Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, Budapest
The Grand Hotel Royal is one of Europe’s premier five-star hotels. Opened in 1896 as the largest hotel on the continent, the “Royal” became the international meeting place for the greatest artists and entertainers of the period. Located in the heart of Budapest on Erzsebet Boulevard, the Royal lies within easy walking distance of the Opera House, major attractions, and shopping areas.
Upon one’s first steps into the lobby, a soaring central atrium greets the visitor’s gaze ascending six floors to a glass roof. Works of art decorate the walls on which intricately restored motifs hark back to historic times. Let your imagination run wild: Here was a place Hungarians of yesteryear sipped their first “five o’clock high tea” and rubbed shoulders with international dignitaries visiting the Great Jubilee Exhibition of 1896. An original hotel guest book dated from the period 1926-1974 has been recovered and was purchased for display in the Lobby, within which are names and pictures of some of the best known personalities in European political and cultural life. The guest list included the greatest dancers, singers and opera divas of the time: Vaslav Nijinsky, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, and Josephine Baker, to name a few, spent significant moments of their lives at the Royal.
Since the re-opening of the Grand Hotel Royal at the end of 2002, this elegant Budapest landmark now offers 414 luxuriously appointed guest rooms including 31 suites. Each is provided with free internet access and includes color TV with satellite and movie channels, private electronic safe, individually controlled air and heating, and other deluxe amenities. Special accessibility needs of wheelchair users have been given priority in the design of the rooms and corridors. Our room’s windows opened to the inner atrium, from which we enjoyed a serenade of live evening classical music performances.
In particular, we enjoyed the benefits that came with Executive Club privileges. For a supplement of € 60, the guest is offered private breakfast, coffee and pastry, all-day refreshments and snacks, cocktail hours, exclusive check in and check out, concierge service and an exclusive business center. Located on the Mezzanine, the Royal Executive Club area is a place to relax or meet with friends or associates at various times throughout one’s stay. We found ourselves visiting this area several times a day, to check up on news in the television room, to read newspapers or magazines in the spacious lounge area of comfortable sofas, to enjoy a light snack at any time of day, and to have the service of any desired beverage brought to us with just a glance to the very courteous waiters and staff personnel.
Although breakfast is available in the Executive Club area, we chose to take our breakfast at the sumptuous Brasserie Royal & Atrium Terrace, the main restaurant of the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal. Here is located Budapest’s finest and largest buffet breakfast, a royal feast without compare. Loads of freshly baked pastries and breads filled baskets next to serving counters heaped with meats, cheeses, salads, desserts, and a panoply of hot food items. Would you care for a specially-prepared omelet? Simply point to your choice of ingredients from the bevy of selections and ask one of the chefs to put one together for you—if he doesn’t ask you first! Freshly-squeezed orange juice and other beverages, including champagne, are within easy reach. The selection is wondrous, and the quality of each item is magnificent. On Sundays, probably the best Family Brunch in town is served here, one described as The VIK—Very Important Kids—Brunch.
The prestigious far-eastern Rickshaw Restaurant and Sushi Bar offers the highest level of authentic Asian cuisine—delicacies from Malaysia, China Thailand, Indonesia and Japan—found in all of Budapest. For those who crave the taste of local cuisine, The Bock Bistro offers a wide range of Hungarian dishes and features a great selection of Hungarian and International wines. And at the end of the day, whether to relax or celebrate, Le Bar Royal offers live piano music, extravagant cocktails and leisurely long drinks.
For those discriminating guests who require more space for families and business travelers alike, the Royal Residence—just opened in February 2006—provides a total of 26 fully-equipped one, two and three-bedroom apartments. These individually designed luxury apartments are located in a quiet courtyard and are linked to the main hotel building by a glass-covered walkway. The Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal is also justifiably proud of the newly re-designed Royal Spa, providing over one thousand square meters of facilities, and offering a large swimming pool, relaxation areas, saunas, a steam bath, Jacuzzis, a fitness room, tropical rain showers, Niagara bathtubs, mud baths, seaweed baths, as well as a variety of therapeutic and massage treatments.
The Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal has been presented with numerous awards and hailed by many prestigious organizations as Hungary’s leading hotel. Within the past five years it has been cited as the Best Five Star Hotel, the Best Conference Facility, The Best Hotel Architecture in Europe, and recognized for having The Best East-Asian Restaurant, the Best Hotel Spa, and the Best Apartment hotel. In July 2006, on the occasion of its 110th anniversary, the Grand Hotel Royal was recognized as one of the few privileged hotels to be identified as a Select Member of the Most Famous Hotels in the World publication.