The gal was reminded yet again that Kempinski Hotel Corvinus is part of the locale when locals began to come into ES Biztro for breakfast from as early as 7 a.m. Commuters arrived – there is an outside entrance on Déak Street – and hung their lodens and parkas up on old-fashioned curved-wood coat stands, of which this New York-style bistro sensibly has a large supply. But discerning Budapest people use this thoughtful luxury hotel’s all-day eatertainment place at any time. At dinner, some are alone, others in couples, others in groups of all-girl friends. Gourmets come for such delights as ribeye-in-the-bath, admittedly not on the printed menu (a simple, easy-read A-4 sheet on a wood clipboard). Ask and it may, if you are lucky, be available.
So, there was my ribeye, dry-aged 28 days and vacuum-packed in its own fat, with rosemary. A short time later it arrived, out of its bath and served on a platter, with no-salt fries and spinach. Yum yum. Wood tables are simply set, with linen bistro napkins, forks, and bright-red Laguiole knives, but order a steak and they bring you an even sharper Laguiole, with a black blade. A sommelier suggested 2015 Villány Weninger & Gere Villanyi Franc, perfect, and we talked about what a great success this whole ground floor of the hotel is. From the main restaurant a curved walkway takes you back to the main lobby, with a residential-type sitting area, with working fire, behind. Along the outer wall of that curved walkway changing shows of striking, bright-coloured modern art look down on seating areas that are not surprisingly always busy.
Each seat along the walkway. has a handy electric socket, and an individually-controlled anglepoise light on the wall above. WeWork move over. This is WorthwhileWork at Kempinski, which is made all the more enjoyable by excellent free WiFi, and an ES Kiosk ready to serve you coffee, snacks or even a sandwich to keep you going. And the sitting area, with the fire, also has a food and drink counter, and a full working flower shop too so if you were working spreadsheets so hard and forgot a meeting you can buy a display of tulips – national flower of Hungary as well as Netherlands – to take along in atonement.
This is a luxury hotel that can have many adjectives applied to it, including consistent, reliable, thoughtful. It is also fun, with such elements as hot croissants carried to tables at breakfast time. In addition it has Hungarian efficiency. The gym was set to open at 6.15 a.m. and it did, on the dot. And it cares about fuss-free simplicity. Want your boarding card printed out, asked a concierge? Email it to me, right now, and I will print it out, right now. And when I came to leave, unexpectedly I found a bellman outside my door, ready to help with the Porsche Design Rimowa. He helped me into the already-waiting Mercedes to go to the airport. The driver told me he works for Ma Voiture, a Geneva-based company that offers full destination management (Ma Voiture is run by four brothers who fortunately got out of Syria four years ago, one brother, an aspiring poet, teaches at a university here in Budapest and runs the Hungarian branch of the company). How lucky travellers are to experience such great hotels as this, and hear such human stories. SEE VIDEOS, FIRST OF SUITE 860 AND THEN OF BREAKFAST IN ES BIZTRO