Hungarian soul: inside the perfect base for a city break

The new Matild Palace hotel in Budapest, part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, allows guests to experience royal luxury first hand

the new matild palace hotel in budapest, part of marriott’s luxury collection, allows guests to experience royal luxury first hand
Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to live in a royal palace? Thanks to the newly opened Matild Palace in Budapest, you can now find out. This UNESCO World Heritage site, which dates back to 1902, is part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection of Hotels & Resorts, each of which celebrates the unique spirit of its location. It was originally commissioned by Her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Klotild of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to act as a social hub in the Hungarian capital.

marriot matild palace
Maria Klotild Royal Suite
Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest

Positioned at end of the Elisabeth Bridge (which connects the city’s two parts, Buda and Pest, across the Danube River), the Belle Epoque landmark originally housed cafés, shops and galleries, as well as apartments on its upper floors. Now, after a major five-year renovation, it has been transformed into a magnificent destination that invites guests on a journey of discovery: everywhere you look, there are fascinating insights into Budapest’s rich culture, while interiors inspired by past and present make for an indulgent guest experience

As one of Budapest’s most recognisable buildings, Matild Palace not only offers palatial luxury, but also serves as the historic gateway from which to explore Budapest. The world-famous St Stephen’s Basilica, Buda Castle and Széchenyi Thermal Bath are all close at hand – although you may find it hard to wrest your attention from the rich history, culture, and epicurean excellence within the hotel itself.

matild palace, a luxury collection hotel, budapest
The Loft Room
Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest

London-based MKV Design, led by studio founder Maria Katsarou Vafiadis, has reimagined the building’s interiors after undergoing an extensive five-year renovation, winning prestigious design awards such as Best Hotel – Luxury and Best Guest Room – Luxury at the 2021 Gold Key Awards. By marrying its neo-baroque splendour with modern touches, the UNESCO World Heritage site boasts a distinctive ambience representative of its Hungarian legacy. In the grand yet inviting lobby, guests are greeted by a specially commissioned portrait of the Archduchess Maria Klotild, who developed the building under her patronage at the turn of the 20th century. Countless subtle tributes to the Duchess are made throughout the hotel, but perhaps the most significant is Matild Palace returning to its rightful place as a social hub of the city.

The 111 guest rooms, meanwhile, are decorated in a palette of blue, gold and copper that echoes the hues of Budapest’s famous roofscape. Because the Archduchess was an acknowledged tastemaker of her time, each room takes inspiration from her style and passions, with artist-designed headboards adorning the beds and herringbone parquet floors. As a nod to the Archduchess’ close circle of artisan friends, the Loft Rooms were designed with a contrasting mix of contemporary furnishings, sure to please the modern artisan of leisure. Each bathroom is influenced by the city’s celebrated thermal baths, and the traditional Zsolnay tiles you’d probably spy on the city’s rooftop from your guestroom window (bathrooms boast an ‘in spa’ concept that reflects their therapeutic benefits).

marriot matild palace deluxe room
Deluxe Room
Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest

Even more pampering are the 19 suites, one of which, the Crown Tower Suite, is the city’s only hotel suite with a 360° viewing tower – a perfect spot to admire Budapest’s city vistas. The one-of-a-kind suite meanders across three floors and features handmade glass mosaic walls. Whichever room you book, you’ll enjoy the hotel’s personalised concierge service and access to a wealth of experiences, including luxury riverboat cruises and gastronomic tours.

marriot matild palace
The Swan Spa
Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest

Matild Palace has a few ‘firsts’ to its name: it housed the first café to open as the first business in the city after World War Two, and Hungary’s first-ever elevators. Writers and artists have long flocked here to enjoy Europe’s café culture. Befitting this history, the new hotel has several world-class features of its own. The first is the Swan Spa, which recreates the opulence of Budapest’s thermal baths with traditional therapies and hammam rituals.

marriot matild palace
The Duchess Rooftop Bar
Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest

There are also three incredible restaurants and bars, all conceptualised in partnership with award-winning chef Wolfgang Puck. The first European outpost of his internationally recognised restaurant, Spago, ushers in a new era of dining in Budapest by combining his signature Californian cuisine with local Hungarian accents. For coffee and cake, there’s Matild Café and Cabaret, a re-imagination of famed 1900s coffee house Belvárosi Kávéház; its stage hosts both local and global talent. Last but not least, The Duchess rooftop bar is a ‘secret’ liqueur library and garden with spectacular views across the Danube. Accessed via a concealed elevator, it pays homage to an earlier hidden retreat commissioned by the Archduchess as a rendezvous for the Decadent art movement. As a place to experience authentic Hungarian soul, Matild Palace can’t be bettered.

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