Looking for a hotel in Pest... we usually do two or three stars in Rick's Books. But are comfortable with less as well. Will be meeting a cruise. Like to be near transportation, we are dinosaurs who don't sprint so well anymore.
We stayed at the Sofitel which is very convenient. You can walk to most of the sites on the Pest side that you would want to see. The hotel is nice, but beware, the breakfast is very expensive.
Friends also stayed at the Marriott and there were pleased also.
The Sofitel is a very, very nice 5 star hotel, not a bad location but not the best either. Great view of the Chain Bridge but otherwise for about the same money $$$$ I would say le Meridian. The Marriott is more of a 4 star hotel in a nice location with nice views of the river. But no character of its own and sort of in the middle of all the tourists. Since I haven't stayed at either I cant comment on service, etc but they both have very good reputations. You wont find RS tour groups staying at either of these ----- ever.
Budapest has a lot of nice and interesting hotels. I've only stayed in two of them; the K&K (liked enough to stay in on several visits) and the Art 'otel (disliked enough to never recommend) so I cant comment on "Best", but I can comment on locations. Go to Google Maps and Search for "Oktogon, Budapest" you will see a place marker at an intersection in Budapest called The Oktogon. Now enter "Hotel" in the search line. The Oktogon place marker will turn blue and hundreds of red dots and place markers will show up. The major street that runs Southwest from the Oktogon is Andrassy ut. This is the Champs-Élysées of Budapest. They actually modeled that road in Paris after Andrassy ut (or maybe it was the other way around?). Anyway, draw an imaginary line from the Oktogon down the center of Andrassy ut to the river. Now find a hotel that meets your preferences that is within about a block above the line to maybe 3 blocks below the line. Or just get a room at the K&K. If you are going to be there for several nights then you might also look at apartments in the same zone. Much less expensive.
Thanks James & Chale...appreciate the insights and the Google map suggestion... K&K is my "default" choice.
I stayed at the Mercure Museum Hotel (2010). It was very reasonably priced and the location was good, on the edge of the Jewish quarter. There were frequent buses and trams nearby to get to various parts of the city, only a few minutes to the center, or walk it in 20 minutes. The room was small but comfortable, the breakfast was very good (get there early before they run out of pastries), and the staff were very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. They had a spa (included in the room rate) but I never had time to even check it out.
Just returned from Budapest 10/28/2014 and posted this info elsewhere. Spent one night at the Hotel Metro (in Pest), a very short distance from Nyugati pályaudvar, the western train station. Out the front door of the train station to the right cross the street and then the right the equivalent of a 1/2 block and left 1/2 block. Quiet and I thought good value. Having just one day, on the advice of the desk clerk I walked down to the Danube, down to Parliament, the Opera House and later up to the Castle District. and most of the betweens. Hotel location was reasonable, the accomodations good - I prefer something a little off beat (but clean and quiet) and priced to a middle class range in this case on the order of a little over USD $50/night. There was a queen size bed and a smaller bed (useful for putting my bags on). Bathroom had a shower. TV had three English language channels for mindlessness. Wifi worked. .I thought the one staff person I met was pleasant and spoke English well. Overall I would stay there again. Small oddities, reception is on the third floor as was my room. Ring the buzzer and go up in the elevator. No noise to speak of. View out the window was of city scape. Small warning, crossing the street, go half a block away from the big intersection and you can cross at street level with reasonably little danger from cars. If you use the underground crossing (there is a substantial shopping district under the street intersection) there are no ramps to move a rollie down. I near broke my back schlepping my baggage up and down stairs. Easier to cross at street level.;)
We stayed at Kalvin House, near Kalvin Square and the Central Market, a couple of years ago and liked it fine. Close to the river but you'd probably need a taxi to get to your ship. Street full of restaurants and major tram stop nearby. Not in the neighborhood James recommends but still fine. Like the hotel the other poster mentioned, it's reached by elevator from the street level. We had a top-floor room with views over the rooftops.
I would also recommend Kalvin House from Rick's book. We stayed there for five nights in 2011 on a land-based trip, and we requested the same room on our return for two nights prior to our own river cruise this year. Great location, big rooms for a reasonable price, good breakfast, and nice staff. You might want to check on the boarding instructions, because for our river cruise we actually met at the Intercontinental and they bussed us to the boat. Kalvin House is an easy walk to the river front tram line.
My home in Budapest is usually the Acafa Apartments. They are two blocks from the metro station (Blaha Lujza ter), a supermarket is in the next block, the Jewish Synagogue is a few blocks away, Internet cafe is in the next block (the apartment may have wifi but I did not bring my laptop). The apartment building is like a new fancy office building, looks like it is made of white marble. We rented a studio apartment, with a complete kitchen, bath (it even had a clothes washer), balcony. Super secure dead bolt lock on the door. Couple of years ago paid 39 Euros per night, payable in cash only, in Euros or Forints. Made reservation on the internet. I could have easily stayed there a year or two!