Want to combine history with your accommodation? In Budapest, you can experience the city’s rich history and amazing architecture before even setting foot out of your hotel doors. Budapest is home to a number of turn-of-the-century hotels that combine stunning structure with fascinating history, allowing its guests to admire the capital city’s old world charm from within their own accommodations.
Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal - There’s plenty of history surrounding the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, a luxury hotel that opened in 1896 for the Hungarian Millennium Exhibition. At the time, it was the largest and most elegant hotel in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and many celebrities, including Josephine Baker and Heinz Rühmann, stayed here. The former ballroom of the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal gave home to the Royal Apollo Cinema for decades. During the revolution in 1956, a fire destroyed the entire roof of the hotel. The recent and full makeover is the work of Hungarian architect Miklós Marosi, who kept the façade to the Boulevard and rebuilt the rest, giving Budapest a truly beautiful building.
Hotel Palazzo Zichy - Feel like royalty by staying in one of Budapest’s newest hotels, Hotel Palazzo Zichy, located in a historical neo-baroque building that was originally designed and built in 1899 for a famous Hungarian noble family, the Zichys. The palace served as their residence until 1928, when it was sold to Countess Emma Károlyi, another noble. Count Nándor Zichy (1829-1911), who commissioned the palace, was also involved in the political life of the country during the time of the Austro Hungarian Empire. There is a Jesuit Church located next to the palace, which was often visited by the Count. Today, the palace is home to a four star hotel, featuring contemporary and state-of-the-art guestrooms.
New York Palace Boscolo Hotel - Creative minds can get inspired in The New York Palace Boscolo Hotel, an eclectic hotel built between 1891 and 1895 that once gave home to the famous New York Café, a popular place among writers and editors. Today, the building stands as a rethinking of the original, and its beauty is found in its use of Italian renaissance, with opulent splendor and quality materials such as Carrara, Giallo, Siena, and Botticino Italian marbles that decorate the building.
Danubius Hotel Gellért - Treat yourself to a stay in one of Budapest’s most beautiful buildings, the Danubius Hotel Gellért. Built between 1912 and 1918, this hotel has been an important landmark in Budapest for over 80 years, and houses the world-famous Gellért Baths. Inspired by the Vienna Secession, German Jugendstil, Art Nouveau from Belgium and France, as well as traditional Hungarian decorative designs like Zsolnay mosaics, the Danubius Hotel Gellért is the most photographed spa hotel in Hungary.
Four Seasons Gresham Palace - See how luxury is done Budapest-style by staying in the Four Seasons Gresham Palace, a former office building and home for wealthy British aristocrats that was bought in 2001 by the Four Seasons hotel chain and re-opened as a luxurious hotel. Commissioned by the English Insurance Company, Gresham was originally built in the early 1900s in Art Nouveau style. During World War II, Soviet soldiers took residence in the extravagant palace. Eventually, it fell into disrepair and served as an apartment building during the Communist era. A portrait of the former owner, Mr. Gresham, can be seen on the hotel’s façade.
Danubius Hotel Astoria - Opt for tradition and style at the Danubius Hotel Astoria, a building that boasts an Empire style interior decoration, marble cover, crystal chandeliers, glittering mirrors, and stained-glass windows. First opened in 1914, Hotel Astoria has undergone several reconstructions and modernizations, but its unique grace has always been carefully restored. Film producers and directors often take the advantage of the excellent facilities of the hotel, which provide the perfect scenery for film shooting.
Turn of the 20th Century Atmosphere in Budapest
In order to fully appreciate Budapest’s present appearance and to understand its atmosphere, you should remember that Budapest and Vienna were twin capitals of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for 51 years (from 1867 to 1918). It was during this era that many buildings in Pest were commissioned, which makes it easier to place the stunning architecture that bears such a resemblance to Vienna’s.
In 1873, after the joining of Buda, Pest and Óbuda (Old Buda), Andrássy Avenue was built up with many Neo-Renaissance palaces, such as the famous Opera House. Giving way to Neo-Gothic and Neo-Baroque styles, as well as Romanticism, this is also the time when Art Nouveau began to flourish. Elegant hotels such as the Ritz, Bristol, Royal and Carlton emerged, and many hotels from this era stand today as popular choices for tourists who are looking for more than just a comfortable room to store their luggage.