district: 05. Belváros – Lipótváros
This month saw the opening of the Matild Palace Hotel in Budapest. Originally built between 1899 and 1902 by Hungarian-German architect Kálmán Giergl, under the patronage of Princess Maria Klotild of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, both the Matild and its sister building across the road, the Klotild Palace (the former Buddha-Bar Hotel) feature large copies of the Archduke’s crown atop their twin towers. The neo-baroque buildings act as a gateway to those entering the ‘Pest’ side of the city from the ‘Buda’ side over the Elisabeth Bridge on the Danube.
The Matild Palace has undergone a meticulous five-year transformation led by interior designer Maria Vafiadis and architects Péter Dajka and Puhl Antal to become a 130 room hotel, part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection. Maria Vafiadis, founder of MKV Design, ensured the next chapter of the building honored its Hungarian heritage through stunning décor which celebrates the building’s famed past as a thriving social destination in the city, including the historical Matild Café – the first in the city to open after World War II -.
Wolfgang Puck will oversee all dining operations at Matild Palace bringing a new era of gastronomy and entertainment to the city. His renowned restaurant Spago by Wolfgang Puck marks the debut of the Beverly Hills dining phenomenon in Hungary. The menu will offer traditional Hungarian cuisine with a modern twist through recipes inspired by the produce of the region. The iconic chef will also oversee culinary offerings at The Duchess rooftop bar opening next month, a secret liquor library, as well as Matild Café and Cabaret, opening in September, which is a dramatic re-imagination of the most popular address for the high society of the Belle Époque era. Spago and Matild Café & Cabaret will both offer year round outdoor dining on the charming streets of Budapest, marking the first ‘gastro street’ in the city.
Many of the rooms and suites provide spectacular views of the city or the Danube River. The four guestroom categories each take inspiration from The Duchess’s exuberant lifestyle and early 20th century Budapest. Each bedroom is over four meters in height and celebrates Hungarian culture throughout with delicately handcrafted headboards, traditional fishbone parquet floors and lavish spa-style bathrooms inspired by the iconic thermal baths of Hungary. A color palette of teal, green, gold, and copper decorates the rooms, reflecting the hues of the Budapest roofscape.
Decadent spa-inspired bathrooms are equipped with bespoke Italian cast bathtubs and rain showers clad with turquoise glass mosaic tiles. Rich white marble slab adorn floors and walls as well.
Accommodations peak with the Crown Tower Suite, which spans three floors and boasts panoramic 360-degree views of the city. The Maria Klotid Royal Suite serves as a reinterpretation of the Duchess’s private apartment, housing a spacious master bedroom, bathroom, living room, and separate study. Modern and historic furniture span the opulent chamber along with chandeliers, handmade glass mosaics, and parquet floors.
What the situation is with the former Buddha-Bar Hotel (picture below and main picture on the right, with the Matild Palace on the left) remains unclear. The hotel, which sits in the Klotild Palace across the street, opened in June 2012 and suddenly closed in January 2019. The Buddha-Bar chain has now one hotel left in Prague, its first. The Paris outpost is to rebrand to Accor Hotels’ Maison Delano brand. Pity, as we have a soft spot for the unique, maximalist, sexy, Asian-inspired interiors. Not something we would like to have at home, but which is perfect to indulge for an intimate weekend à deux. Time to revive the brand?
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 130 rooms & suites • hotel opened: June 2021 • architecture: Péter Dajka and Puhl Antal (Budapest) • interior design: MKV Design (London) • parking possible nearby (charged) • pets allowed on request • 24-hour front desk