Budapest, BUD Priority Pass Lounge, and LH J BUD-FRA

One Last Suites Hurrah — A Week in Central Europe via Singapore Suites and Lufthansa First

  1. Introduction and Booking
  2. Singapore Suites Check-in JFK and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
  3. Singapore Airlines Suites Class JFK-FRA and FRA EasyPass Enrollment
  4. 36 Hours in Prague and Czech Airlines PRG-BUD Review 
  5. Budapest, BUD Priority Pass Lounge, and Lufthansa Intra-Europe Business Class Review
  6. Lufthansa First Class Porsche Rental
  7. Lufthansa First Class Terminal FRA Review
  8. Lufthansa First Class FRA-JFK Review

As with my recap of Prague, there’s not much in the way of product reviews or fancy trip report photos in this post. I’ll be summarizing my whirlwind few days in Budapest and will briefly cover the BUD (Priority Pass) Platinum lounge and my Lufthansa business class flight from Budapest to Frankfurt. So skip right past this if you’re hoping for pretty pictures or in-depth reviews.

 

Because I booked my trip fairly last minute and didn’t have the time (or energy) to research points of interest in Budapest, I didn’t have many set plans. Rather, I spent the couple of days I had doing a mix of touristy things and wandering around the city, which is something I typically don’t do.

Soviet-era Metro train

There were two things that I definitely wanted to do while in Budapest: 1) to learn about (read: try a lot of) and purchase some Hungarian wine, having been told by a good friend and wine connoisseur that Hungarian wines are excellent; and 2) to have a drink at a couple of ruin pubs. To that end, I spent my first day visiting several different ruin pubs, finding Szimpla Kert and Kuplung to be particularly enjoyable. I ended up bar hopping and, after striking up some random conversations, hanging out with a couple different groups of British guys that were in town for various stag (bachelor) parties, an all-too-common sight in Budapest.

Having been lazy to the point of inaction with my Budapest planning, I had nothing planned for the next day and decided that morning to go on a free walking tour of Budapest that visited various touristy spots in the city. During the tour, I made friends with a couple of Americans, with whom I spent the rest of the day drinking and walking around the city.

Saint Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest

Villages around Buda, as seen from Castle Hill

Matthias Church

Budapest and the Danube

I spent the rest of my time in Budapest visiting various museums and cultural sites and going to several different wine shops to learn about and try Hungarian wines. Generally preferring whisky (and whiskey) to wine, I’m fairly illiterate about the latter but really enjoyed the tasting tours I got at the various shops I visited. In particular, I’d highly recommend Tasting Table Budapest for any wine aficionados out there. I brought an empty suitcase with me solely to bring back Hungarian wine and ultimately ended up bringing back 13 bottles. As someone who was once asked to buy a sauvignon blanc and came home with a cabernet sauvignon, I couldn’t discern much about the wines I brought back but friends and my significant other raved about them — I will be bringing multiple empty suitcases next time.

While I enjoyed seeing Budapest, there just wasn’t anything particularly outstanding or exciting about it to me. Given Budapest’s reputation as a cheap place to drink, there were, unsurprisingly, countless drunk people most places that I went, most hours of the day. I’m all for having a good time and am not uncommonly that rowdy drunk guy who is the reason we can’t have nice things, but even I found it to be a bit much. Maybe I’m just getting old or maybe I just wasn’t drunk enough, but I found the roving bands of obnoxious partiers to be one of the most disappointing aspects of the city. Budapest has such a rich history and culture; it’s a bit disheartening to see much of that distilled down to its reputation of being a place where you go for a weekend on a 25 Euro Ryanair fare to get trashed (though, admittedly, the periodic bar fights that broke out were somewhat entertaining). All in all, I had a decent time and would probably return to the city, though not anytime soon.

My BUD-FRA flight left fairly early in the morning, so rather than having to deal with the notoriously seedy late-night bus to get to the airport, I decided to book the miniBUD airport shuttle. The shuttle can be booked online as I did or directly in person at their desks at the airport. For $15-20 to and from the city (prices vary depending on destination), it’s a reasonable alternative for those who don’t want to deal with public transit. For my return to the airport, the bus showed up to my requested pick-up location on time (but not before I was propositioned by a, ahem, lady of the night who couldn’t have been older than 20 while I was waiting outside). Despite being a bit cramped due to a fully loaded van, the trip to the airport was fine and we arrived without any hiccups.

I arrived at the airport about 20 minutes before check-in opened so I waited at a bench near the Lufthansa check-in area. Check-in was smooth and with no one else in the priority line, I quickly had my boarding pass in hand. Lufthansa business class passengers at BUD have access to the Platinum Lounge (in Terminal 2A; there’s another Platinum Lounge in 2B), which is also a Priority Pass lounge. The lounge is one large room with plenty of seating and tables. When I was there in the early morning, it was quiet and fairly empty. While the restroom is one of the cleanest and nicest I’ve ever encountered in a Priority Pass lounge, the food left much to be desired.

There was some stale bread, something resembling potato salad, and a couple of “hot” options that were barely lukewarm and seemed to have been old food that was simply reheated. Having had nothing to eat for about 12 hours at this point, I was pretty hungry and against my better judgment I sampled some of the potato salad and one of the warm dishes, some sort of chicken schnitzel ball on a skewer. As I’ll discuss in an upcoming post, I would pay for this dearly later.

My flight from BUD to FRA was uneventful. The meal included a standard and pretty sparse breakfast, and service was fine but not noteworthy in any way. Upon landing at FRA, we parked at a remote gate, which, for those connecting to long-haul first class flights, is always a treat because of the fantastic Lufthansa first class ground handling experience. Upon deplaning, I was met at the bottom of the stairs by an agent holding a sign for first class passengers. He offered to carry my briefcase (I declined) and ushered me towards the Porsche Cayenne that was waiting near the plane.

Though connecting first class passengers are not dropped off at the First Class Terminal, I was fine with this and asked to be taken to the Schengen arrivals terminal, from which I went to the First Class Lounge to grab a quick cup of coffee and talk to someone about my Porsche rental.

LH FRA first class lounge

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Comments

  1. A really interesting and different review. I’ve been to Budapest a couple of times and really love it. I’m not sure what to make of some of your experiences, though. I’ve never seen groups of drunks around, witnessed a bar fight, or been propositioned by a professional lady. I’ve certainly enjoyed (at least) my share of alcohol there, along with many of the awesome sites. I find the 2 day hop on-hop off bus pass is great to see outside the city center as well. Maybe it’s that I try to go in Spring or Fall.

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