Radisson Blu Budapest: The weirdest best deal

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Back in January we visited the Radisson Blu Beke Budapest twice in the span of a week (with the IC Budapest in between for NYE). And even though there was only a day or two gap between the two stays, and despite having a lengthy conversation about the taxi scam, the guy at checkin acted as though he’d never seen me before.

Contrast that to the InterContinental we stayed at in between, where when I went down to check out the lady who checked me in said, “422?” to confirm our room number. She remembered my room number two days later at a giant hotel with hundreds of people. But at the Radisson he asks if I want a map- the same map he gave me 4 days ago.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing, or maybe it’s just that hotel… but my guess is that the staff has decided that being extremely cold is more luxurious. Just a guess. But I think the hotel tows the line into rude- i’ve been there four times, and every single time, every single employee is equally cold.

And upon checking in, no one even told me I was upgraded to a suite. So the first time I was surprised to get a suite. The second time I was surprised to get an even bigger room suite.

Whoa. It was seriously big and… and…

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Radisson Blu Beke

Radisson Blu Beke 2

What generation is this?

I would like to say “antique” refers to things of high value. The proper word for the decor here is “old”, not to be confused with antique. Ritz Carlton pulls off “antique”. The InterContinental Paris Le Grand is “antique” looking in decor. This is old. Which is polite.

I’m pretty sure the last remodeling was 1970.

But who cares right? We visited the same hotel in August of 2013 and loved the hotel location and better yet the price. It used to be 9,000 points and now it’s 15,000 (for two nights because of the credit card).

But when I say the last remodeling was 1970, I mean it. In any other hotel, the hallway lights turn off at midnight but have a motion sensor. At the Radisson Blu Beke I walked to my room in the dark. Weird.

IMG_0263But what’s odd is that I assumed they would have had better heaters in 1970. I called down and told them that the heater wasn’t working, and they came to the room and “fixed it” and it remained equally cold. After friends got there, they confirmed their room was also freezing. And upon our return the room was still freezing.

Our friends had a strategy of closing all the doors to the suite and not leaving that room. Smart tip, so we did that the second time.

The first time we just left our coats on, or I brought my blanket with me to the couch for working on the computer.

But perhaps the most surprising thing from the 1970s is how short people used to be. The blanket was long enough to entirely cover my feet only if I was willing to expose the top half of my torso. And if you’ve seen the his and her style duvets that Europe sometimes offers, this is the same but half the size in each direction.

Some hotels offer pillow menus, or options. Here the pillows come in one option, “giant neckbending”. I’ve been far too spoiled with soft pillows.

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Conclusion

What’s curious to me is how in the world the hotel remains a part of the “Radisson Blu” brand. Have Club Carlson folks never seen this hotel? I don’t care either way, but I’d hate Lucky to book the hotel assuming it’s “Radisson Blu” quality only to find out that “Park Inn” would be a high compliment.

But truthfully, it’s not bad at all, except in winter. The heater can be turned up, but no heat comes out.

I’ve stayed here many times and each time I return I take note of how dead pan the staff is. I saw a bellboy smile.

Would I recommend it? No. But will I stay there again? Heck yes. The best deal in town. Seriously, 15,000 points for two nights is a steal, and I kind of hope they don’t refurbish so I can keep the price. However, they really should change the name to a Park Inn.

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14 Comments

  1. The radisson blu Falconer in Frederiksberg in Copenhagen is similar. The furnishing style is definitely “old”. Just the physical look of the rooms is really basic and cheap looking. And it’s a Radisson Blu, supposedly the luxury brand.
    On the other hand, it’s not cheap on points. But you get a nespresso machine in the room (at least the suite we had) and the staff are really nice and very competent.
    So, I guess the only thing that’s the same is that it’s supposed to be luxurious, but it’s actually just old 😉 and it really is in a great location

    Reply
    • I have to say, the standard for “Radisson Blu” is very low. This hotel was half sold at $60 a night when we were there and with good reason. Now I love other hotels, like Vienna and Sydney… but I don’t expect much. I actually expect Radissons to be old now and am surprised when they are nice. 😀

      Reply
  2. I trust you have seen the movie Grand Hotel Budapest! Definitely a different sort of attentiveness and service.

    Reply
    • I have not, I’m not much of a movie person but I heard it referenced while there. I have to say though, it’s a different place in general.

      Reply
  3. Just came back from a stay at the IC Budapest. Great hotel, great location, great view of the Danube and Szechenyi Bridge. Stayed the RB Vienna and had the opposite issue with the heat. Too hot! Couldn’t adjust it and someone came to “fix it,” but it was the same. Good location at that hotel.

    Reply
    • Weird, we stayed at the Rad Blu in Vienna and the heat wasn’t working at first and they came to fix it lol. Still LOVE that hotel. And love the IC Budapest too.

      Reply
  4. Who is Lucky?

    Reply
    • It’s the nick name for Ben of onemileatatime.com. But I was just joking because his blog is all about luxury travel and this hotel, despite being called a Radisson Blu is not a luxury hotel.

      Reply
    • lol, I didn’t complain at all. In fact, I thanked them for the great upgrade. Then secretly posted pictures to Facebook of the hilarious deer. If that deer is funny to you… idk…

      Reply
  5. That’s seriously old… I have been lucky with my Radisson Blu stays so far, all very nice! Given that Carlson has their own marketing devision, I can’t believe these hotels have not been downgraded to Radisson or Park Inn.
    But I do agree, I’d stay at those prices as well, just adjust my expectations! Planning to try out a few of them in the Baltics later this summer!

    Reply
  6. I will be using Radisson Blu Beke this coming April. I am a second thought if I have to cancel. I still have time to cancel and book another hotel. I will be in Radisson Blu Alcron in Prague, any review on this hotel?

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  7. Did the hotel provide free breakfast as part of the suite upgrade? I’m planning to book this hotel and wondering if the room upgrade+free breakfast with points (7,500 points for 2 nights) is worth it. If they extend free breakfast for elite members anyway, then I definitely won’t bother to upgrade. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Hi Drew,

    I emailed you a couple of days ago (using snthyssina9@gmail.com) and last I checked, I didn’t receive a response. I like to know if you could assist me to make our dreams come true. That is traveling to Bora Bora using miles / points. I believe I read somewhere that you get a thrill out of traveling using the least amount of miles/points possible. I totally agree; however, I am new to this miles/points “games” and was hoping you could assist.

    I am not picky with which airlines but prefer ones that charge the least amount of taxes/fees naturally. I hope to stay for 6-7 nights with at least 2-3 nights at the Thalasso in Bora Bora.

    I already have Citi Aadvantage Platinum 50K miles and IHG card 80K. What’s my next cards to apply for additional cards to get us both free tickets and hotels?

    Because I am new to this any step-by-step guidance is much appreciated.

    TB

    Reply

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We have spent the majority of our marriage traveling full time, living out of hotels.   All the while, we list our expenses publicly, budgeting $25,000 a year for our nomadic life while still staying in mostly 4 or 5 star hotels across ~20 countries a year.
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