Mar 222013

At Ferenc Liszt International Airport, I handed our destination address to the taxi driver, excited to be in Budapest and heading to a luxury hotel in a city I’d long wanted to visit.

In the taxi for the 30-minute ride to Pest (the section of Budapest on the east bank of the Danube River), I took in the scenes of daily life in the outlying districts of the city before arriving at the highly-acclaimed Four Seasons Gresham Palace, the epitome of a Budapest luxury hotel.

"The Four Seasons Gresham Palace exterior at night from the park"

The Four Seasons Gresham Palace at night from Roosevelt Square (named for Franklin D. Roosevelt)

How did it feel to drive up to this elegant building in Budapest, a city that has always had an aura of international intrigue for me? Splendid.

Budapest itself is breathtakingly beautiful on the banks of the Danube with stunning landmarks on both sides, easily accessed by the city’s eight bridges.  Situated at the foot of the Chain Bridge with views of the Royal Palace, St. Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion on Castle Hill, the Four Seasons enables you to make the most of Budapest’s beauty.

"Romantic night view of the Chain Bridge in the rain, Budapest"

Night view of the Chain Bridge from our room

What better place to get an introduction to a magical city but in a hotel that feels magical itself. We anticipated that we’d fall in love with the hotel (and Budapest) and we did.

"Lovely lobby at Four Seasons, Budapest luxury hotel"

Checking in at the Four Seasons

Though we felt a bit mussed from our travels from Berlin, we experienced a warm welcome from the hotel staff. The front desk receptionist made us feel very welcome and personally escorted us to our Danube River-View room sharing some of building’s history along the way.

Opened in 2004 after a major two year restoration, the Four Seasons Gresham Palace is a historic landmark building that retains much of its original Art Nouveau grandeur and combines the comforts of the 21st century with the elegance of a golden era, seen in both the exterior architecture and the interior designs.

"Detail of facade as seen from the balcony of a Danube River View Room at the Four Seasons, a luxury Budapest hotel"

Four Seasons façade detail

"Looking down grand staircase from fourth floor of Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest"

Marble grand staircase with wrought iron railings

"Art Nouveau stained glass window at Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest"

One of the many beautiful stained-glass windows

From its earliest days, Gresham Palace has been a very distinguished address. Built by the Gresham Life Assurance Company and completed in 1906, it was a luxury apartment building that also housed prestigious shops, boutiques and a popular Gresham-Venezia Cafe where Hungarian artists convened in the 1920s and after. But things weren’t always rosy for the Gresham. During World War II in 1944, the building was severely damaged in the Siege of Budapest and only makeshift repairs were done. In 1948, the formerly grand apartments were converted into small state offices by the Hungarian Communist Government and fell into further disrepair. Now magnificently restored for the Four Seasons it’s once again an architectural gem. The ironwork, woodwork, stained-glass, mosaic tile flooring and other creative design touches give the hotel the feeling of stepping back to the elegance of the early 20th century.

"Even the mosaic tile floor in the lobby of the Four Seasons Gresham Palace exudes artistic Art Nouveau elegance"

Mosaic tile floor in the lobby

What first caught our attention as we entered our room was the hall with lovely parquet flooring leading to the bedroom straight ahead and a large marble bathroom on the left. At the far end of the spacious, bright room was a window and door leading to a step-out balcony. It was immediately apparent that this was truly a room with a Danube River view. Directly in front of us were vistas of the Chain Bridge over the Danube and the Castle District in the Buda Hills on the western bank.

"View of the Chain Bridge and Royal Palace from the Danube River view room at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest"

From the balcony of our Danube River-view room at the Four Seasons

The view from our room was spectacular even on a gray late winter day, but I can imagine it’s even more so when the sun is shining.

"The tower of St Matthias Church in the Buda hills across the Danube from the Four Seasons hotel"

St. Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion atop the Buda hills, across the Danube

"Relishing the comfort of a room with a view at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest"

Relishing the comfort of a room with a view

There’s so much to see in Budapest, but the king bed was calling me to test it out and it was so comfortable. I was tempted to lay back and enjoy the amenities of the room after the busy travel and trade show schedule of the past few days in Berlin. But Budapest called and I got up and explored the scenic world just outside the hotel entrance. (Watch for future posts for more about Budapest.)

"Comfortable king bed at the Four Seasons Budapest luxury hotel"

In a luxury mood

The hotel is in a great location for easily reaching the key sites on both sides of the Danube, including St. Stephen’s Basilica, Parliament, and the State Opera House on the east bank; and the Castle District on the west. It’s also very close to high-end shopping on bustling Váci street and the charming (though touristy) Vörösmarty Square with many cafés and shops. Public transportation, including the Metro underground railway, is nearby too. Although convenient to many sites and activities, you feel far removed from the hubbub at the hotel.

Consistent with the excellence of the rest of the hotel, the Gresham Restaurant is a quiet, elegant place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In early days, this was the location of the Gresham Kávéház, the coffeehouse frequented by the arts community of the early 20th century. At Sunday brunch, we sat by the window watching passersby while planning out our day’s itinerary. The full American Breakfast included an entrée selection from the menu and a well-stocked buffet with breads, pastries, cheeses and fresh fruit. Our entrée choices, Eggs Benedict and a Vegetarian Omelette, were nicely presented and delicious.

"Omelette for brunch at Four Seasons Budapest restaurant""Fruit and custard at brunch in the Gresham Restaurant at the Four Seasons, Budapest"

"Breads and pastries at Four Seasons Gresham Palace brunch""Eggs Benedict in Gresham Restaurant brunch at the Four Seasons, Budapest"

Elegant touches are everywhere with lovely floral arrangements in the lobby, halls and throughout the hotel. It’s easy to see why the Four Seasons has consistently won awards since its opening and is frequently recognized in major publications such as Condé Nast, Fortune, Travel + Leisure.

