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Airnb Apartments vrs hotel for long term stay

Any opinions/recommendations/advice on a two week stay on the Pest side of Budepest. Airbnb apartment or hotel? Anything to look for in the descriptions we should be aware of? Will be there late nov to middle dec.

Posted by
228 posts

AirBnB has become shorthand for 'apartments', in much the same way that we always 'Google' something, whichever search engine we use. So, I will assume you're asking, "Apartment or hotel room"? There are of course many online providers of private rentals, AirBnB being just one of them.

It will come down to what you need for a typical two-week stay. For me, a hotel room is too confining for anything more than a couple of nights. A studio apartment in a hotel is OK, provided it is large enough and well equipped, but I much prefer having quite a bit of room, all to ourselves.

I like to cook, even when on holiday, so a good kitchen is a must. Even if you only use it for breakfast and snacks, it is quite liberating not to have to go looking for a cafe or restaurant every time you need a meal - or even just a coffee. Plus of course it's way cheaper! You would normally get a full-sized fridge too, much more practical than the tiny bar fridges you get in hotel rooms.

I also like to have a lounge room or sitting area with comfortable seating. There are times (increasingly frequent as I age) when I like to have some downtime, usually after a couple of days slogging round the sights. If we have an apartment/house, we can 'stay home' for an afternoon - just read a book, listen to some music or watch TV. If possible, we find a house or apartment with outdoor seating - balcony, terrace or garden, for the same purpose.

It might also be useful to be able to do your own laundry, though probably not for just a two-week stay. On a recent, four-week trip through Italy, Switzerland and Austria, I booked houses/apartments with washing machines and dryers, which enabled us to travel lighter, packing for just ten days.

The last reason we like AirBnB/Homeaway/Stayz etc is that I find we feel more like visitors, less like tourists. We have rented 30 or so AirBnBs so far, plus around another thirty through other providers or owners, starting in the 80s with a French company called 'Gite de France'. We have had some truly wonderful experiences, meeting lovely hosts who have often gone well over and above the call of duty. A gorgeous, mountainside house we rented recently in Switzerland even cam with a 'help yourself to a bottle per evening' wine cellar! I kid you not.

So, unless you set a lot of store on having your room cleaned and bed made daily, I would heartily recommend a home rental.

Posted by
228 posts

AirBnB has become shorthand for 'apartments', in much the same way that we always 'Google' something, whichever search engine we use. So, I will assume you're asking, "Apartment or hotel room"? There are of course many online providers of private rentals, AirBnB being just one of them.

It will come down to what you need for a typical two-week stay. For me, a hotel room is too confining for anything more than a couple of nights. A studio apartment in a hotel is OK, provided it is large enough and well equipped, but I much prefer having quite a bit of room, all to ourselves.

I like to cook, even when on holiday, so a good kitchen is a must. Even if you only use it for breakfast and snacks, it is quite liberating not to have to go looking for a cafe or restaurant every time you need a meal - or even just a coffee. Plus of course it's way cheaper! You would normally get a full-sized fridge too, much more practical than the tiny bar fridges you get in hotel rooms.

I also like to have a lounge room or sitting area with comfortable seating. There are times (increasingly frequent as I age) when I like to have some downtime, usually after a couple of days slogging round the sights. If we have an apartment/house, we can 'stay home' for an afternoon - just read a book, listen to some music or watch TV. If possible, we find a house or apartment with outdoor seating - balcony, terrace or garden, for the same purpose.

It might also be useful to be able to do your own laundry, though probably not for just a two-week stay. On a recent, four-week trip through Italy, Switzerland and Austria, I booked houses/apartments with washing machines and dryers, which enabled us to travel lighter, packing for just ten days.

The last reason we like AirBnB/Homeaway/Stayz etc is that I find we feel more like visitors, less like tourists. We have rented 30 or so AirBnBs so far, plus around another thirty through other providers or owners, starting in the 80s with a French company called 'Gite de France'. We have had some truly wonderful experiences, meeting lovely hosts who have often gone well over and above the call of duty. A gorgeous, mountainside house we rented recently in Switzerland even cam with a 'help yourself to a bottle per evening' wine cellar! I kid you not.

