Budapest: A Critical Guide - Gresham Palace

  • 11 May 2006 6:01 AM
Budapest: A Critical Guide - Gresham Palace
"The grace of Gresham Palace is striking. At sunset the portrait and the golden tiles of the façade, which at other times of the day are pale, seem to glow. Its proportions are surprisingly peaceful given the art nouveau style, and as one would expect all its surface is richly decorated.

The design (by Zsigmond Quittner, 1904-6) of this former HQ building for an English insurance company was approved in London in the early years of the brave new 20th century.

Gresham himself, the founder of the London Stock Exchange, stands in a gold setting so outstanding that it can even be seen from the other end of the tunnel leading to Clark Ádám square.

The figures above the windows of the first floor illustrate the working life and the carefree life, the latter undoubtedly the result of buying a good insurance policy.

Today its easily the most elegant hotel between Vienna and San Francisco. It regained its original splendour in 2004 when the Four Seasons hotels group invested over 100 million dollars into the property.

With a phenomenal panorama on the Buda Hills its re-emergence from ashes was somewhat symbolic for Budapest. It was not just making up for some loss, but regaining old status, fin-de siècle Budapest once had.

The inside of the Gresham Palace was rebuilt with exquisite care, no precious materials were spared during the preparation of the 179 rooms. They are adorned with old Budapest photographs, chosen from the collection of the Budapest Public Library.

The ground floor is not only intended for hotel guests, for example the café is almost affordable for ordinary people. Especially if you visit the royally adorned toilet - a feat in itself. (to the left, in the arcade.)

The modern statues in the arcade leasing up to the reception are by the Armenian-Hungarian sculptor Mamikon Yengibaryan. Throughout the decoration is a perfect blend of the old and the new - just what makes Budapest so interesting these days." Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest

Text reproduced with permission from 'Budapest: A Critical Guide'

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