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The Luxurious Five-Star Hotel Enshrined Within a UNESCO-Listed Palace


Reviving Elegance: The Rebirth of Matild Palace as a Marriott Luxury Collection Hotel

In the heart of Budapest, standing proudly over the Elisabeth Bridge for more than a century, the Matild Palace holds a storied past that mirrors Hungary's dynamic history. Built in 1902 as a symbol of the Austro-Hungarian empire's strength and prosperity, the palace witnessed a golden era before succumbing to the challenges of the 20th century.

Once a beacon for Europe's elite and famous during its early 20th-century peak, the Matild Palace faced decline under communist rule and struggled to regain its former glory in the post-Soviet era. However, a transformative five-year journey led by renowned interior designer Maria Vafiadis and local architects Puhl Antal and Péter Dajka has breathed new life into this historic landmark.

The Matild Palace, overlooking the Danube River and connecting the two halves of Budapest, has emerged from this meticulous restoration as a 130-room, luxury five-star hotel. Rebranded as the Marriott-branded Matild Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel, its grand reopening in 2021 marked a significant chapter in Budapest's social scene.

The palace's history intertwines with the late 19th century, driven by Princess Marie Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's vision to infuse western European Belle Époque culture into Hungary. Commissioned by the Archduchess of Austria, the Matild and its sister building, the Klotild Palace, adorned either side of the Pest-side entrance to the newly constructed Elisabeth Bridge.

Professor József Laszlovszky, director of the cultural heritage studies program at Central European University, describes Matild Palace as an essential emblem of Pest, symbolizing the fusion of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda into a unified city in 1873. Now, with its renewed splendor, Matild Palace continues to stand as a testament to Hungary's rich heritage, inviting guests to immerse themselves in the timeless elegance of this Marriott Luxury Collection Hotel.

Matild Palace: A Culinary Odyssey Through Budapest's Storied Past

In the late 19th century, Budapest underwent a rapid transformation into a vibrant cosmopolitan hub, marked by the creation of new avenues, streets, and magnificent public structures. At the forefront of this urban renaissance was Matild Palace, an architectural marvel completed in 1902 by the visionary architects Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl. Beyond its physical grandeur, the palace quickly became the epicenter of Budapest's social and culinary scene, drawing royalty, presidents, prime ministers, and international celebrities.

The interiors of Matild Palace, adorned with intricate Zsolnay ceramics and stained glass masterpieces by Hungarian artist Miksa Róth, became synonymous with opulence. Pioneering construction techniques, such as the core iron structure complemented by carved stone, showcased the architectural brilliance of the era. Matild Palace set another milestone by being one of the first locations in Hungary to feature an elevator system installed by the Otis Elevator Company.

Throughout the tumultuous events of the First and Second World Wars, including the devastating Siege of Budapest in 1944-45, Matild Palace endured, with its iconic Belvárosi Kávéház café serving as a haven for socialites, artists, and writers immersed in Hungary's café culture. Following the wars, the palace underwent restoration in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution, symbolizing a new beginning for Budapest. The reopening of the café became a beacon of hope and renewal, ushering in a period of bustling activity within the palace, albeit under stricter controls.

In recent years, a dedicated restoration effort led by artisans has meticulously brought back Matild Palace to its original glory, transforming it into a luxurious five-star hotel. Professor József Laszlovszky, director of the cultural heritage studies program at Central European University, acknowledges the unique significance of Matild Palace as a blend of built and intangible heritage, representing a quintessential example of Budapest's café house culture.

As the Matild Palace hotel opens its doors to a new era, it not only stands as a testament to Budapest's rich history but also promises a culinary journey through time, allowing patrons to savor the flavors of a bygone era amidst the splendid ambiance of this iconic landmark.

Matild Palace: A Resilient Legacy of Elegance and Cultural Evolution

"In the wake of the communist system change, the fate of the Matild Palace took a turn as it was nationalized, initiating a lengthy period of varied functions for the building," remarks Laszloszky. This era saw the café house transformed into a student canteen and later a nightclub, leading to alterations that deviated from the original architectural design, causing a gradual erosion of its café culture.

Yet, against the odds, the Matild Palace retained its innate elegance. A testament to its enduring spirit and the indomitable Hungarian essence, the palace gained UNESCO protection in 1977. Following an extensive refurbishment in 1984, the Belvárosi Kávéház was rebranded as Lidó. Beyond being a mere café, Lidó evolved into a cultural hub, hosting lunchtime folklore shows, live jazz, cabaret performances, and various forms of entertainment.

Embracing the challenges of the new millennium, Matild Palace continued to metamorphose. Lidó saw successive reincarnations as a disco club, a casino, and eventually the Matild Café & Cabaret, meticulously restored to honor its Belvarosi Kávéház heritage. However, the most remarkable transformation unfolded in 2017 with an $80 million renovation project aimed at reimagining Matild Palace as a luxury hotel.

Architect Péter Dajka, integral to the latest renovation, emphasizes the meticulous effort invested in reconstructing historic spaces to recapture the ambiance of 120 years ago. Preservation of the building's soul, embodied in its original Belle Époque elegance, was central to the hotel's concept and interior design narrative.

Today, Matild Palace stands fully restored to its original grandeur, boasting meticulously preserved façades, passages, staircases, and the historical café. The narrative of Matild Palace echoes not only the architectural history of Budapest but also the resilient spirit of a cultural landmark that has gracefully adapted to the winds of change, emerging as a symbol of timeless elegance and historical continuity.

