During our latest Budapest adventure we stayed in a very unique floating hotel on the river Danube. It’s called the Aquamarina Hotel and is moored on Romai Beach in district 3, just outside the main city area.
A Brief History of the Boat
The boat was built for the Russian Romanov tsar family. It was first put on the water on the 21st May 1903. The boat served the tsar dynasty as an excursion boat traveling on the Volga, Mercury and Caucasus. Since 2006 the boat operates as the oldest and biggest restaurant & banqueting hotel steamboat museum in Central Europe.
To get to the hotel from the airport we got a taxi which costs us around £25.
TIP: Make sure to book a taxi from the yellow both outside the airport and not get one of the ones outside; they are renowned for ripping people off. We had several people approach us to try and get us into their taxi, just say no thank you and walk away.
When the taxi first dropped us off down a dead end lane we panicked slightly and thought where is it? But then after feeling pretty stupid we realised it was right in front of us! It’s amazing how something so big can sort of blend into the surroundings.
To get onto the boat you walk through the hut pictured below.
We arrived late afternoon and as it was starting to get dark we were keen to check in, dump our bags and find somewhere to eat.
The man on reception who spoke English, welcomed us aboard and gave us our keys.
The hotel itself is pretty large and has a long corridor running through the middle with the rooms off to each side. It just reminded me of The Shining and I kept looking up expecting to see scary twins staring back at me.
The hotel was very clean and very quiet. The 24 hour services available at the reception include an iron, hair-dryer and a safe deposit box.
The rooms were clean, light and very hot! In fact we had to turn down the heating as it was too warm for us. Each room has a temperature control unit so you can adjust to your needs. Our particular room was pretty big! The rooms have air-conditioning, refrigerator, television, telephone, and free internet-access.
There was plenty of space for hanging clothes although we didn’t need too as we only had 3 days worth of clothes.
The bathroom was very clean, the shower was a little bit hit and miss as it sprayed in all sorts of random directions which I imagine could be easily cured by getting a new shower head. The shower door was also a bit iffy, it kept coming off its rollers. It was hot though and we were provided with complimentary shower gel and shampoo.
Breakfast was served in the downstairs restaurant. They was a choice of hot food, buffet style food and a great selection of herbal teas and coffee. It was all self service and you can eat as much as you like. There were things we recognised such as toast and yoghurt and there were things we didn’t such as some sort of egg concoction complete with some form of vegetable. Which I did try and was interesting!
One thing that struck me as odd was that there was cake! I’ve never in my life had cake for breakfast before and I’m not sure if that’s normal in Hungary of if they just do it at this hotel. Either way my Mum decided to give it a go. My sister fearing repercussions stuck to toast and coffee.
I also got to try Kefir for the first time, which is apparently the ‘in thing’ to eat this year due to it’s health benefits. It wasn’t horrible but would take a little while to get use to. It was much nicer with a bit of honey in it.
The gentleman that served us was very attentive and spoke a little bit of English.
The hotel does have it’s own restaurant and bar for dinner but as it was Winter it was closed so I can’t comment on that.
As it was Winter we found transport to be an issue to start with but once we knew what we were doing it was fine. In the Summer months the hotel provides a boat service which goes from the hotel straight to the centre of Budapest however in the Winter it doesn’t run. We were told by the receptionist that buses were, in his words, “no good!” so the other options were taxi or the HEV train. We had already purchased our Budapest Cards so we didn’t want to waste more money on a taxi so we opted for the HEV train. The man at reception told us to just go straight and we’d find the train. We struggled to find the station at first which resulted in us wandering around the streets like lost puppies, the street just seemed to go on forever with no sign of a station! However he was right and had we of just carried on that bit further we would have got there a lot quicker. When you look on the map it’s actually very straightforward, literally. I have included a map for you. The walk took about 15-20 minutes when you don’t detour!
You can buy your day tickets at the station from the machine. You can also buy a Budapest Card here too. To go into the main city you need to be on the side with the station building on, as pictured below. You need to get off at the very last stop which is Batthyany ter. From there you have a choice of buses, trams or the metro lines depending on where you plan to go.
When you need to get back to the airport you can ask the people at reception to book you a transfer which costs 7800 HUF or approximately £19.
TIP: Make sure to book it in advance as we left it until the morning of our flight and they weren’t available which resulted in us having to use a local taxi firm which costs us nearly twice as much, roughly £35!
The hotel is moored in a nice area outside of the main city. There were quite a few bars surrounding the boat but all were shut due to it being Winter.
We did however manage to find a restaurant just up the road called Cafe Fontana where we had dinner one night. The food was lovely and the service was very good! To find the cafe you walk up the road from the hotel and turn left. Walk for about 5 minutes and you’ll see the cafe on the other side of the road. Review of this to follow shortly.
- The hotel and the rooms were very clean and comfortable
- The location wasn’t great for access into the city centre (in Winter).
- The views from the boat were lovely.
- The food was honest and there was a good selection.
- Service was good and most of the staff spoke English.
- For a budget hotel it was very good.
I hope you have found this information useful. If you have any questions please do ask.