So, unless you set a lot of store on having your room cleaned and bed made daily, I would heartily recommend a home rental.

As for tips and advice, my rules are usually (1) it must have a decent number of excellent reviews, and I read ALL of them. Often, guests can be reluctant to be completely honest for fear of upsetting a gracious host, so you have to tune in to clues in how they're worded (2) I always set all the 'filters' carefully before searching, to ensure that all the facilities I want are there, such as WiFi and air conditioning (3) I do not rent places where the host has cancelled more than one or two bookings out of fifty (4) I always find the place on Google Maps and 'do a drive-by', plus check the vicinity out, to make sure a six-lane elevated motorway doesn't run past the garden. This can involve some detective work, because AirBnB doesn't give the address until you've booked (stupid system). Sometimes you will find the same property listed elsewhere and get the address that way, sometimes you have to look at the wording and photos and literally hunt it down using streetview.

Posted by
16581 posts

If this is for a time of year when the weather could be hot (as it was this year during the first week of May), be sure your lodgings are air-conditioned. Check carefully on the exact features you will have. I had to discard a potential aparthotel I considered for my stay. It had a/c and a microwave, but no refrigerator (really stupid).

Posted by
140 posts

We recently stayed at the Fraser Residence Hotel on Nagytemplom Ut. in Budapest. The rooms are large, appointed in a modern way. We stayed in a 3 bedroom apt - each bedroom had its own pvt bath and there was a nice terrace that encircled the space. Because these are long-stay type facilities, the kitchens are stocked and replenished by the hotel as things are used. The hotel desk personnel spoke very good English - and were helpful - and, are there 24/7 something a AirBnB doesn't supply. The hotel is not located downtown - it is next to a large shopping area - so you get a real feel for Budapest life, coffee shops, playgrounds, etc.
However, it is only a 5 min walk to the Corvin-Negyed Metro (#3 line) stop or the 4/6 Tram - or two stops to get to Deak Ferenc Ter. Very convenient, in 15 mins you are at the Four Seasons.
We split the penthouse 3 bedroom apt with 2 other couples - never got in each other's way - and it cost us about $90USD each per couple. The apartment was air conditioned.
During the same visit - other friends stayed in AirBnB locations closer to the city center - at one place the elevator broke down - the apartments were smaller, the AC was iffy and the streets were filled with tourists -

Posted by
18 posts

The first time I was traveling to Budapest with friends we were going to stay in a Hotel, but then my friends cancelled because they were afraid to travel after the terrorist attacks in Paris, what that had to do with Budapest I have no idea. Anyway I decided to use an Airbnb and it worked out great and cheaper than a hotel, plus much more room.
So here are the things I look for when renting an Airbnb in Budapest..... if its a high floor do they have an elevator, remember in Europe that the ground floor is 0 and the next floor up is 1, so staying on the 5th floor can be quite a walk with only stairs.

Also I always look for.

Wifi
Clothes washer, its such a great thing to have, they usually dont have a dryer but drying racks.
A nice kitchen
Convenient to transportation
A real bed and not a sofa sleeper
An apartment that faces the street and not the inner courtyard.

I will be in Budapest for 2 months in Oct - December and already booked my BIG one bedroom apartment, right near Deak Ferenc Ter, which is also where all the forms of transportation converge, 3 subway lines, trams and buses. A really super location for a tourist.

Posted by
9 posts

These are GREAT responses. Thank you all. Keep them coming, especially actual recommendations. I am noticing a whole bunch of studios with lofts and think we are going to avoid those. Are there hidden costs I should look for?

Posted by
228 posts

I am not aware of any "hidden" costs, at least on the platforms I have used. There may be small local taxes in some cases but, in my experience, these are disclosed clearly on the listing. On AirBnB however, it pays to be vigilant with regard to cleaning fees. These are usually listed separately in the total cost calculation, but other times you pay the cleaning fee to the host when you arrive. On one booking, the cleaning fee was included but in the confirmation, the host said it would be payable direct, on arrival. I queried this and the host apologised, confirming that it was paid to AirBnB. No problem.

