Budapest third most popular destination for luxury weekend getaways
10.2.2006 - Sándor Laczkó
Fancy a weekend getaway in a five-star hotel? Most of us do from time to
time and of those who can afford it a surprising number spend that
indulgent weekend in Budapest. A survey by a worldwide reservation system
ranks Budapest the third most popular destination in the world for luxury
Radio Budapest just had to find out why, so he spoke to Adrian Gray
director of Le Meridien Hotel in the Hungarian capital:
"Budapest today has this big increase in low-cost airlines and the
attitude of people today is that more and more go on the internet to buy
their flight accommodation. Whether it be with a low-cost airline, or with
Malev or British Airways, the attitude is to get away very quickly. We can
book on the internet and they can book on hotel reservation systems or
through other third party websites. Budapest today is one of the growing
What are the attractive features of Budapest? Why is it the third most
"First of all it's very close to the UK - approximately two hours
away in flying time. And this makes it an ideal weekend break destination.
People believe that it is a new destination that is very fashionable just
now. It is a very safe destination and it is affordable. So, people who
traditionally did not go away for the weekends have the ability now.
People who find themselves with time at the last minute can book
last-minute accommodation. The booking pattern nowadays is certainly much
more short-lead and this is indicative of people who are professionals,
find themselves with spare time available at the last minute, and then
make their decisions to go away."
You've mentioned that Britain and France are relatively close to Budapest.
Does this mean that most of those who make reservations are from France and
"Well, certainly the markets that have the biggest growth are France
and the UK. In the UK, it is because of the strength of the British pound
and the availability of flights into Budapest, while in France you have
the RTT, which is the reduced work time - a 35 hour working week - which
means that many people are able to accumulate time now and go away for
long weekends, especially professionals and these are the people who are
booking these flights and coming away for a weekend break."
Some analysts say that whatever people can save on travel, they will spend
at the destination. Could that be an explanation why people can afford
five-star hotels, while booking low-cost airlines?
"I think you have a situation where people have to have money in
order to be able to travel. The low-cost airlines are encouraging people,
who would not normally travel, but perhaps have the means, to actually
think about going away on a weekend. Once they are actually here, they can
find very good quality hotels, 5-star hotels, at very affordable prices. If
you take the cost of a 5-star hotel here, whether it be ourselves or the
Four Seasons, you can get accommodation now for around 200 euros,
including breakfast. This is approximately 130 British pounds, which for a
UK person is quite affordable. Obviously, people who are travelling out of
Europe do not benefit from the exchange rate. But someone coming out of
the UK can make this cost comparison quite easily."