One for the ages: the Hungarian capital’s Pest-Buda hotel

After a stylish renovation, Budapest’s oldest hotel epitomises the city’s intoxicating mix of past and present


Budapest's eventful history has created a compelling city of multiple personalities, home to a diverse assortment of architectural styles, a buzzing cafe culture and some of the most picturesque urban vistas in Europe. Divided into two main districts by the Danube, with Buda to the west and Pest to the east, the former is the historic heart of the city, while the latter offers an array of museums, shopping and nightlife.

Nestled in the Buda Castle district is the country's oldest hotel, Pest-Buda, which first opened its doors in 1696. Reflecting the revitalisation of Budapest itself in recent years, the family-owned hotel has just undergone an interior transformation to offer elegant and contemporary accommodation while paying tribute to the baroque origins of the building.

Pest-Buda enlisted the help of interior designer Tibor Somlai to put together the 10 individually designed rooms and suites. Fittings such as solid oak wall panelling and flooring evoke a rustic feel, juxtaposed against contemporary elements such as custom-made copper lamps and floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The plush bathrooms feature freestanding baths and oversized walk-in showers, made by craftsmen from local limestone. Graphic designer Geza Ipacs, whose work includes labels for some of Hungary's leading winemakers, was brought on to take care of the marketing materials and graphic design.

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The revamp also continues to the bistro, where Somlai has created a cosy atmosphere befitting the homely, comforting cuisine. The restaurant carries exclusively Hungarian wines, with a constantly rotating selection.

Successfully melding past and present, the Pest-Buda provides an ideal spot to experience an authentic taste of Budapest today.

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