In short, we have slept in a fair number of hotel rooms over the years.
Disclaimer: We were guests paying a media rate at the four-star Hotel Moments Budapest for our long weekend, but my (very many) thoughts are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn't want to move-in, I mean, revisit for another break.
What they all do have in common is being selected to suit our break. An anonymous spa hotel in Lille away from the hustle and bustle of the city, a swanky modern Barcelona escape near the beach and a taste of luxury close to our favourite Dublin watering hole.
We knew as soon as we hopped out of our taxi from the airport late on the Friday night, we were in for a treat, perfect for two ladies on a long girl's weekend of exploring and enjoying the local spa baths.
As we stepped through the stunning entryway, Sam and I glanced at each other in delight before checking-in to our beautiful home for the next few days.
In many ways Hotel Moments felt like stepping into a Botticelli painting. Arranged in a typically Hungarian style of rooms wrapping around a central courtyard (though in the 21st Century hosting couches for guests to lounge in and the reception desk, rather than historic horses and carriages) the detailing and subdued palette exalted the art lover in my heart (not to mention the restaurant bathrooms which actually featured a renaissance hunting painting across all of the stall doors.)
We specifically requested a twin room (my middle-of-the-night duvet stealing exploits seem to have taken on a life of their own) but didn't quite expect a mini-suite. As we entered the room, we dropped our suitcases onto the perfectly sized ledge of the reception, hopped into the lovely shower to get rid of our
Assorted electronic gizmos plugged in ready for a busy day ahead, we didn't even have a chance to count sheep once the full length curtains were pulled closed.
Everything in our room was perfectly appointed, and newly renovated. The TV was expertly placed for bed-lounging where we caught up on world news over coffee (taken up from the foyer where it's available all day) and delighted in late night Hungarian DJ sets as we read our kindles to unwind, we casually lent on the sofas to organize our days of mischief and pretended to be digital nomads from the hotel desk.
The only slight downsides were the patchy WIFI and in the bathroom - though beautifully appointed and stocked with Vittore de Conti miniatures, the frosted glass door isn't ideal for friends let alone suffering spouses and the shower flooded if we had more than quick splashes under the monsoon head.
Breakfast each of the mornings was simply lovely. You could either
brush your hair to join the beautifully present hot and cold buffet downstairs, or order complimentary room service the night before.
Set in the very pretty restaurant, there was everything two hungry antipodeans needed. It was a typical spread including lashings of cereal, a pastry bar (including lovely fresh challah buns!), a lovely selection of local cheese, salmon rosettes, fried eggs, pear juice alongside more normal offerings and freshly chilled bubbly. The only the exception to our breakFEAST was of really good coffee - it was nice machine-sorted coffee but we found ourselves missing a good gourmet cup of char.
I've never really breakfasted with booze before, aside from in my younger days and brunch-style mimosas, and one morning it really was a nice treat before we visited one of the local spa baths. It really set the tone for a relaxing day, compared to the previous busy two.
The morning that we ordered room service, we almost giggled fit to bust as we debated whether a single cup of coffee each would be enough. Deciding that it wasn't, I flipped though our guidebook to look up the Hungarian words for 'please can we have buckets of caffeine' and settled on a couple of cups each to tide us over.
The hotel location on the World Heritage site of Andrássy Avenue was short break perfection. A 5-minute walk down leafy streets took us to the Opera house or to a 10-minute metro ride to the relaxations of natural, spring-fed baths. A 10-minute walk discovered the revelry of Szimpla and a plethora of cocktail bars, or in the opposite direction to the stunning Chain Bridge and up the hill to the historic streets of Buda.
And the cherry on the top? I actually squealed in delight upon discovering that in the neighbouring block housed a menagerie of felines and served adulterated cappuccinos in a cat cafe where pre-booking was unnessecary.