I also saw a few listings in Japan which said WiFi was included, but when I read the listing carefully, it became clear that an extra payment direct to the host was required on arrival, in return for which you would be given a mobile wifi device.

I have no problem with extras such as this provided (a) they are clearly stated and (b) when added to the total cost, I'm still happy with the overall value.

Be aware though that some platforms take just a deposit, then the balance fourteen days before arrival, while others including AirBnB may take the full amount at the time of booking.

On a relevant note, I recently made a booking for a little cottage in Slovenia which looked perfect. However, in the confirmation, the host said that, during our stay, he would be taking tourist office staff through the cottage on two separate inspections, "I trust this is OK." Well personally, I felt this was something that should have been disclosed BEFORE accepting my booking request and so I asked him to cancel from his side, so that I would incur no charge. He apologised and cancelled without complaint.

Posted by
10673 posts

First, unless you have some business in Buda, then Pest is much more convenient for tourism. You will spend at least another 30 minutes each way back and forth from Buda. Unless you are planning something non-traditional, you will want to be on a metro or tram line with a direct run across the river. Again, not knowing what you are going for, but tourists will quickly discover they want to be in Pest for all the sights and activities.

Next, since you are sort of living there for two weeks pick a neighborhood with lots of support; like a grocery, pharmacy, a laundry service would be nice, good restaurants, maybe a nice wine bar. Again, much harder to find on the Buda side, but not impossible.

For a 4, 5 or even a 6 night stay i tend to prefer hotels. Longer than that and I would find an apartment as I would want a home each night. My trips to Budapest are frequent, and always longer than 6 nights so I always stay in an apartment. For two weeks, choose wisely, cause you will be stuck with it. For a two week stay you should be able to get at least 10% off their published rate if you shop around a little. Remember, there is no maid service so you will be washing towels and sheets (i hope) that's why i like the laundry service near. The washer and dryer you will most often find in rentals are pretty small. Figure 2 pairs of light trousers and two light shirts and that will take 2 hours in the machine. You will probably want wifi, fully equipped kitchen, television with at least English news channels. The place I stay even has a few DVD (movies and English comedies mostly) and a PS2.

Posted by
18 posts

The Airbnb i rent has 2 TV's and cable, but I have yet to find an English station, so instead I just run a cable from my laptop to the TV and use the big screen to watch Netflix or Youtube videos.. (lots of great travel videos).

And yes as a tourist the Pest side is best, anything near Deak Ferenc Ter is a pretty great location.
I also tend to avoid all the apartments that are listed that have lofts, only because I hate sleeping up there and dealing with steps like that, also the classic Budapest apartments have really tall ceilings so its nice to be able to enjoy that instead of looking at some crappy do it yourself loft built in.

Grocery stores are easy to find, there are small ones scattered around, even ALDI, and if you go out a little farther you can find some big Tesco hypermarkets as well as Auchan.... but thats over on the Buda side.

Its just nice to have a kitchen even if you aren't going to do "real serious" cooking, I usually have breakfast at home, or stop and grab coffee and a pastry, then I have a big lunch out later in the day so after that I dont usually feel the need to go out for a full sized dinner. And thats when the kitchen is great, to be able to have a fridge filled with stuff or even just a microwave or oven to reheat things.

Dont forget, Budapest has some great markets besides the usual grocery stores, but they do close fairly early.

https://theculturetrip.com/europe/hungary/articles/8-of-the-best-markets-in-budapest/

Anyway, for 2 weeks an apartment is really the way to go, such a nicer experience than being in a cramped room.

Posted by
10673 posts

Liketotravel, well my place has 3 tv's!!! no, not really - just 2. But it does have 50 bottles of wine to choose from.

the place i use to stay had a loft, but a real one where you can stand up. but like you i got tired of going up and down the stairs.

Posted by
9 posts

I WANT TO SAY IN THE APARTMENT THAT HAS THE WINE CELLAR. Give up the details!