Dominating busy Erzsebet Korut in Pest, with its imposing exterior and stately entrance, Budapest’s Corinthia Hotel owns its historic place in this bustling city. Read on for my full review of the ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’…
The beautiful exterior of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest
It’s said that the Corinthia – once called the Grand Royal Hotel – was one of the inspirations for Wes Anderson’s pink-tinged masterpiece. Built in 1896, it’s undergone various refurbishments over the years – most notably in the 50s, when it was all-but demolished by fire and rebuilt as one of the 60s’ most swinging European hotels. Its most recent reincarnation happened in 2004, when Corinthia took on this grand dame of Hungarian hospitality.
A huge marble lobby welcomes you, with fittingly lavish flower arrangements framing the grand staircases. All gleaming gold luggage carts and friendly porters, it’s the welcome you’d expect from a five-star hotel.
Hosts to everyone from Josephine Baker to Arnold Schwarzenegger over the years, this hotel impresses at every turn – there’s an executive lounge, chic bar and two swanky restaurants, the Asian-flavoured Rickshaw and beautiful glass-ceilinged Atrium and Brasserie. The rest of the hotel is similarly luxurious. There’s even a grand ballroom!
Making an entrance: Sarah marvels at the Corinthia’s grand lobby
As you’d expect from a high-end hotel, the rooms are spacious. Our Deluxe Suite looked out onto Erzsebet Korut but was still peaceful, and its huge king-sized bed offered a perfect night’s sleep. Nespresso machines, Hungarian wines and Bose sound systems in the rooms all make your stay better than a home-from-home – just as it should be!
Deluxe rooms (and other more expensive room tiers) also give you access to the executive lounge for complimentary all-day snacks, drinks and a daily cocktail hour – definitely worth it. If you have a little more to spend, splash out on an Executive, Signature or Presidential Suite for ultimate inner-city luxury.
A Deluxe Suite
A room with a view
FOOD AND DRINK
The Atrium is the Corinthia’s architectural and culinary centrepiece – a soaring glass ceiling above a white-linen and sparkling glass scene. Here, classic Hungarian cuisine is given a high-end twist, so that classics such as goulash are elevated from country fare to à la carte.
The beautiful atrium and its á la carte offerings
Meanwhile, at Rickshaw, sumptuous Asian flavours are served up in a sexy Far Eastern-inspired environment. And for a truly Budapestian experience, head to the adjoining Bock Bistro for a superb local wine list and hearty Hungarian food – you certainly won’t go back to your room hungry (our plum-roasted duck dish consisted of almost an entire bird).
There’s also in-room dining available, and for an after-dinner treat, get the knowledgeable barmen to mix you up a cocktail at Le Bar while you listen to live jazz or piano music.
The Royal Spa is one of the hotel’s crowning glories and deservedly so. Budapest is famous for its baths and the Royal Spa’s pool, originally built in 1886 and linked to the hotel in the early 1900s, doesn’t disappoint. Beautiful Art Deco balconies surround the pool, while private rooms offer ESPA treatments. There are saunas, steam baths and a Jacuzzi too – it’s an easy place to while away an afternoon (and a few hundred pounds).
The pool at the Corinthia’s Royal Spa
OUT AND ABOUT
With the famous Andrassy Avenue a stroll away, and Pest’s mixture of wide boulevards and twisty streets filled with pop-up ruin bars all within a short walk, there’s plenty to do in central Europe’s bustling heart.
You can’t leave Budapest without visiting one of the famous thermal baths – Gellert gets our vote for Instagram-worthy pics and for having indoor and outdoor pools – or heading up to the historic castle district.
There’s a darker side to the city’s history, too, which is worth exploring – the House Of Terror gives a good insight into the fear and control of the fascist and communist regimes which controlled Hungary for most of the 20th century.
The famous Gellert thermal baths
Exploring in Budapest
The sumptuous Corinthia Budapest is just the spot for a luxury weekend city break. It’s about much more than home comforts – this is a truly high-end hotel with facilities and rooms to match. In a fantastic location, which makes it easy to walk to all the city’s main attractions, its famous history is equalled by its modern facilities, making it an all-round winner. We’ll raise a glass of palinka to that!
TAKE ME THERE
Wizz Air flies from London Luton to Budapest, with fares starting from £43.99, one way. Superior Rooms at the Corinthia Hotel Budapest start from £130 per night, while Executive Suites are from £517 per night.
ERZSÉBET KÖRÚT 43-49
TEL: +36 1 479 4000
Author: Sarah Kershaw
Sarah started her career on glossy bridal monthly You and Your wedding, where she reviewed some of the world’s most luxurious honeymoon destinations. She is currently a Content Editor for ASOS and a freelance travel journalist.