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Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
2976
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185
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581
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15
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63
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1
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
45
 
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

12 October 2014

Lanchid 19, Design Hotel

Our hotel in Budapest is a Design Hotel. This isn’t really a chain in the traditional sense – rather it’s one company marketing a whole host of independent boutique hotels around the world. Good model; you’ve got all the great things about independence and localism (if that’s a word) with the clout of a centralised marketing budget.

Anyway, our hotel is also very much a design hotel. And I mean something specific by this. It’s pretty easy these days to pick any old building and invest in clean, modern decor and luxurious touches, maybe leave some bare concrete in the lobby, smoky glass light fittings. This isn’t really design, this is just following the herd. Lanchid 19 has been designed, from the architecture outwards. There are dramatic glass walkways criss-crossing the seven story atrium to some of the rooms, a line of porthole windows in the stairwell, and frosted glass shutters with ghostly medieval faces that can be opened or closed on the front facade. Although it’s unclear whether they’re actually operational. Yeah, a sure sign of a design-led hotel is that one or two of the unique and daring features stop working after a couple of years! I’ve got no problem with that, I enjoy staying in a place full of ideas that someone was clearly inspired to create, rather than an identikit of luxury decor elements that can be found anywhere. After all, somebody has to come up with the nifty new features that will be standard fixtures in the big chains of twenty years time.

Today we took the rattling old funicular up to the castle and old town of Buda. This funicular is clearly the tourist epicentre of Budapest, judging by the number of pests offering tours on foot, by bus, by boat or by segway. Watching a trio of identically dressed and long-bearded Jewish gentlemen whiz silently off on a segway tour of the city was definitely one of the high points of the weekend! The old town and castle make for a diverting couple of hours stroll. Amazing how quickly we lost all the tourist crowds as soon as we wandered away from the environs of the castle itself and St Matthias’ beautiful white church.

We had to say farewell to Tim in the afternoon, dragged back to the UK by a work commitment. So we wandered out in the evening and drowned our sorrows very effectively in a fantastic wine bar called Dropshop, with any number of Hungarian wines to try by the glass. It’s tucked away on a side street just to the east of the next bridge up from the famous Chain Bridge (which we must have walked across ten times in the weekend). Possibly the Tokaji Aszu is the finest wine Hungary produces, but I definitely have a lot of time for any of the lovely buttery Furmint dry whites from the same region.


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