Matild Palace: A Cultural Haven and Culinary Oasis in the Heart of Budapest

"From the very beginning, our vision for Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, has been to restore this iconic building to its rightful place among the locals of bustling Budapest," expressed Selim Olmez, the general manager. He emphasizes that all dining venues are open not only to hotel guests but also to visitors and locals, fostering a sense of community and connection.

The guestrooms, meticulously designed to pay homage to the rich history of Budapest, feature unique details such as headboards with Hungarian handcrafting, fishbone-design parquet floors in the Hungarian style, and artwork referencing Budapest literature. Olmez proudly mentions the Maria Klotild Royal Suite, named in homage to the archduchess, which stands as a pinnacle of luxury with crystal chandeliers, handmade glass mosaics, and bespoke furniture, evoking the opulence of the palace's past.

Matild Palace also seeks to celebrate its historical role as a hub for artists and intellectuals. The café, a cornerstone of the palace's legacy, now proudly displays artifacts, archive photos, and artworks that chronicle its vibrant past. A statue of the renowned Hungarian writer Gyula Krúdy, a regular at the Belvárosi Kávéház, has been installed outside, further commemorating the palace's cultural significance.

"We aim to offer not only a gastronomic experience but also an educational and immersive journey for our guests," says Olmez. The café is envisioned as a space where people can engage in meaningful conversations, reminiscent of its vibrant past as a socializing hub for Budapest's creative minds.

Among the highlights of Matild Palace is Spago by Wolfgang Puck, marking the debut of Puck's Beverly Hills dining concept in Hungary. This venue offers a contemporary twist on traditional Hungarian cuisine along with local renditions of Puck's signature Californian dishes.

Additionally, The Duchess at Matild Palace stands out as a secret liquor library, perched high above Budapest's rooftops. Inspired by the archduchess's request for a hidden bar in 1884, The Duchess offers a luxury garden bar experience with stunning views across the city.

Matild Palace, with its restoration, not only revives the architectural splendor of Budapest but also serves as a dynamic cultural and culinary destination, inviting locals and visitors alike to partake in a journey through history, art, and gastronomy.

Matild Palace: A Grandeur Address in Budapest's Heart

For those seeking an extraordinary experience in the heart of Budapest, Matild Palace stands as a beacon of opulence and cultural vibrancy. Nestled at Vaci Utca 36, Budapest 1056, this iconic establishment has undergone a transformation, becoming a symbol of the city's rich history and contemporary allure.

The Duchess: A Hidden Gem Above the Rooftops

Dial +36 30 550 5000 to discover The Duchess, a clandestine liquor library perched high above Budapest's rooftops within Matild Palace. Inspired by the archduchess's desire for a secret bar in 1884, The Duchess offers a luxurious garden bar experience with breathtaking views of the city.

Matild Café & Cabaret: Belle Époque Extravaganza

Contact +36 30 550 5000 to revel in the Belle Époque splendor of Matild Café & Cabaret. This two-story venue, discovered during the hotel's extensive refurbishment, now pulsates as a vibrant yet sophisticated party hub for the entire city. Witness cabaret shows on a hydraulic elevated stage, adding a touch of theatrical magic to your night.

Indulge in tranquility at Swan Spa, another gem within Matild Palace. This boutique spa, reachable at +36 30 550 5000, offers a traditional Turkish-Hungarian-inspired bath experience. Immerse yourself in thermal therapy and Hammam rituals, embracing relaxation in one of Budapest's most charming spa destinations.

The Suites: Luxurious Residences with a View

Matild Palace welcomes visitors with 111 luxury five-star guest rooms and 19 executive suites. Inspired by the duchess's extravagant lifestyle, the suites offer a glimpse into opulence. Choose from four guest room categories, each providing breathtaking views across Budapest and the Danube, promising an unforgettable stay.

Matild Palace stands not just as a hotel but as a living testament to Budapest's grandeur. With its diverse offerings, it invites guests to immerse themselves in history, culture, and the unmatched beauty of the city.

Matild Palace — A Resplendent Fusion of History and Luxury in Budapest

In conclusion, the narrative of Matild Palace unfolds as a captivating tale of resilience, restoration, and rejuvenation. From its origins as a symbol of strength in the Austro-Hungarian empire to enduring transformations under various roles during tumultuous times, the palace has emerged as a beacon of elegance and cultural significance.

The meticulous five-year renovation, led by renowned designers, has successfully returned Matild Palace to its original grandeur, securing its status as a luxury five-star hotel. The restoration not only preserved the architectural integrity but also rekindled the vibrant café culture that once drew Europe's elite.

Selim Olmez, the general manager, expresses a commitment to reintegrate this iconic building into the fabric of Budapest. Matild Palace opens its doors not just to hotel guests but also to locals and visitors, fostering a sense of community. The Maria Klotild Royal Suite, crystal chandeliers, and bespoke furniture pay homage to the palace's historical opulence.

The cultural significance of the palace's café is not only acknowledged but celebrated. The café, now Matild Café & Cabaret, stands as a lively testament to Budapest's creative spirit. Artefacts and a statue of Gyula Krúdy invite guests to immerse themselves in the rich history of this socializing hub.

Beyond its cultural allure, Matild Palace introduces culinary delights with Spago by Wolfgang Puck and a hidden gem, The Duchess, a secret liquor library high above the city. The Swan Spa adds a touch of tranquility, offering a blend of Turkish-Hungarian-inspired experiences.

In summary, Matild Palace is not just a hotel; it is a living monument, seamlessly blending the splendor of the past with the luxuries of the present. This resplendent fusion of history and luxury positions Matild Palace as a must-visit destination, inviting guests to embark on a journey through time and bask in the timeless elegance of Budapest's iconic landmark.