We chose the Normafa Hotel on the back of Tripadvisor reviews matched to excellent value for money. Booking a few months ahead via Expedia we paid £52 a night for a double room with breakfast (the rack rate is Euro 95 a night). We stayed for six nights.
Positive points. The hotel is situated in pleasant walking countryside with fine views of downtown Budapest, some 500m below. The hotel staff are very friendly ands helpful with regards travel, site-seeing etc. The hotel has an excellent outdoor pool , sauna(s), gardens for sunbathing, small fitness centre and well equipped gym (the Hungarians take body building very seriously!). There is a good children’s play area in the garden with a paddling pool – ideal for kids aged 2 to 10 or so. For older kids and adults there are 2 beach volley ball courts and table tennis. Breakfast was a buffet with hot food orders available and a decent coffee machine, very important for my wife and I. The hotel rates include a small afternoon tea with choice of soft drinks. Getting into town via the 90 / 90A bus service was easy, a 20 minute journey with a service every 10 minutes throughout the day (up to 23.15). For nightbirds there is an hourly through-night bus service (990), though we found taxis plentiful and inexpensive when needed (around 3,500 HUF from downtown to the hotel).
Not quite-so positive. The weather was extremely hot whilst we there (mid 30’s c during the day and mid 20s overnight) – no complaints about that. The rooms, however, do not have air conditioning and together with the fact the standard double rooms are compact this made for a few restless nights. The hotel did supply floor-based fans which made it a little more bearable. If we were to return I would opt to pay the extra for the larger suite rooms, which have the added advantage of a balcony. We ate in the hotel restaurant on the first night. The food and wine was ok but a little overpriced I thought . We visited during the school holidays and the hotel was fully booked. This, together with the fact a lot of locals (with families) use the hotel facilities, made the outdoor areas crowded during the day. Certainly if you are there during the European summer school holidays (mid July - August) without children you would find things less than relaxing. The hotel grounds did not seem troubled with biting insects – good news – but if you catch the bus at this time of year come prepared with insect repellent. We found early evening the worst of times for this, the Normafa bus-stop being a biting area of some repute to the local midge population! Please also bear this in mind if you are planning an al fresco evening meal in town (see below).
Some comments on Budapest restaurants. Our firm favourite was the Cafe Bouchon (near Opera) which merited a return visit on our last night. Mainly French themed food and generally delicious. We enjoyed the restaurant on the A38 boat, quite a cool and trendy set-up (upstairs there is a late night club). The Jardin de Paris restaurant on the Buda side of the river was a disappointment, mainly due to the continual attention of the aforementioned midges. The food was fine but we were too distracted swatting insects to enjoy it. Maybe try it in the winter when it moves indoors from the “Jardin”. The Italian restaurant Via Luna was OK but nothing special (excepting the enormous portions of food!). Generally we found we were paying around 7,000 HUF per head, including wine and service, for a evening meal.
A short mention for Budapest nightlife. Our teenage children loved Rio, an outdoor club near Petofi bridge on the Buda side and one of the largest dance clubs in Europe. Nervous parents beware, this place parties until dawn!
In summary I would recommend the Normafa (and Budapest) to my friends. Certainly for a stay of more than 3 nights the hotel makes good sense, especially in the summer time when you can use the facilities to the full. For a weekend break staying in central town is a better option.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Friendly, newly modernized 4-star hotel in the most elegant district of Budapest on the top of the Svab Hill. Only 15 minutes from the city center with easy connection with public transport. The hotel has 2 restaurants with terraces, wide range of sport and fitness facilities, open-air heated pool all year long and wellness area are at our guests' disposal. The friendly and skilful staff would be happy to welcome you at Hotel Normafa! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Normafa Hotel Budapest