The Blog

My Jaunts Across The Globe - Part One, Budapest

was the most fantastic experience; I'm still in touch with Mike, Sam, Montana and a few of the others - but life moves on, right? Being in the spotlight has made me realise that my energy wants to go back into the thing I'm most passionate about - travel.

Yes, that's right - I'm the one from Love Island. The one who dumped Camilla, then got with Tyla - blah blah. That stuff's all a bit ol' now, I think people want to see what comes next, don't you?

And that's right, while the others are doing sponsored posts for teeth whitening kits, I've decided to take a slightly different route as the next road in my path - travel blogging.

Love Island was the most fantastic experience; I'm still in touch with Mike, Sam, Montana and a few of the others - but life moves on, right? Being in the spotlight has made me realise that my energy wants to go back into the thing I'm most passionate about - travel.

Not everyone knows that I'm a seasoned traveller, so I thought that I'd start to tell you a few of my experiences and stories about some of the best countries and the best hotels in the world - where I'd go, and who with and what for... if I was you that is.

So here's my first blog for you... one of my top five hotels in Europe. First, we're off to Budapest:

There's no doubt in my mind that I am IN love with Budapest. I love it so much that a few years ago, I got a property there so I regularly go over to visit. However, that doesn't mean that staying in the best hotels in the city isn't something I love to do.

My favourite is probably the Four Seasons Gresham Palace. This is located in the heart of Budapest alongside the River Danube in District V. Surrounded by other historical sights, not to mention the best restaurants, bars and clubs in Budapest and only a stone's throw from Vaci Street and also Andrassy Street, two of the main shopping streets in Budapest, which makes it attractive to visitors who come to Budapest on a city break - maybe not the stag dos - but certainly for the young couples at least!

I've stayed at many Four Seasons across the world which have always had an incredibly high standard and I was keen to see if Gresham Palace lived up to the others.

The first thing that strikes you as you drive up to Gresham Palace across the historical Budapest chain bridge, is the astonishing external architecture. It has a way of captivating everyone who walks by it, encouraging them to take a picture. Despite it never actually being a real palace it has all the aesthetic characteristics of one. From a distance it looks like it could be mistaken for an old German castle with its arches, authentic roof tiling and peak towers but as you get closer you almost can notice architecture reminiscent of Gaudi like designs, it's unlike any other building I've seen in Budapest, and insanely beautiful.

Regardless, it is an absolutely breathtaking sight, especially at night when it's all lit up.

The interior is no exception, it has an elegant art nouveau feel to it, with impressive, highly detailed architecture and art throughout, detailed stain glass windows, huge glass roof domes and iron gates on all the entrances, which still somehow manage to look elegant. Gresham Palace has succeeded in keeping a very old historic atmosphere whilst also combining it with a quaintly modern signature. This can also be felt massively inside the hotel rooms, they still have the high ceilings, chandeliers, fireplaces whilst also having contemporary furniture and fittings throughout - the size of the rooms makes anything else you've ever stayed in feel pretty diminutive to be honest.

The beds are probably the most comfortable I've slept in before, but in my opinion I think that's a consistency that all Four Seasons hotels have. Incredible.

I stayed here over Halloween last year, despite living and renting an apartment there. I had a few friends over visiting me and i wanted them to experience some of the other luxuries Budapest had to offer and instantly knew that Gresham Palace would be one of the best ones to create that feeling of extreme luxury.

Also knowing that we had a particularly messy Halloween party planned I thought it would do us all good to have a world class spa in the same building so we could nurse our hangovers properly the next morning. Genius idea, right?

The service over this stay was impeccable, the reception staff were cheerful and welcoming and went over and above to ensure we had everything we needed for our stay. Once we all got to our suite we we're quick to start ordering things from room service (mainly bottles), from which everything arrived lightning fast, the staff member was exceedingly patient and polite despite him having to deal with three growingly intoxicated guests.

I always think the service can make or break a hotel, I've stayed at amazing hotels before that were let down by the staff, either by them being rude or impatient. I think a good hotel has to have staff that can politely cater for everyone. Even the most prestigious hotels in the world will occasionally receive a drunk guest or a large rowdy party and what makes good service is being able to manage it in the right way. With Four Seasons nothing is ever 'too much' they always go over and above and do their utmost to ensure they create the perfect experience for their guests, I personally believe it's their trademark on the hotel industry.

Even down to extra guests staying the night, the staff were very understanding. Now of course this won't apply to everyone reading this, but of course occasionally on a night out you sometimes return to the hotel with more guests than you left with. I'm not talking about inviting half the club back to the hotel but of course a few extra select guests. I think we all know the score here, right? *bit of cheeky wink happening here*

During this particular stay the receptionist could obviously read the situation and still maintained a high level of courtesy and professionalism as we stumbled back into the hotel as not to cause embarrassment. After returning to the room she called my room to let me know that she was at my service if we needed anything and also inquired as to whether I needed to order a wake up call and/or driver for our guests for the morning, which I thought was a particularly nice, and quite funny touch.

The next morning as I woke up, pulled the curtains and admired the breathtaking view of the Danube in late autumn, we took the hotel up on their offer, ordered a hotel car and said farewell to our guests. With massages booked in within the next 90 minutes we speedily proceeded to the Gresham restaurant to enjoy one of the finest breakfasts Budapest has to offer. I'm not one for overindulging in the mornings, especially with a hangover, but we just couldn't help ourselves here, the highlight was the eggs Benedict with asparagus, which I usually sample in every hotel I stay at, and which this one exceeded 99% of the others I'd sampled.

If the architecture, spa, or food doesn't do it for you then perhaps you'll be won over by the intriguing history of the building.

The Gresham was originally built in 1906 by Gresham life insurance not only as an investment but also as a way to boast its wealth and power to the world.

Budapest had gained a well deserved reputation as being one of the cultural capitals of the world at the time, thus making it an obvious choice for Gresham's HQ.

Once being a home to Budapest's socially elite, this was sharply called to an end when war struck Europe when it was then commandeered by soviet soldiers. Around 70% of the original external building was destroyed due to bombings, and much of the interior was also highly damaged.

I believe this is why when Four Seasons undertook restoration of the building, they were determined to create such an amazing combination of modern contemporary design whilst also respecting history and ensuring all of the original regal elegance that the building once had was also restored as best as could be done. And what a fine job they did, it appears they really managed to capture the Gresham's original identity from 1906 so well.

I believe the Gresham really is only of the best hotels not just in Budapest, but I think in the whole of Europe, as it has such a spectacular history and extravagant, luxurious identity, coupled with the Four Seasons' overwhelming dedication to impeccable service that is why it has well deservedly made its way to the top of my list of top 5 hotels in Europe.

I'll be back again next week with my next hotel and to tell you more about my best times, and the fun I've had in Europe. Off for a drink with Muggy Mike now, perhaps he'd be interested in a trip to Budapest?