The hotel industry, undoubtedly, is defined by its movers and shakers: those who dare to start something brand new and change things for the better. In the past few years, many hotels in Budapest have started thorough renovations on their properties, including the Radisson Blu Béke Hotel, to improve guest experience from arrival to departure, for business and leisure travelers alike.
“It is every hotel manager’s dream, to see his hotel beautified,” says Csaba Varga, General Manager of the Radisson Blu Béke Hotel who refers to the construction as a ‘regeneration project.’ “I can say that my dream has come true.” The GM reveals that such volume of renovation has never been seen in the company's life. “It is a real milestone. We have modernized the conference center and the community areas, in addition to the rooms where we had to strip the walls back to brick. It was like a ‘Format C:’ on a hard drive,” he notes, revealing that when it came to planning their future rooms, they asked returning guests to test the mock-up rooms. “We found their feedback extremely useful, and many of their ideas are literally built into the rooms which are now totally sound-proof, and easily manageable in terms of temperature and lighting. To meet the Radisson Blu standards, all rooms feature the so-called ‘BluPrint design’ with ergonomic furniture, wood flooring and multi-technology. We have also upgraded to anti-allergenic mattresses and king-size beds. After all, comfortable hotel beds which ensure a good night’s sleep, are the very essence of a hotel’s business.”
According to Varga, the conference and meeting rooms at Radisson Blu Béke Hotel were updated in line with the Radisson Blu brand’s ‘Experience Meetings Concept’. “Conferences and special occasions benefit from modern AV and full event technology, along with custom catering menus such as ‘Brain Food 2.0’. Due to the mobile walls, 13 meeting rooms are available in the facility, referred to as the Experience Center, which now offers over 973 square meters of event space, where the largest venue can host up to 300 delegates. Groups can make the most of our Radisson One-Touch App, which is much more than some fancy gag, due to its highly practical attributes: for instance, conference organizers can create closed group accounts and communicate to the group members easily, without any printed materials.
"To accommodate changes in consumer trends, the renovation process gave particular weight to considerations of gastronomy,” Varga says. "After all, Radisson Blu Béke Hotel is a city hotel that should further build on its superb central location at Teréz Boulevard, targeting locals, too, particularly with its culinary offers.” The new layout of the lobby at Radisson Blu Béke Hotel follows the ‘Agora concept,’: guests entering the 105-year old building arrive to a lobby-café-reception, immediately facing a bar under the emblematic Haranghy Dome (commonly known as the Béke Kupola). “Our Zsolnay Café, is a meeting point where tradition meets renewal, and where coffee and tea is served on the world-famous Zsolnay porcelain,” the GM adds. “The bistro menu includes all-time favorites such as Caesar salad and beef consommé, and, for the delight of the jetlagged, breakfast is available anytime during the day, this is called ‘brinner’. We are very proud of our sweets selection, especially the lactose and wheat flour free desserts with no added sugar, which are the signature creations of our Pastry Chef, György Bechmann.” According to the GM, György is a jury member at Hungary's ‘Sugar-free Cake Competition,’ organized by the Egy Csepp Foundation, an organization that Radisson Blu Béke Hotel supports. "We help them fight for the prevention and early recognition of diabetes by organizing campaigns, events and free public blood sugar measurements, sometimes at our premises.”
“The new image for the hotel was dreamed up by a Spanish interior design company led by Natalie Rottenburg, who we asked to stick to a timeless design instead of something trendy, because trends change fast,” the GM notes. “Also, she was asked to respect the building’s original character and artistic heritage marked by the beautiful stained-glass windows and frescoes created by Hungarian artist Jenő Haranghy. I believe she has done a tremendously beautiful job allowing guests and staff to experience history without sacrificing modern amenities, every time they enter the hotel."
Values and loyalty
In the hotel he manages, Varga prefers being present, and available, "at any time, for any issues,” reassuring that he, indeed, has a well-built HR manager background and that he finds it important to organize cross-trainings and everything that helps maintain loyalty among his colleagues. “For discovering and developing talents, we have introduced a mentor program named ‘Shadow’. Our hotel has just become more attractive – naturally, the level of service, which hangs on our people, has to be equally high."