SO good, always, for the gal to be back in a hotel that is even better than last time round. Six months ago at The Ritz-Carlton Budapest, one of the top luxury hotels in the whole of central-east Europe and certainly in Hungary, the club lounge was not ready, and the gym, pool and spa were not open. Now the pool is not only ready for business – see above – but the Technogym operates 24/7 and the spa, with ESPA products, opens any day now. This is, by the way, a really fun hotel.
A welcome here, as in lovely suite 828, may well include a macaroon display. Uniquely, I think, the ingredients of the fillings are displayed beneath the macaroons, namely in this case pistachio, poppy seed and very-berry. But under lively, creative Alsatian GM Nicolas Kipper, there are lots of new-luxury pointers in this 192-room hotel. Deák Street Kitchen Wine & Grill, named for the street on to which it opens (summer-long, you can eat out on the terrace) has a counter that holds the breakfast buffet, with lots of fruits and cold cuts as well as the pastries that many a European likes, displays at all times a grand selection of bottles.
At dinner, a sommelier dressed, as are all the servers, in a full-length leather apron over blue jeans, suggested a local Pinot Noir, Csakegyszoval 2014 St Andrea, and presented it, for tasting, in an elegant tall-stemmed goblet. This is style, as is the way water comes in real cut-glass goblets. Put such elements together with plain wood tables, napkins that remind me of best-quality drying-up cloths, and Rosenfeld china and WMF cutlery, and I think ‘new luxury’. Casual with elegance. My meal was salmon ceviche – the Executive Chef here is Colombian – followed by a celebrated Mangalica pork grill, a shortloin cut for extra flavour.
Nicolas Kipper had asked, to join us, his colleague Claudia Venturini, from Luxembourg, and Falklands-born photographer Martin Shaw and his Lithuanian assistant. Martin Shaw, who is photographing this luxury hotel for Ritz-Carlton, the brand, told me about his equipment. Whereas I travel hand-baggage, wherever, this professional duo have to lug round, wherever they go, eight big lights, tripods, and a Phase One camera by Cambo that apparently only ‘talks’ to the photographer via a laptop. Is this artificial intelligence coming into play or what? It just shows that Girlahead’s iPhone images are, well, light years away from what the big boys do. I was still determined to get a video of this gorgeous hotel’s Club Lounge. Open from 7 a.m., it has the best, a breakfast of fresh berry yoghurts, scrambled eggs in Revol casseroles and the coffee, maximum flavour, is from a Siemens machine. And, good for Nicolas Kipper, there are paper cups if you want them. New luxury. Now see the video below…