On Thursday 28th September, Hannah had the great pleasure of joining The Meetings Space for their Autumn 2017 forum in Budapest and the post FAM tour of the city! Keep reading to find out all about the trip and why this beautiful city is a ‘must see’ and should be THE destination for your next overseas event…
‘Budapest is a well connected destination to all major UK airports - I was on an 8:45am flight from Manchester and with only 2 hours and 20 minutes in the air, I was in Budapest by lunch time! We arrived outside the beautiful Corinthia Budapest hotel in 20 minutes where we were greeted, with champagne of course, by the smart doormen and The Meeting Space team. We were given our delegate packages and checked into our beautiful rooms where we had time to relax before the evening entertainment. We began the evening in the beautiful glass atrium at the hotel for drinks and canapés before being transferred to dinner at ‘KIOSK Budapest’ for a relaxed informal evening where we enjoyed a selection of Hungarian delicacies, including goulash! There were several chances to ‘win’ prizes throughout the duration of the trip and I was lucky enough to create the biggest bubble in the ‘Bubbly Budapest Buyer’ competition winning myself a magnum of Moët!!
The next day was an early start ready for supplier meetings – we made our way over to the Exhibition centre where each buyer had a table for the individual meetings. This room is connected to the foyer and main building by a glass walkway and has a maximum capacity of 270 in theatre. Once the meetings were over for the day, we split into small groups to enjoy activities around the city, some went out on Lopifits, an electric walking bike whilst others went out in Tuk tuks, Trabant cars, Segways and a tour bus! I was part of the group that went out in the Tuk Tuks and I would highly recommend - what a fab way to take in the sites of the city! Weaving in and out of the traffic and taking narrow roads to see the hidden gems of the city was just breathtaking! We had blankets and a speaker from which you could link up your phone to play your favourite songs, such a relaxing way to take in the sites! Our guide Tom, knew everything there was to know about Budapest and was really passionate about his home town. He took us to Heroes Square, told us about the cities traditions and the history behind the buildings, highly recommend! The tour finished on the Danube riverfront where we boarded a boat to wait for the other delegates with a glass of champagne and some canapés! Once everyone was on board, we set sail down the Danube! Past the world famous parliament buildings, the 3rd largest in the world and the largest building in Hungary with a whopping 691 rooms! The building is a simply beautiful Gothic Revival style building and it sits proudly on the bank of the river Danube.
After the river cruise we returned back to the dock before being whisked back to the hotel to get ready for the Gala dinner! This was held onsite in the Corinthia Ballroom, which is a simply WOW room holding a max capacity of 300 for a gala dinner! The room is very impressive with white and gold details along with traditional portraits!
We danced the night away after a sumptuous 3 course dinner, ‘best golden picture’ competition and photo booth fun before retiring for a luxurious nights sleep, ready for another morning of meetings!
After Saturday mornings meetings and the farewell lunch, we met the DMC to learn about the delights they had in store for us during the destination discovery day. To start, we went over to the thermal baths - Budapest is famous for being one of the largest cities in the world with a huge 118 natural thermal springs that mean the water in the Gellert Baths is between 21 – 78 degrees Celsius! After visiting the baths, we split into 2 groups to attend a traditional strudel making class and to visit the look out tower at St Stephens Basilica – the largest church in Hungary! The views were phenomenal and offered a different perspective of the Parliament building and the Danube along!
At the strudel class we learnt about Hungary’s traditional fillings and the strudel making techniques, the most popular filling being cottage cheese and sour cherries (nicer than it may sound!!)
Once the activities and walking tour was done, we headed over to the stunning Ritz Carlton to check in and get ready for an evening of surprises! We all met in the beautiful reception for a show round of the hotel, the Ritz Carlton has 6 meeting rooms with a max capacity of 170 in theatre style in the gorgeous Elizabeth Ballroom with additional breakouts also!
We took a ride on Budapest’s oldest underground to Heroes’ square where we had a short walk to our 4 course dinner at Gundel Etterem right next to the Zoo and Botanical Gardens where we had a drinks reception with some… surprise guests! We were greeted with drinks and canapés before being led over to a small lit up area where the manager of the zoo was waiting to greet us with some furry friends, we were introduced to a Coati (part of the raccoon family) an Owl and a Falcon! After dinner, we headed over to Budapest’s famous ruin bars where we enjoyed a drink in the very original bar. The history of the ruin bars is quite something, they originated in the old Jewish quarter of Budapest and were created by some locals in the buildings that were bombed and left in a mess after World War II, now it really is the place to be on a Friday an Saturday night, not only with tourists but with the locals too!
On the last day before flying home we had a walking tour of the Budapest palace where a local professional photographer taught us to take beautiful images using an iPhone! We were then taken to the beautiful Hilton Budapest for a quick drink and site visit, the hotel is located in the Royal Castle District a UNESCO world heritage site old with an outside terrace seating up to 200 in banquet, set between the old and new part of the hotel, with a beautiful framed view of the Parliament building. To finish the fabulous weekend we had a drinks reception and canapés right at the top of the Fisherman’s Bastion with breathtaking views across the Danube and Budapest!
After what I can only describe as an absolutely amazing trip, I would highly recommend you take your next event over to Budapest, the city has so much to offer! The forum itself was a huge help to us having come back into the office to a fabulous enquiry for Majorca, I had several new connections to make contact with and the clients extremely happy with the options!
We just never know what destinations will come up next so these forums and exhibitions are paramount for our venue knowledge! We’re already looking forward to our next trip!! :)'