Vaci Utca 36
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, 1056
With a distinctive ambience that reflects its Hungarian heritage, Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel is the social hub of Budapest with its rich history, culture and epicurean excellence. Here, Executive Assistant Manager, Marketing, Selim Olmez, shares more about the UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as how to experience the city like a true local.
"Designed by the award-winning MKV Design, led by studio founder Maria Katsarou Vafiadis, the interior aesthetics of Matild Palace celebrate the building’s rich heritage, rooted in the culture and high society of Budapest, while crafting a new, modern destination for locals and global explorers alike."
Can you tell us about the design of Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel?
Designed by the award-winning MKV Design, led by studio founder Maria Katsarou Vafiadis, the interior aesthetics of Matild Palace celebrate the building’s rich heritage, rooted in the culture and high society of Budapest, while crafting a new, modern destination for locals and global explorers alike.
Completed in 1902, the palace was a revolutionary building at the turn of the century and remains one of the most recognizable buildings in Budapest. The property is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of two buildings commissioned by Her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Klotild of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Standing as a gateway to the famous Elisabeth Bridge, the ornate structure originally housed cafes, shops and galleries along with residential apartments on the floors above.
The hotel's truly unique design communicates a strong narrative taking guests on an enchanting journey through time, beginning at the palace doors. The historical entrance passage has been further enhanced with magnificent pendant lights made up of individual porcelain pieces in a homage to traditional Zsolnay Hungarian art.
The main lobby and reception offer a sense of serenity and escapism from the city with intricate design and detailing across the windows shielding the view of the city’s busy streets as guests check in. In the lobby, you will find a collection of historic photos, offering insight into Budapest’s history and the original palace, displayed on a wall around a specially commissioned portrait of The Duchess. In the centre of the space, a bespoke elegant chandelier plays tribute to a fine piece of jewellery once handed down to The Duchess through many generations of the Habsburg family.
What are three fascinating things about the property that set it apart from other hotels?
- Hungarian Soul: From the historical back-story, the interior design right up to the experience programming, everything we have has ‘Hungarian Soul’ in mind. This creates a unique and authentic Matild Palace experience.
- The Gateway: The palaces were built to serve as a gateway to the city from the bridge. Today, we provide for our guests access to the river and the city. We connect them to the city.
- The Place To Be: It is the social hub of Budapest, from the daytime cafe culture to the exclusive late-night vibe of the rooftop bar, or experiences provided by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck.
What design touches does Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel bring into rooms and suites to make them feel like someone’s home-away-from-home?
Matild Palace offers an exceptional choice of 111 guestrooms and 19 suites, the majority of which provide stunning views across the entire city. The property has a choice of four guestroom categories, with each taking inspiration from The Duchess’ interests and exuberant lifestyle and early 20th Century Budapest, allowing the design and interiors to remain authentic to the building’s history.
Most guestrooms display soaring ceilings and feature unique detailing and craftsmanship with hints of Art Nouveau. Nods to traditional Hungarian culture can be seen throughout with delicately handcrafted headboards, Hungarian style fishbone design parquet floors, embroidered cushions, and elegant crystal lamps.
Lavish spa-style bathrooms inspired by the traditional thermal baths of Hungary feature exclusively designed Italian cast bathtubs and rain showers, clad in turquoise glass mosaic complete with gold accents. Rich white marble slabs cover the walls and floors around the vanity area which feature double sinks, gold detailing and heated flooring for a divine bathing experience.
Matild Palace Budapest
Matild Palace offers an exceptional choice of 111 guestrooms and 19 suites, the majority of which provide stunning views across the entire city.
Can you share what sorts of unique experiences the team will be designing for guests?
From Budapest to the epicurean experiences, Matild Palace provides unrivaled personal service with unique experiences never before offered in the city. For example, a short boat trip for insider access to a hidden wine cellar underneath the hills of Budapest, that was built 100 years ago, or, a day out with our executive chef to the forests for truffle hunting.
Which dish should guests not miss on the in-room dining (or restaurant) menu?
The Smoked Salmon Pizza at Spago by Wolfgang Puck Budapest is definitely not to miss.
What cocktail is a must-try at the hotel?
Rough Love at Spago by Wolfgang Puck Budapest.
If a guest wanted to experience Budapest like a local, what are three things that should be on their to-do list?
First, I would suggest a Budapest Culinary Tour. One should discover the city’s vibrant culinary scene, the famous food markets, hidden bakeries and the best specialty cafés. Hungarian cuisine is experiencing a revolutionary transformation thanks to the talented young chefs and restauranteurs around town. A complete understanding about Budapest’s gastronomic highlights includes the street food culture, becoming familiar with Lángos, the authentic Hungarian Gulyás soup, Kürtös Kalács or apple, walnut and poppy-seed pastry called Flódni.
Next, discover one of the main wine producing areas of the Etyek-Buda wine region, often called the vineyard of Budapest for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling wine. It is essential to explore the Wine Route, the cellar rows of Körpince-, Kecskegödör-, Sóskúti út, the press houses of Öreghegy and Újhegy, as well as the beautiful vineyards. For a true gastronomic experience, taste diverse, unique, and rustic dishes, like homemade cheese, hams, syrups and chocolates. My top winery tips are Hernyák Estate and Anonym Winery.
And finally, explore lake Balaton – the iconic lake of Hungary, weekend destination of locals as well as a food and wine lover's heaven.
Where in Budapest would you suggest a guest go if they are looking for design inspiration?
I suggest a walk in the city for complete overview of Budapest history and culture. Our professional guides not only take you to the most important sights, but they also show you the hidden gems of the beloved capital. A good walk will familiarise you with our stunning architecture from the ‘Belle Epoque’ Era, Secessionist Hungarian Art Nouveau or even Bauhaus.
Can you share 3 to 5 off-the-beaten-path recommendations for food, coffee or drinks in Budapest?
The Luxury Collection Concierge team in Budapest suggests our guests explore the legendry coffee houses of Budapest. Although the city is not known as the city of cafes in Europe, when you take a closer look you will find some of the most gorgeous cafes hidden in palaces, 18th Century townhouses or art-nouveau residential buildings. You must visit:
- Ruszwurm Cukrászda: Budapest’s oldest coffee house
- Centrál Kávéház: The literary hub
- Hadik Kávéház: The classic cafe with a modern face
- Gerbeaud: A coffee house with aristocratic opulence
- Művész Kávéház: The pre-show hangout
And finally, Matild Café & Cabaret, the return of the historical Belvarosi Kávéház, located at Matild Palace and opening in September 2021.
If you had to bring home one souvenir from Budapest, what would that be?
Without a doubt, Hungarian Palinka, the famous fruit liqueur. My favourite is apricot palinka.
What inspires you to travel?
The adventure and learning. I am very much inspired when I hear travel stories from others, and I create my own ones, collecting a lot of memories. Each time I travel, I explore and learn.
What does it feel like to wrap yourself in Frette?
A comfortable sleeping experience, like I am wrapped in opulence.
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