With life gradually restarting, hotels are following suit. Now seems like the ideal time to report on our night spent at one of the most beautifully located hotels in Budapest – and the gastronomic marathon we enjoyed there.

As 2020 was about domestic tourism, last autumn we revived our old series, during which we test hotels in Budapest. This seemed suitable because, in the absence of foreign travel, those living in Hungary can also now be considered potential customers. By doing so, we also hope to promote and support the tourism sector suffering so much at this time.

After October’s stay at the Kempinski, the Budapest Marriott Hotel was next in line, where we spent a memorable weekend on 7-8 November – only for new closures to be announced the very next day.

We therefore had to postpone the publication of our article. Now seems the right time to give it an airing.

We Love Budapest Guest Experience

The We Love Budapest Guest Experience series showcases hotels in Budapest that our staff visit for free, on the proviso that we also have the opportunity to share any negative experiences in our subsequent article. Hotel management cannot vet the material before it is published.

I must confess to overindulging somewhat during this weekend, and not just because this was my last classic experience in the hospitality sector. The average Hungarian rarely sleeps in five-star luxury in Budapest, not only due to budgetary reasons, but also because anyone living here would have little reason to do so. 

A shame, as they’re missing a unique experience. Integral to it all is that the Marriott has simply unbeatable views: all its rooms overlook the Danube and her bridgesCitadella and Buda Castle. The hotel itself is no historic landmark, rather it represents Western luxury from the ’70s to the present day.

It has only been a Marriott since 1994. The Duna InterContinental was built in 1969, bookending a decade in which the significant post-war reconstruction of the once elegant Danube Promenade was carried out. Liz Taylor celebrated her 40th birthday here, and since paparazzi didn’t really exist in Hungary at the time, the party of the decade generated a new industry around stars such as Richard BurtonMichael CaineRingo Starr and Grace Kelly

In 1986, Freddie Mercury stayed here in the Presidential Suite, and a video exists of him rehearsing the Hungarian folk song Tavaszi szél on the terrace.

And we stayed here too, although our humble personas attracted few paparazzi – yet, for a weekend, we could feel like a royal couple. In the third-floor corner suite, upon arrival, chilled Kreinbacher champagne, marzipan cake, truffle balls and other sweets awaited, complemented by a lovely greetings card. 

The spacious living room had a balconyNespresso coffee machinebathroom with bathtub and bidet, with fine toiletries – everything you would expect from a five-star hotel. Not surprisingly, prices start at €159 per night. with breakfast, although rates for individual rooms change constantly.

The panorama of Gellért Hill, the Castle DistrictElizabeth and Chain Bridges, which can be admired ad infinitum from your double bed, will be stunning day and night. If you can spend the night in such a modern, comfortable suite, you’ll joyfully bounce on the bed like a little child. 

There’s one slight drawback though: although the room was completely soundproofed, the embankment traffic, including tram 2, could be heard if you listened carefully enough, even with the windows closed. Of course, this is normal in the heart of the city, and would only affect light sleepers.

From the outside, you can sense that it is a huge hotel. It comprises 342 rooms and 22 suites on ten floors, 16 rooms for rent and a large ballroom with a terrace – the Marriott is one of the most important event venues in Budapest. 

Walking around the hotel, we noticed that although it underwent a complete interior renovation in 2019, receiving new cladding and furnishings, it basically retained the full palette of colour and design from the 1960s.

On the ground floor, you find the DNB Budapest bistro (the services of which will be discussed in detail), the open business lounge called Liz And Chain Greatroom (where there was also a home-office service, with a light breakfast, unlimited coffee and water, use of the gym and two-course daily menu), while in June 2020, the Liz and Chain Sky Lounge opened on the ninth floor at the site of the former M Club Lounge, previously closed to the public.

The Marriott maintains a large, well-equipped gym for guest and non-guest alike, where the view substantially embellishes any exercise session. We also tried the smaller, family spa (with sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and fancy showers) – there was no one but us there at the time.

When we arrived on Saturday morning, Lazy Breakfast was still in full swing at the DNB – sadly yet to be re-introduced after the last shutdown.

buffet breakfast was opened last autumn to outside guests on Saturdays, so those who could not spend the night at the hotel could sample the myriad delicacies. Cheeses and cold cuts, a range of pastries, muesli and cereals, made-to-order omelette specialties, waffle and pancake creations, and lighter hot dishes, are also part of this breakfast.

We are delighted to report, however, the return of the great traditional Sunday brunch, given the green light with the reopening of the DNB terrace overlooking the Danube.

Here, breakfast is complemented by hot and cold premium dishes such as sushismoked beef tongue and duck breast, seafood bowls, sandwiches, mini-burgers, prawns prepared right in front of us with garlic and chili, confit pork ribs with caramelised quincebarramundi sea bass with spinach and sweet caraway, Kunmadaras lamb stew, as well as an extremely wide selection of desserts, fruit, vegetables and, of course, sparkling and regular wines.

Regular couples and families with children appeared at the DNB bistro, festively dressed, and unselfconsciously laid into the champagne. This was November after all, but I doubt that the quality and atmosphere of the terrace brunches would be much different now. You can partake between noon and 3pm, the price 11,500 forints.

On the terrace of the DNB restaurant, two- and three-course daily menus are currently offered as part of the re-opening campaign (for 2,900 and 3,900 HUF respectively), but we must also mention the restaurant concept itself: it showcases modern Hungarian cuisine with domestic ingredients, from farm to table

Last November, roast goose liver, chicken paprika, Hungarian knuckle terrine, rack of lambmangalica chop, sirloin steak and desserts of chimney cake, Somlói galuska and máglyarakás were also on the menu (4,600 HUF). They don’t complicate it too much, but the taste experience is complex and the excellent quality of the ingredients shines through.

The waiter is willing to recommend the right wine for the dishes, otherwise they concentrate exclusively on the Hungarian wine regions. Currently, their menu is slightly more concise, but it gets updated to suit the season, and there are some pretty promising items on it right now. The kitchen was active, offering takeaway and home delivery, during the recent closures – these options remain, with a very wide selection, with special configurations for Ramadan and Orthodox Easter.

The Marriott provided a real gastronomic marathon when we were there, but we weren’t bored in the evening either. The Liz and Chain Sky Lounge has a pleasant cocktail bar with delicious snacks and there’s always that majestic panorama twinkling of an evening, beckoning unfailingly.

There was even live music on that Saturday. The bar is open from Wednesday to Saturday. Outsiders can reach it by lift, alongside reception – a tempting option for anyone looking for a taste of Marriott glamour.

Budapest Marriott Hotel
District V. Apáczai Csere János utca 4