"Floral arrangement in lobby of Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest"

Floral arrangement in the Four Seasons lobby

My one regret — the spa. I just ran out of time to experience that bit of luxury. So there was no exotic milk bath, aromatic Swedish massage, exotic lime and ginger salt glow body treatment or body sculpting therapy for me. Next time…I’ll make time.

Just as we expected to love the Four Seasons Gresham Palace before we even stepped foot in it, we knew that we’d miss it when we left — and we did.

"Lobby of Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest"

Traveling with Sweeney at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

Hopefully, we’ll be back…

Disclosure: Accommodations and amenities during our stay were provided by the Four Seasons Gresham Palace, but the opinions about our experience are totally our own — as always.

  34 Responses to “Savoring Our Stay at a Budapest Luxury Hotel”

  1. That’s my kind of hotel! Budapest looks like a wonderful city. My list just keeps getting longer and longer!

  2. What a way to spend a romantic week-end! Gorgeous!

  3. Wow. This is not somewhere I really ever wanted to go especially, but you’ve changed my mind. Actually I might go just for the breakfast! Anywhere that can do Eggs Benedict that looks like that has to be good!

    • I had the Eggs Benedict and I can attest to how delicious they were. And I’m very picky about my EB. I don’t order them just anywhere.

  4. I am supremely jealous of your view! I absolutely love the Chain Bridge and I might need to be pried away from staring at it from my balcony if I stayed there!

    • Seriously, if I’d have more time in Budapest, I would have spent one whole evening just staring at the bridge and other sights (while enjoying a glass of wine, perhaps).

  5. Incredible place…then again, Four Seasons always delivers. I agree, no way I’d have wanted to leave!

    • It’s true that the Four Seasons has a reputation for excellence and the one in Budapest lived up to that very well. Additionally, the Gresham Palace had that fabulous location.

  6. As I wrote earlier, we are thinking of heading this way next year and this post got me so excited over the place that I actually checked rates. . .then I decided that on this blogger’s ‘salary’ I will enjoy the hotel vicariously through your photos. Nice report on your stay, Cathy!

    • Ah, the blogger’s salary…. I get it! 🙂 Keep checking back at their site since I know they offer special deals from time to time. You never know and a night of luxury might be more within reach than you think.

  7. What a gorgeous hotel. If we had a hotel like that lined up, I’d even consider a winter visit to Budapest.

  8. Oh yes, this is beautiful – we walked through here on our trip to Budapest, I believe in search of a drink. Such a wonderful luxury brand.

  9. It’s a wonderful hotel in a wonderful location. I love Budapest. Next time I am there I have to check out this hotel.

  10. Four Seasons is by far the most spectacular Luxury Hotel in Budapest. I love it.

  11. What a treat, what a view and what a fabulous place to stay. I have yet to stay in a Fur Seasons but actually will try one out in Costa Rica in November when my son gets married. I always hear amazing things abut their level of service.

  12. A luxurious hotel, a spectacular view and that special person – what more can a girl ask for?
    Sorry you missed the spa but you can get that next time. Yes, Cathy, there’ll be a next time.

  13. Wow! That is an amazing view you had. I wouldn’t want to leave that room. Love all the little touches of elegance from the lobby to the room. I’m so glad you two had such a wonderful stay.

  14. Oh the food looks so delicious! Budapest sure has a certain appeal to it and many places to see but I know how it feels like to lay on comfy hotel beds 🙂 Looks like you had fun Cathy.

  15. Budapest is a lovely city and it’s a shame I haven’t visited it yet, since it’s just 800 km away from my hometown, Bucharest – which is not that far at all. I’ll remember to look for the Four Seasons when I’ll book my first trip to the city.

  16. What a beautiful old-world hotel; definitely something to consider next time in Budapest 🙂

  17. Wow–now that’s what I call traveling in style!

  18. So gorgeous! I had to cancel a trip to Prague and Budapest a few years ago and am still so disappointed. My mom just went last year. Someday!

  19. I have never been to Budapest. Seems, it’s time for visit 🙂

  20. “A room with a view” (think the French accent with it:))
    And those food pictures look delicious!

  21. […] A tour boat was about to pass under the Chain Bridge when we took this photo from our room at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace. […]

  22. Crikey that sounds and looks like a fun place to stay! I think I’m hungry again.

  23. Looks amazing! I’d love to stay there when I finally get to go to Budapest!

  24. I loved Budapest, it’s a great city and the Four Seasons looks stunning, wow.
    Would love to stay there next time.

  25. […] markets were at key locations in Budapest and were only a few short blocks from our hotel, the Four Seasons Gresham Palace. The first was smaller, but in a beautiful location at the square in front of St. Stephen’s […]

  26. […] for returning to a city. The Four Seasons Gresham Palace is one of those. I previously wrote about savoring our stay at this Budapest luxury hotel after our first visit. Our most recent stay was again in a Danube River View room, so I won’t […]

  27. The Four Seasons Budapest looks beautiful. I was in Budapest about 7 years ago on a whirlwind trip that included Vienna and Prague. Budapest was an unexpected highlight of the trip and I have been yearning to go back. I love the Four Seasons hotel chain and will stay here when I revisit. Thanks for sharing!

  28. The Four Seasons in Budapest looks beautiful. I was in Budapest about 7 years ago on a whirlwind trip that included Vienna and Prague. Budapest was an unexpected highlight of the trip and I have been yearning to go back. I love the Four Seasons hotel chain and will stay here when I revisit. Thanks for sharing!

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