Housed in one of the world’s most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace is the ideal destination to experience Hungary’s capital city, Budapest. Surviving pieces from the Belle Époque era and the Second World War are stashed across its five floors, and from the outside the hotel stands tall like a triumphant fairy-tale castle. Guests can even stay in rooms within Gresham Palace’s towers.
Through the hotel’s mesmerising beauty, phenomenal luxury and unbeatable location, a two-night stay here feels like a ten-day holiday. You’ll find a perfect balance between romantic and family-friendly, and in its latest venture, the hotel is offering guests the opportunity to discover Hungary’s emerging wine scene.
Between two Unesco World Heritage Sites, Gresham Palace gives you access to both pretty Buda while also being in action-packed Pest. Like London’s Embankment, the Széchenyi István tér, which runs in front of the hotel, is a thoroughfare to the city’s bridges. Although it’s a busy spot, river-facing rooms provide peaceful, panoramic views.
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Unfortunately, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge over the Danube River, which links Buda and Pest directly opposite Gresham Palace, has been under restoration since 2021. This means there’s a detour crossing over to the Buda district. However, the walk is enjoyable and invigorating, or the hotel can organise a car to take you.
The hotel’s interior
Through peacock-adorned, wrought-iron gates and sliding doors, you arrive in the grand foyer – a gateway to the rest of the hotel. Every time you pass through here you find something new to admire from swirling mosaic floors, walls engraved with hotel history, or domed roofs, some of which you can even walk on if you dare. Beautiful at every angle, the atmosphere throughout the hotel is tranquil yet lively with staff darting around on different missions.
Spacious, laden with sumptuous furnishings, and featuring Four Seasons’s signature beds, the bedrooms do not disappoint. Fun additions such as surround sound speakers mean you can listen to music in the marble-clad bathroom. Products by French brand Diptyque give pure “Paris of the East” vibes, and the selection of Four Seasons-branded sweets and treats delight the child within. Room service is available 24/7, which for a hotel that already offers so much, is pretty mind-blowing.
The cocktail bar
At MÚZSA bar, the cocktail menu itself is a delight. Beautiful 1920s-style artworks accompany each cocktail description, and creations are served in signature, ornate glassware. If you’re curious, ask for a tour of the rooms adjacent to the bar – each one’s dedicated to displaying the hotel’s magnificent porcelain China and glassware collections. These rooms and MÚZSA bar are the epitome of vintage mystique.
Things to do in Budapest
With so much on offer, it’s difficult to contemplate leaving the hotel so ask the reception staff to tailor a sightseeing expedition to you. Wine lovers should head to the Etyeki Kúria winery for a perfect city-break-cum-wine-retreat, and the best bit is it’s located less than 40 minutes from the hotel.
Adrenaline-enthusiasts should book a private speedboat ride. It’s best at dusk when the Hungarian Parliament’s dazzling façade is on full display. Also, look out for the Holocaust memorial dedicated to the tens of thousands of Jews who lost their lives along this stretch of the Danube.
Round your trip off with a visit to one of the city’s spectacular thermal spas. Gellért Bath is a famous Art Nouveau spa and film location, and Széchenyi Spa Baths is strikingly vast – in total it has 15 indoor baths and three grand outdoor pools.
Don’t forget to check out the hotel’s spa, too. Massages come accompanied with a selection of essential oils for you to choose, from floral to frankincense infusions. The pool area faces away from the riverside, and I couldn’t help but think how much more breath-taking it would be if it had offered panoramic views over the Danube. Nevertheless the gym’s well-laid out, and the spa sells excellent souvenirs from high-end Hungarian brands such as Omorovicza.
Budapest is an incredible destination for the curious – and this hotel is bursting with delights. Staff go out of their way to provide the absolute best, so if you’re low on time, but looking to have a pleasant, experience-filled adventure in Hungary’s capital, invest in a stay at Gresham Palace. You won’t leave disappointed.
Kaye O’Doherty was a guest of the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest. Rates for a Danube river-view room start from €584 (£514) per night; fourseasons.com
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