Four Seasons in the city and an e-bike – how to spend a lavish, but exciting weekend in Budapest

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On Sunday evening we would be on a cruise ship on the Danube, but we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend a good part of the weekend enjoying the delights of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

Sightseeing would wait for another day, but first it was time to relax, unwind and indulge in the luxurious surroundings of our five-star accommodation for the night – the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. And with such a short time frame, why not spoil ourselves?

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Located in the heart of the city overlooking the Danube, Gresham Palace is an Art Nouveau architectural masterpiece that embodies the spirit of Budapest’s ‘Golden Age’ glamor.

View of the Szechenyi Chain Bridge from the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. Image: Four Seasons

From the moment you pass through the hotel’s iconic wrought-iron peacock gate and enter the vast lobby, adorned with over two million mosaic tiles and eye-catching chandeliers, you’ll immediately realize you’re somewhere special.

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We were booked in one of the Danube View rooms on the fifth floor overlooking Budapest’s landmark Szechenyi Chain Bridge, but we were spoiled for choice between panoramic camera shots thanks to the great views of other famous sights like Buda Hills, the Royal Castle and history Fishermen’s Bastion.

The room itself, entered from the plush-carpeted corridors through a large wooden door, was opulent to say the least, with an art deco interior, king-size bed, and large marble bathroom, as well as all the amenities you’d expect from a five -star hotel rooms with satellite TV, room safe, private bar and Nespresso coffee machine.

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With rumbling stomachs, going out for an early ‘goulash’ lunch made sense considering we had reserved dinner at Muzsa, the hotel’s newest dining offering, to be as hungry as possible for the occasion.

The grand entrance to the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. Image: Four Seasons

A few hours of relaxation at the hotel’s spa would help work up an appetite, and being so relaxed it was difficult not to fall asleep as just the odd dip in the infinity pool kept the “zzz” at bay.

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Dressed and booted for dinner, it was time to dive into the elegant yet playful vibe muzsa and an evening of “Live Musings” where we would enjoy a cabaret-like experience with live music, inspired craft cocktails and a mix of Asian and Hungarian delights.

In A Few Lost Hours, our taste buds were taken on a culinary journey as we sampled a selection of delicious small dishes, from Beef Tartare Cone with Soy and Truffles to Sea Bass Sashim with Yuzu Say, Tobiko and Radish and Peking Duck Dumplings with spring onion, cucumber and hoisin. Delicious desserts were citrus variation with coconut and sesame, black sesame panna cotta with sudachi and matcha creme brulee with mango. Delicious!

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Cocktail picks included the sumptuous and thirst-quenching “Pure Destiny” and “Shine Through Clouds,” which was crisp and refreshing with hints of lemongrass and grapefruit.

One of the Danube view rooms. Image: Anna Illes

Also, thanks to my wife’s “Secret of the Dome” order, there was a five-star theater that could only be consumed after the bursting of a giant orb that was created in front of us, which took me back to the days of science school classes.

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After we slept like kings, an early hot breakfast buffet and copious amounts of coffee filled the tank for the sightseeing leg of our trip, a two-hour Grand City e-scooter excursion. Luna tours.

Having experienced a few European city tours by bike, Segway and foot, hopping onto an e-scooter would be a first, but one we were excited about.

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Although quite heavy, the e-scooters are perfectly safe and their low center of gravity makes them difficult to fall off. But for safety reasons and to avoid unwanted accidents, we took advantage of the option to wear a helmet and listened carefully to the 10-minute briefing before the tour.

The stunning bar at Muzsa. Image: Four Seasons

At the start of our urban adventure, our guide took us through the streets of Budapest, which didn’t seem overly busy for a capital city centre, and gained the confidence that only the sharper corners and clasps of pedestrians offered the ‘manoeuvre’ challenges.

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A tour like this is a great way to see the city’s main highlights in a short amount of time, with the e-scooters being able to get to sights quickly and with minimal hassle, which comes in handy when it comes to conquering the hillier terrain terrain to deal with.

During the two hours we discovered both sides of the city – Buda and Pest (divided by the river) – taking in the vibrant inner cities and historic Castle Hill, and visiting must-see attractions of St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Hungarian Parliament and the Fisherman’s Bastion and Mattias Church.

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It was great fun and very cheap at just over £40 per person. So if you’re looking for a thrilling driving experience with some memorable photos and local history, Luna Tours has you covered.

Helms off, it was time to return to the Four Seasons to collect our luggage before the next leg of our trip, but looking back at the stunning hotel building one last time I knew, as far as short weekends go, this was one of the to go under.

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Tapas bar food at Muzsa. Image: Enikovarai

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL GRESHAM PALACE – A two night stay in the Danube View room is around £570 (September 2022) but for the latest prices visit the hotel website.

LUNA TOURS – The ‘Grand City’ tour costs approximately £41 per person, minimum age 16, departs 5 times a day in high season and 3 times a day in low season; maximum 10 people, visit the Luna Tours website for more informations.

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PARKING, HOTEL STAY AND LOUNGE IN HEATHROW – As our flight departed early in the morning, we made life easier by staying overnight at the Hotel Sofitel in Terminal 5, arranged by Holiday Extras. Booking an airport hotel with parking means you can enjoy more vacation with less hassle, and with Flextras you can cancel or change for free. One night accommodation at Sofitel Heathrow with nine nights Blue Circle Meet & Greet Parking price starts from £397.80. Entry to the No1 Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 starts at £23.40 per person. To book, visit Holiday Extras website or call 0800 316 5678 (price based on arrival in September 2022).

Cocktails at Muzsa. Image: Enikovarai
Race on the e-scooter tour. Image: Eduardo Munoz Norambuena
Listening to information about Budapest from the Luna Tours guide. Image: Eduardo Munoz Norambuena

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