Budapest has risen in the ranks of weekend getaways for several reasons, but cost has certainly played a part. You need very little pocket money to enjoy the city to its fullest –thanks to cheap eats and a lot of activities on offer being either free or very reasonably priced. This makes Budapest an accessible city break for anyone, no matter their budget. You can be forgiven then, for thinking that accommodation would follow suit. However, although cheap hostels are in abundance, as soon as you step into the realm of hotels, prices start to skyrocket. This isn't good news for solo travellers, who have to foot the entire room bill.
Although Air BnBs are a good choice for groups, unless you are a solo traveller who enjoys company when returning 'home' from a day's sightseeing, then they aren't the most desirable choice. When Air BnB goes well, it goes really well, and you're sitting in a hot tub on a rooftop overlooking the skyline. But, when it goes wrong it can go very wrong – the Air BnB property turns out to be in an unsafe area, the property is in an uninhabitable state, weird roommates, or your Air BnB host doesn't turn up and you are left out on the street curb searching desperately for a hostel or hotel on your phone. That's the problem – when it goes wrong, it's all your problem and no amount of complaining will fix it. So what do you do if you want the freedom and flexibility of your own place like Air BnB, but still want the safety of having hotel security and a reception desk to turn to when the shower isn't working? Let me introduce you to K9 Residence – which offers exactly that.
K9 Residence is a collection of 33 apartments in the heart of Budapest's downtown area on the Pest side. The location, on buzzing Károly körút, really is unbeatable – it's a few steps away from the main metro hub of Deák Ferenc tér where you arrive from the airport and where several other lines intersect. It's is equally the perfect base for those who love to walk because it's not too far from any of the main sights on either side of the river. K9 Residence has a 24-hour reception, which is a huge plus for solo travellers because it offers a peace of mind that they wouldn't have in a random apartment block somewhere in the city. It also has the added benefit of allowing those arriving early or late to store their luggage so they don't have to trundle it around the city while they wait to check-in. Furthermore the friendly reception staff are more than willing to offer tips and advice to help you make the most of your stay, as well as willingly offering fresh towels and extra toilet roll if you run out (hallelujah – my Air BnB pet hate of musty towels and lack of loo roll resolved!)
The apartments themselves will impress – spacious (mine was bigger than my own in Munich!), modern and spotlessly clean. The kitchenette is convenient for those times when you don't feel like roaming around to find breakfast before you kick off your day or, equally, when you return from several hours soaking in the thermal baths and perhaps just want to snack on some fruit rather than a heavy meal. It also provides the perfect place for all of those Túró Rudi (see Budapest:Eat for more on those). Stocking the fridge is no hassle either, as there is a supermarket right next door. However, as K9 Residence is located on the cusp of the foodie Seventh District heaven, your use of the kitchenette may be somewhat limited. It's worth noting that there's no cleaning service during your stay (remember this a residence, not a hotel), so don't go around dumping your towels on the floor anticipating a refresh the next morning. I didn't find the lack of cleaning to be a problem – after all, do you clean your own place at home every day?
If you aren't a light sleeper, then opt for a room overlooking Károly körút for some great views to wake up to. Those who are a little more sensitive – or who haven't bought a supply of ear plugs in their travel bag – then a room towards the back may be a better bet. If visiting in summer, K9 Residence apartments have the bonus of all having air conditioning and it's something you will be more than grateful for – I visited in September when temperatures were still hitting 38-degrees, and my apartment offered the perfect respite from the heat. In fact, the benefit of being so central means that you often pass by the apartment when on your way to other parts of the city – which means stopping off for a siesta in summer won't take unnecessary time out of your sightseeing schedule.
Of course, the question on everyone's minds still hasn't been answered – "But does it have Wifi?!" No need for concern, all K9 Residence's apartments have fully functioning and fast Wifi for planning your next day activities during your trip. The safety conscious can rest assured too – all apartments have safety deposit boxes in them where you can store your cash and valuables. This is particularly useful because the K9 Residence accepts cash payments only for your stay, so you'll undoubtedly want to keep this sum safe until check-out (or alternatively, you can pay upfront or any other time during your stay). Also, don't underestimate the importance of a safety deposit box – when travelling to several countries you'll often have a lot of different types of cash with you at any one time, and it's a huge plus if you can leave a lot of it safely in your accommodation and not have to carry it around or find unsuspecting places in your suitcase to stuff it.
Location, spacious and spotless lodgings and a 24-hour reception – K9 residence has everything to make a solo stay in Budapest a wonderful and hassle-free one. Add to that the fact apartments can cost as little as 30 euros a night depending on when you visit (mine only cost 65 euros during peak season), and you're guaranteed to come away smiling.