing of two distinct sides – Pest and Buda, divided by the undulating grandeur of the majestic Danube.
Staying on the Buda side enables hilltop, panoramic vistas across the city and a more sleepy and mellow ambience by night but of course, as a staunch urban girl and a devout Londoner, my inclination naturally fell within the boundaries of Pest, the side of the city pulsating with opulent coffee houses, renowned tourist attractions, easy transportation (and no hills to climb!)
And with the decision made to base ourselves in Pest, the Prestige Hotel became our home for our long weekend.
The older I get, the more aware I become about my hotel and accommodation preferences. I always embrace variety within my travel accommodation choices, sampling everything from cosy bed and breakfasts to lavish luxury hotels. But for short European city breaks, I love nothing more than a chic, boutique hotel that marries together elegance, personalised service and individuality with convenience and comfort. And dare I use the F word but I think Prestige Hotel Budapest may actually be my favourite ever European boutique hotel.
My inbuilt compass is so malfunctioning that it barely recognises the north from the south but even I could have found this hotel if struggling given its undeniable location just a two-minute walk away from one of the most striking attractions in the city – St Stephen’s Basilica in the heart of downtown Budapest.
And its positioning right within the hub of the Budapest tourist scene is one of the primary reasons it appealed to me. Aside from the Basilica, we were within a short walk of the Hungarian Parliament, Chain bridge, the Danube riverside and we chose to head to the Buda side of the city on foot as well.
As we walked into the hotel lobby on the morning of our arrival, the squeaky clean, mosaic-adorned floors gleamed so flawlessly that we could just about see our pores in the reflection but then what else would you expect from an establishment that opened only a year ago, the newest addition to the Zara Hotel Group.