Estelle Sarney and Grant Bradley stay at The Magazine Hotel, Budapest.

Check-in experience:

We were harried and a bit desperate after a disaster with an apartment nearby. That place (Stars and Lights Parliament) was not fit to be listed, we had walked out and stumbled on the Magazine a few hundred metres away.

How our luck changed. Magazine had someone to check us in who was friendly and sympathetic to our plight. She rustled up a room that was six times the size of the dog box we had just left, for not much more.


Location: The hotel is as close to St Stephen's Basilica as you can get which makes it special. A revered figure, Stephen the First was crowned in 1000 and is acknowledged as the founder of Hungary. He was catapaulted to sainthood (there was a preserved hand "miracle") after his death and the Basilica is a magnificent landmark in the city of two million and a must-see for any tourist.

Room: A huge, recently refurbished and well-styled corner room on the first floor with a grandstand view of the square in front of the Basilica. Nice furniture and a big new TV with lots of channels, most local and interesting.

What's in the neighbourhood? All of Budapest's main central attractions are within a 15-minute walking radius. You'll have to go further for the more off-beat attractions but the tourist-oriented bars and restaurants in Pest are cheap by New Zealand standards, can be quite funky and are frequented by locals.

Food and drink: Some coffee capsules for a machine near reception.

The bed: A super-king modern four poster. No top sheet, two duvets, Euro-style.

The view: A grandstand perch above the Basilica square, which is constantly busy with visitors. Superb people-watching.

Bathroom: Very large. A huge new bathtub, shower and if you want, a view of the square if you open the blinds. Had great clothes-drying properties (although Bubbles laundromat is only eight minutes away - you can wash and dry a large load for $13.75).

Wi-Fi? Fast, free of charge.


Value for money: Three nights booked on the spot came to $479.50. Excellent value.

Facilities: There was a kitchenette on our floor with a coffee machine and large, airy dining room/common room. There are superettes nearby if your budget is strangled. In keeping with the name there are glossy magazines to read, they're up-to-date and in English.

What's so good about this place? The location, the view, the styling and the price. Church bells don't ring between 10pm and 6am, although it's a lively part of town in the early hours.

Would we return? Yes.