Saturday, May 7, 2016

Grand Hotel Budapest


I promised to write this post about the Budapest 100-event already some time ago but then life (allergy and travelling) happened. Now I finally had some time to gather my thoughts and collect the photos what i managed to delete by accident but found again in my unsent email messages folder. Budapest 100 is an event organized once a year. Its mission is community building through introducing local architectural treasures to visitors. They organize free walking tours several times a day over the weekend, many buildings open their doors to broad public and you can participate at panel discussions.

This year`s topic was the "Nagykörút" (Grand Boulevard). You can find here among all houses representing a typical architecture style for Budapest ("gangos házak"). Since I have seen already such houses before there was a topic which caught my attention more. It was the possibility to participate at guided tours at the grandiose historic hotels of the Grand Boulevard. We started at Corinthia Hotel Budapest (once Royal Budapest) which is a five star luxury hotel in the heart of Budapest.

The hotel is mostly visited by foreigners, famous musicians, politicians and business travelers. Besides this they host conferences on regular bases and organize gala events for local associations and celebrities. The Scandinavian part of me could not help to notice with the help of the local knowledge of my Hungarian side when seeing all this: Hungary is a bit like Russia or Brazil. If you have money you have access to extreme luxury. These place are even more luxurious what you would see in countries with better economies. It is also a bit like a show- until it does not get to your mind too much and makes you arrogant it is fun to go to such places and enjoy the beautiful inner architecture and the comfort.

I love design and architecture and what I saw was not disappointing me at all. It was nice that Tibor Meskás was the guide who is the Senior Duty Manager of the hotel. His life story reflects the story of the hotel well. He started to work here at the once Royal Hotel Budapest as a waiter at the beginning of his professional career. After the political changes in Hungary he emigrated and worked abroad for decades in the hotel industry. As usual for this industry he worked himself up during these years. When he heard about the hotel`s reopening in 1993 because of his love for this place he applied for the job of Senior Duty Manager. He got the job, and have been managing the hotel since then. This is how he could participate at the opening of the hotel already two times during his life.

I could not help not to think of the famous movie of Wes Anderson called Grand Hotel Budapest after hearing this story while looking around enjoying the restored beauty of the place. If you want to read more about the history of the hotel (which gives also an insight to the history of Budapest during the 20th century) you find more info here

If you are in Budapest and got interested in visiting Corinthia Hotel Budapest they have an exhibition about the history of the hotel in the hotel lobby which can be visited any time for free. Besides this there is a Szamos coffee shop in the building- so even if you are not staying here there are ways to have a look around and enjoy the the interior design of Joshua Judd.

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