Four Seasons Gresham Palace
Roosevelt ter 5-6, Budapest, Hungary, 1051
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Couples, Culture vultures, Foodies, Honeymooners, Celebrity spotting, Design and architecture, Relaxation, Shopping, Sightseeing
Best for Luxury - Expert review of Four Seasons Gresham Palace
The Four Seasons has it all: beautiful architecture, supreme comfort and a prime location. It was originally built in the early 1900s as a base for the London Gresham Life Assurance Society, and its Art Nouveau styling ranked among the very finest in the world. Painstakingly restored, it re-opened as a five-star-plus hotel in 2004. It’s difficult not to feel you’ve made it when checking in here – if you want elegance from your hotel, and are prepared to pay for it, this is the place for you.
Lording over Roosevelt tér and the Chain Bridge, the hotel is anchored on the river at the heart of Budapest’s tourist centre. You could not be better placed for the shops and restaurants of Váci utca.
In a word, plush. There are 179 rooms, each faithful to the hotel’s Art Nouveau design, with high ceilings and polished marble bathrooms. Rooms fall into six categories (excluding suites). Choose one in the Danube category for a balcony and view of the Buda Castle Palace on the opposite river bank; those in the cheaper brackets look over the hotel’s inner courtyards or the inner-city buildings to the east. All rooms have features you’d expect from accommodation in this range – safe, mini-bar, international television channels, and both bath and shower – and most have a separate toilet complete with telephone (for those who can’t be out of reach for a second!).
The class is evident from the moment you pass through the arched entrance into the broad lobby. Above is an undulating ceiling of white glass while underfoot is creamy marble set with swirling Art Nouveau motifs. At the centre is a massive, low-hanging chandelier with spiky shafts of crystal. Look out for the original gateway at one side, its ironwork twisted into delicate images of puff-chested peacocks – a favourite symbol of Art Nouveau artists. Elsewhere the corridors are adorned with contemporary artwork, and punctured with stained-glass windows depicting greats of Hungarian history.
There’s gourmet quality from the kitchen. The Páva Udvar (Peacock Passage) is set beneath the hotel’s glass cupola, and serves excellent Mediterranean cuisine and contemporary twists on Hungarian dishes. In the early 19th century, the coffeehouse here was a favourite with Budapest’s intelligentsia; the Gresham Café continues in the same refined tradition, and offers a wide selection of cakes and coffees.
If you want to ease any aches, head for the top floor. Hungary is big on spas, and this one offers a range of massages and other treatments using oils, muds and minerals. There are steam rooms, a whirlpool and a sauna, as well as a decent fitness room (complete with individual televisions on the running machines). Adjacent is a 12-metre infinity pool, with its water spilling over the edges.
Immaculate – the staff are respectful but helpful. There are some nice additional touches: each evening a note is left to tell you what you can expect from the next day’s weather, and you can leave your shoes in a bag outside the door if they need a bit of a polish.
Those willing to pay: business people, celebrities, royalty or just those who fancy splashing out a little during their weekend break. Generally you can expect to be surrounded by the smart set.
More information on Four Seasons Gresham Palace:
- Price from:
- Roosevelt ter 5-6, Budapest, Hungary, 1051
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Art Nouveau
- Business Centre, Fitness Centre, High-Speed Internet, Parking, Pets Allowed, Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool
- City Centre