The 6th District in Budapest is famed as an entertainment hub and centre of cultural life, home to the Hungarian State Opera and several theatres. It has solidified its position as the Broadway of Budapest. The Hungarian State Opera is an unmistakable musical institution close to the hotel. Its imposing exterior hints that Budapest and its culture were held in high regard at the end of the 19th century. At the time, the city was dubbed the Paris of the East. To this day, the surroundings still exude the aura of that age. Hard Rock Hotel Budapest is close to the 7th District, renowned as the centre of nightlife and home to the iconic ruin bars. The Hard Rock hotel chain thus decided to erect its first hotel in this part of Europe in an utterly inviting and lively Budapest district. Considering Budapest is dominated by classic hotels, we were convinced the addition of Hard Rock Hotel Budapest enriched the hotel scene with its rock style and experience. Our evaluation below thus aimed to see whether they succeeded.
The hotel boasts an underground garage for 70 vehicles, where guests can park their cars by a car lift. Only 200 metres away, guests can opt for a public parking house; however, it is not the cheapest in the city. We strongly recommend taking a short, scenic stroll to the city centre. Still, taxis are ubiquitous, in case you are not a fan of walking. Public transport in Budapest is progressing year-on-year. Likewise, air accessibility is improving, courtesy of the Hungarian low-cost airline carrier Wizzair. Guests that prefer to travel by train can take the international trains of the Hungarian State Railways to reach Budapest from all directions. From the train station, metros take visitors to any part of the city. Budapest is undisputedly easy to access. Our tip: opt for bicycles to travel around the city effortlessly.
COLD STARTER - Architecture and aesthetics
The hotel comprises a classical and modern building linked by a joint hall. Its exterior features graffiti stretching from the ground floor to the sixth floor. What makes the hotel stand out from the rest is its golden crown, in the form of aluminium and golden facade above the sixth floor. The unmistakable exterior proudly boasts the logotype of the hotel chain. The entire complex, covering 10,000 square metres, was designed by Hungarian Studio’100 Architects, while the Lázaro Rosa-Violán architectural studio from Barcelona created the interior design. Tiles reminiscent of gemstones adorn the rooms. Such a design of tiles was once at the forefront of ceramics. You will notice them in another striking colour in the hotel restaurant.
WARM ENTRÉE - The staff and the culinary experience
The hotel restaurant, both a breakfast room and à la carte restaurant, is an alluring, colourful room that boasts comfortable furniture. A refined buffet offer complements the restaurant menu. All dishes are prepared in an open kitchen in front of the guests. The staff in the restaurant was nonchalantly kind during breakfast, fitting for a rock hotel. They have no issue going the extra mile – taking guests on a tour of the conference rooms and whatnot. Conversely, the reception staff and personnel in the hotel store did not seem a tad interested in the quality of our stay or well-being. Perhaps professionalism is not up to the five-star standard.
MAIN COURSE – The meetings offering at the hotel
More often than not, ideas and debates concerning a proper rock room are reduced to the concept of a man cave. Luckily, the rooms in Hard Rock Hotel Budapest are far from that. The hotel features quality classic hotel rooms with a few rock elements. Defined by a mix of industrial and walnut furniture, the rooms feature a warm wooden floor. One of the highlights is the white marble cabinet separating the bathroom from the living area. Guests will appreciate the electronically-managed lighting that contributes to their general well-being. The room revolves around a wooden headboard that boasts a power-flower psychedelic motif. We were greatly impressed by the industrial-style bathroom and the spacious shower with impeccable tiles that continue on the bathroom floor. As suitable for the hotel, guests can bob their heads to the rhythm of their favourite rock hits blasting from JBL speakers by connecting with The Sound of Your Stay® app. When looking at the mirror, guests can compare their size with rock stars. The Olivia Natural cosmetics in the rooms are praiseworthy.
Budapest is home to numerous terraces boasting gorgeous views of the city. The rooftop terrace atop Hard Rock Hotel Budapest adjoins the Roxy meeting hall. Combined, they form an exclusive venue for an array of events. On their way to the rooftop, guests will already be impressed by the lift playing select music and a large digital screen. The Roxy Hall measures 155 square metres, next to the terrace spanning 100 square metres. On the ground floor, two well-equipped meeting rooms await guests.
DESSERT – The extras
A part of the hotel lobby is the Rock Shop with clothes and accessories of the Hard Rock brand. More than the shopping experience itself, guests will be tempted by a Fender guitar that can be brought to their room for a private jam session!
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
In a five-star hotel, one expects a world-class staff. Apart from a staff member in the restaurant, who showed us the conference hall, the personnel appeared utterly uninterested.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
The hotel is home to more than 50 rock artefacts, including a purple coat made from artificial fur worn by Prince, a glitter-covered black dress belonging to Beyoncé, a hand-written letter by Freddy Mercury, John Lennon’s notebook, Katy Perry’s concert dress and Madonna’s high school yearbook.
The hotel cooperates with WWF in the Earth Hour project, aimed at saving energy.
FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
The Hard Rock Hotel brand is supposed to surprise and stand out. That is what we expected to experience ahead of our visit. We thus eagerly awaited a hotel with an authentic story. Alas, the hotel falls short of expectations, offering only rock and roll relics and Fender Stratocasters that only impress dinosaur rock fans. The hotel will attract numerous rock fans who will, against their expectations of a rock hotel, experience a rather classic hotel service. Hard Rock Hotel Budapest, nonetheless, makes an impression with a phenomenal terrace combined with a meeting hall unlike any other in Budapest.
FINAL GRADE: 4.83 GOLD City Meeting Hotel
GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60