The Boscolo Hotel Budapest embodies the glorious opulence Budapest once enjoyed before war and communism tarnished its sheen during the 1900s. Originally constructed in 1894 by the New York Life Insurance Company, it houses the famous New York Café that for decades played host to the Hungarian literary zeitgeist – the patrons of which loved the café so that they took the keys and threw them into the Danube to prevent it ever closing!
A five year renovation project restored the building to its former splendour in 2006, and now the building’s eclectic mix of architecture combines to revive the curious yet fascinating experience of Eastern European art nouveau.
Walking through the impressive arcaded atrium, we arrived during a black tie function that was suitably extravagant in the surrounds of the gleaming chandeliers, polished marble of every colour and the extraordinary view past the arched landings to the night sky. The street-facing “Salon” houses the fine dining restaurant, serving modern interpretations of traditional Hungarian dishes, while the New York Café provides a slightly less formal dining experience where legendary writers, journalists and artists once gathered.
Underneath the complex exists a 25 metre lap pool, large steam room and saunas and a wide range of spa treatments, but the hotel’s central position makes it just as simple an option to experience the city’s historic bath houses; a short taxi away from the Szczesny (Pest) and Gellert (Buda) complexes.
The rooms are extravagantly Italian-styled in a sometimes inharmonious composition of deep colours, marble, and ornate furniture, however they are large and comfortable. A spacious bathroom features a deep tub and Etro bath products. The super kingsize bed of the Superior Room made for a remarkably comfortable landing after our decadent experience at the Salon restaurant.
If not staying at the Boscolo Hotel, we highly recommend dinner at the restaurant or a light meal at the Café to absorb the old world grandeur preserved in such impressive surrounds.