Budapest’s new Matild Palace hotel is built inside a UNESCO monument – Robb Report

The end of the 19the century was a particularly heady time for Budapest. Elegant architecture was flourishing and Princess Marie Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who resided in Hungary with her husband Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria, wanted to participate in the rebirth of the Belle Époque. With all the fanfare on the future Elisabeth Bridge connecting the Buda and Pest sides of the Danube, the princess decided to order a duo of large, symmetrical buildings placed at the entrance to the bridge on the Pest side. And now, after years of neglect, one of those UNESCO-protected structures has just been turned into Matild Palace, the city’s first Luxury Collection hotel. (Klotild Palace, his brother, will also be part of the Marriott family when he finds new life as St. Regis in a few years.)

Budapest is full of five-star properties like the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Aria Hotel Budapest, and most recently the Párisi Udvar Hotel, which debuted as part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection in 2019. But the calling card of Matild Palace is a skillful balance of past and present.

“Matild Palace reinvents its heritage while effortlessly capturing the many facets that make the city so spectacular – the diverse and vibrant culinary offerings, the incredible cultural significance and the breathtaking architecture and design”, Philipp Weghmann, vice -President and world leader of the brand for the luxury collection, tells Robb Report. “The building holds the key to the city’s glamorous past, with history rediscovered at every turn, and we look forward to welcoming travelers to experience its magic and appeal once again.”

The elegant building was originally commissioned by Princess Marie Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Courtesy Matild Palace

Completed in 1902 by architects Kálmán Giergl and Flóris Korb (who also worked on the New York Palace and the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, both landmarks of Budapest), the neo-Baroque Matild Palace was, in all respects , Magnificent. It featured Zsolnay ceramics – even to wrap radiators – and dazzling stained glass by famous Hungarian artist Miksa Róth, and was awash in intricate ironwork and moldings. Many of these striking details have now been carefully restored by artisans, under the supervision of London-based MKV Design; for example, you can see the stained glass windows on the hotel’s mezzanine, as well as a selection of Zsolnay pieces.

Matild Palace Budapest Luxury collection

Signature touches in the bedrooms include embroidered headboards inspired by a classic book.

Courtesy Matild Palace

In the 130 rooms and suites – which have been converted from the apartments where members of the monarchy and upper classes once lived – there are shakes of peacock blue and stunning embroidered headboards that make a reference. The Adventures of Sindbad, a Hungarian classic published in 1911 by Gyula Krúdy, one of the writers who frequented the literary Belvárosi café-restaurant that once stood in the palace.

Most rooms have bathrooms brightened up with blue and gold tiles – a nod to Budapest’s famous mosaic-covered Gellért Baths – but some are simply covered in marble, reminiscent of hammams. (Guests who wish to participate properly in the Turkish hammam ritual can visit the Small Swan Spa.) Best room options include the Crown Tower Suite, which is carved into the 157-foot-high tower of the building and features a vertiginous spiral staircase, and the royal suite Maria Klotild, with a large living room and panoramic views of the city and the river.

Matild Palace Budapest Luxury collection

The bathrooms are inspired by traditional Hungarian baths and Turkish hammams.

Courtesy Matild Palace

But while the Matild Palace celebrates its historic roots, it still manages to feel modern. A selection of pitched-roof loft-category rooms and suites on the fifth floor – a nod to the artist studio spaces the Princess once frequented – forgo touches like iconic headboards in favor of works of art contemporary art and furniture. And the lobby’s imposing vintage photo collage coexists with a large-scale sculptural chandelier reminiscent of a sparkling snowflake.

In addition, there is the first central European outpost of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago (the other closest place is in Istanbul). True to the brand’s roots, the ever-crowded restaurant’s sprawling patio has a distinctly LA vibe, with lush greenery and coral lounge chairs featuring cocktails and late lunches of spicy lamb sausage pizza. Later this summer, it will be joined by the Duchess, a moody jungle-aesthetic cocktail bar that will open on the rooftop.

Matild Palace Budapest Luxury collection

The bar at the outpost of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago hotel.

Courtesy Matild Palace

Even more fitting will be the fall arrival of the Matild Café et Cabaret, which was inspired by the old café scene that was unearthed during the renovation. Intimate musical performances will take place regularly here, but it will likely be the homemade cakes, served amid glorious period chandeliers, that take guests back to a bohemian era of yesteryear. Rates start at around $ 565 for rooms and $ 1,060 for suites. The Maria Klotild Royal Suite penthouse starts at around $ 7,596 per night.

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