Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Budapest Gresham Palace

The Gresham Palace Hotel building was built by and for a British Insurance Company between 1904 and 1906, and was their Budapest office, residential apartments and shopping arcades. It is a stunning example of an At Nouveau building, which was badly damaged during the second world war, then allowed to slowly deteriorate. It has been lovingly restored and converted into a luxury hotel by the Four Seasons Hotel group, with support from the Hungarian government.

The imposing exterior of the hotel, as seen from the Chain Bridge. Remember you can click on the photographs to enlarge them - this building has many small details that are hard to see unless you do!
This balcony is to the right of the entrance, there are beautiful carved stone decorations, small touches of gold, and mini mosaics all over the building.

Here is a closer view of the front of the building, from street level. Below is are a few examples of the mini mosaics around the ground floor windows - each window has a different pattern.

There are also metal decorative elements on the front of the building, as shown below.

The two pictures below are of the plaques and stone sculptural elements at the left and right of the entrance to the hotel, just before you enter.

When you have entered the hotel, and look back at the entrance, you can clearly see the fabulous ironwork and glass panels which separate the outer 'porch' from the foyer proper. There are at least 3 of these ironwork panels - this one, plus one at the end of each ground floor wing.

This is a plaque in the foyer, explaining who built the building, and why. There is one in Hungarian on the opposite wall.

In the foyer directly in front of you as you enter, is the most fabulous light fitting. This is several feet from top to bottom - my memory is hazy, but between 3 and 4 feet, I think.

This is the hotel foyer, the main reception is to the right of the picture, the floor is all mosaic, the walls are all tiled, every other tile has a Nouveau design in relief. You can see the fabulous ironwork designs at the end of the wing of the hotel.

The hotel foyer and ground floor is very light and airy, and when you look up, you realise why - the ceilings in the foyer and two wings are glass, with more beautiful designs built into them.

These doors are stunning, I have no idea where they lead - perhaps a grand ball room? Or the stairs?

Some detail of the wall tiles and wall light fittings.

They have even had planters made with mosaic decorations to match the floor.

These are the chandeliers in a side room off the foyer, there was another reception desk here.

There was also a small bar, with a front made of lovely bespoke glass panels.

We wandered from the bar into a lounge area, which was very splendid. Apparently, when the building was built, this wing was a shopping arcade, and the rooms off to the sides were small shops.

We decided that we would pretend to be rich for half an hour, so asked for the drinks menu.

We hope our shock at the prices didn't show on our faces, but we decided to go for it, and ordered a coffee and a hot apple cider - at £5/$7.50US each.... the drinks came with two tiny petit fours each - which were lovely. The hot apple cider was obviously hand made, and came with a cinnamon stick.

We made the drinks last for half an hour, and just enjoyed looking at the building, including a close inspection of the panel at the end of the lounge.

Even the floral arrangements inside the hotel were very chic and stunning!

If you want to see more (and better) pictures of the hotel, the Four Seasons group have some gorgeous images on their website:


chrissy said...

WOW...what an elegant place. Thanks for the pics Adrienne.

Rena Sawatski said...

Beautiful pics-what a gorgeous hotel. Had a look at the rest of your travel pics since I haven't been here for a while. Especially enjoyed the Breton info as we have a Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.

Mrs Jones said...

Fab! I'm in Budapest right now and was taking photos of the outside of the Gresham Palace about 3 hours ago for my own blog - have to admit I didn't think of going inside. May have to now. Did St Stefan's basilica yesterday but managed to walk in during a big service, so took pictures of that. Sadly, St Stefan's zombie hand wasn't available for viewing because of the service, but I'll get it later! You have some lovely pictures and more patience than I in uploading them all!