As seems to be the case with a fair few European Intercontinentals, the hotel exterior of the Budapest version is pretty darned ugly, but in a plum location, right on the Danube by the Chain Bridge, facing Castle Hill. That location lifts everything, giving the bar a cozy glow at sunset, rooms a gorgeous view, and the gift of a riverside terrace for its bar and restaurant, with a UNESCO-World Heritage outlook.
A favourite of business travelers, all rooms have a desk and good Internet (there's a business center too). But there are bonuses in the rooms for leisure travelers too; while the style is a little old-fashioned, the heavy red curtains give the room a cozy feel, and the views are magnificent.
Rooms with a view have a €55 surcharge. Steep, but worth it if you're considering the Intercontinental for its aspect.
Bathrooms have showers over baths, and white sinks with black marble surfaces.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Bathrooms can feel a little cramped.
The lobby is long, modern and fairly bland, with low ceilings - but friendly staff lift the vibe, alongside the backdrop out of the windows.
There's a heated indoor pool as part of the hotel's wellness offer.
The pleasant spa offers a steam cabin and sauna as well as treatments and massages using Kaviczky products made of locally sourced mud--or, as they put it, medicinal clay.
The hotel has a gym and personal trainer available for guests.
Corso Restaurant and Terrace (don't forget that terrace!) has a simple, Hungarian/international menu, and a modern feel. Breakfast is comprehensive but pricey if not included in your rate.
Corso Bar and Terrace (did we mention the terrace?) is actually pretty cool. We're not joking about the terrace, which is obviously the major selling point, but there are plenty of others here too, such as the cool cocktails based on Hungarian inventions, from the safety match to holograms.
Try the Rubik's Cube cocktail - another Hungarian invention - served in, you guessed it, one of the famous puzzles. We dare you to try and complete it post-consumption of the fruity rum-based drink dreamed up by the Intercontinental's bartenders.
It's not just pretty; the riverside location is practical too, placing the hotel between the sights of Buda and Pest, meaning that most things are walkable. Otherwise, trams stop outside the hotel, and other public transport options are a short walk.
Head to Spoon (4-minute walk) for a refined dining experience that just so happens to be on a boat. Or try Onyx (4-minute walk) for gourmet Hungarian food.
St Andrea Wine & Skybar (4-minute walk) is a grand nearby spot to enjoy refined drinks while looking out over rooftops. Or for another pretty special hotel bar, head to the historic Lobby Bar and Lounge (2-minute walk) in the gorgrous Four Seasons Gresham Palace nearby.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This hotel has won our hearts with its location and views, plus a few individual touches--like the cocktails--that give it a feeling of the city it is in while maintaining international chain standards. It's perhaps a little past its best, but that's reflected in the price. And--one last time--don't forget that terrace.