In October 2021 I decided to come back to Budapest not only to see one of the prettiest European cities during my favourite season but mainly to experience a new Hungarian gem.
Matild Palace is one of the most important historical buildings in Hungary. Originally built between 1899 and 1902 by Kalman Giergl and Floris Korb under the patronage of Princess Maria Klotild, a member of the Habsburg Dynasty, during the Belle Epoque period. One of the twin palaces built in a Neo-Baroque style provides a gateway for those entering the Pest area of the city over the famous Elizabeth Bridge.
Turkey-based Özyer Group has signed an agreement with Marriott to launch the first Luxury Collection brand in Hungary with Matild Palace. The 120-year-old building, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was transformed into a glorious hotel after five years of meticulous work.
Matild Palace was restored by award-winning interior designer Maria Vafiadis and Hungary's well-known architects Péter Dajka and Puhl Antal. The hotel has 111 rooms and 19 suites, most of which have four-metre-high ceilings with views of the Danube river.
The Art Nouveau motifs complemented by modern technology, reflect the beauty of Hungary's historical heritage and refer to the culture of the Budapest aristocracy of that time.
You will find three lifts whose history also dates back to 1902. The architects were innovative - The Matild Palace was the first building in Budapest to have its own lift.
The presence of the art is vital at the Matild Palace, as Princess Clotilde was a great patron. Hundred years ago, the attic suites housed artists' and photographers' studios, and Princess organised secret meetings with famous artists of the day.
The interior design is full of exquisite handmade elements, reminiscent of both traditional Hungarian style and Art Nouveau: intricately carved headboards, herringbone parquet, embroidered pillows and crystal lamps.
The bathrooms, inspired by the Zsolnay national tiles, will embrace you with the atmosphere of Hungarian thermal baths with the depth of sapphire shades.
Of all the rooms I found the Crown Tower Suite the most fascinating, which is divided into three levels. This is the first hotel room in Hungary with a 48-meter tower and a 360-degree view of the city. Its appearance is inspired by the crown of Duke Joseph Karl of Austria. Staying in a room with a personal observation tower soaring above the rooftops of the city will give you a new experience of luxurious leisure.
Breakfast takes place in the Spago restaurant which has lovely views of Elizabeth bridge and the city. The dining room and outdoor seating are all elegant and photogenic. The à la carte menu offers classic international and Hungarian flavours. Guests can enjoy it upstairs in their room.
On the third day, we had an early morning flight to catch. But the hotel staff did take care of it all - Spago has arranged us a wonderful breakfast on the go! Having stayed in many luxury hotels around the world, I was really impressed by this thoughtful touch.
Wolfgang Puck Restaurant
Promising to bring a new sense of gastronomy and entertainment to the city, all food operations at Matild Palace are designed by world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. He brings together the famous Beverly Hills-style dining experience with traditional Hungarian cuisine at his legendary restaurant Spago, which managed to enter the Michelin Guide in its first year in Budapest.
Matild Café & Cabaret
In the past, the site of Matild Café & Cabaret was a favourite socializing spot for residents and visitors of the city - one of the oldest coffee houses in Europe, Belvárosi Kávéház. It opened in 1901 and became the first cafe in Budapest after the Second World War. It will immerse you in the opulent atmosphere of La Belle Époque and the decadent 1920s. The concept of cabaret performances is still quite unique in Hungary.
The Duchess bar
And hidden among the many rooftops of Budapest, overlooking the Elisabeth Bridge, the Danube River and Gellert Hill, The Duchess bar is a secret library - or rather, a library of cocktails under the starry sky. In 1884, Duchess Marie Clotilde commissioned a secluded space on the roof of Matild Palace where lovers of decadence could gather - and this story formed the basis for the design of the bar.
The Swan Spa is inspired by the city's symbol, the swans on the Danube River. It offers Hungarian-style treatments with traditional thermal therapy and relaxing rituals.
Matild Palace is one of the few hotels in the world that managed to combine art, design and technology while preserving its historical heritage. Their goal is to provide guests with accommodation focused on local values. In a word, the renovated Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel will envelop you in the atmosphere of royal art de vivre and introduce you to the amazing history of the country and its haute cuisine.