Kempinski Hotel Corvinus, Budapest
Named after the beloved fifteenth-century Hungarian King Matthias (“The Just”) Corvinus who brought Renaissance humanism to Hungary, the Hotel Corvinus is situated in the heart of Budapest’s lively historic and modern metropolis. Only a few steps from the Danube, the elegant and modern Kempinski Hotel Corvinus is conveniently located near the city’s financial and shopping districts. Budapest, the “Paris of the East,” is known for its numerous historically significant and varied architectural styles, as well as boasting many stunning museums and palaces. Reflecting this cultural legacy, Kempinski has invested heavily in elevating the cultural and artistic ambience of the Corvinus, maintaining a collection of more than one thousand works of art on display in guest rooms as well as in public areas. Through an ongoing program of one-person shows, the Kempinski Gallery exhibits works of art by contemporary Hungarian artists. From three o’clock until seven in the afternoon, guests are treated to live classical music performed near the lobby area. Fine art, elegant furnishings and attention to detail are just some of the many qualities we found throughout our stay in one of Budapest’s finest luxury five-star hotels.
After the whirlwind of political change that swept throughout Central and Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, the Hotel Corvinus opened in July 1992 to become one of the leading hotels of the region and in the world. During its 15-year-old history, the hotel has been selected for numerous awards. Just three years after its opening, the hotel was ranked third in the individual business hotel category by the Business Traveller magazine. In January 2008, the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest was ranked second in the Best Hotels in Europe category. During the 14th annual World Travel Awards, the Corvinus was honored with three awards: Hungary’s Leading Business Hotel, Hungary’s Leading Conference Hotel and Hungary’s Leading Suite, the Corvinus Presidential Suite. The Wall Street Journal considers these awards as the travel industry’s equivalent to the Oscars, the most comprehensive and prestigious awards program in the global travel industry.
The Corvinus is the top choice of business professionals and leisure travelers alike. Approximately 60% of the hotel’s bookings are with business and corporation travelers, largely due to the conveniences and amenities offered. Ten meeting rooms are available for conferences and dinners as well as balls, banquets, receptions, weddings and fashion shows. Catering is available for all occasions. Kempinski catering has served prestigious organizations such as Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, ING, and many more. The ballroom can seat up to 450 people. If a group is larger than that, the hotel will be happy to organize an event in any number of the elegant or unusual places Budapest has to offer. Leisure travelers also associate the name Kempinski with exquisite luxury and superior service. We found the hospitality and friendliness of the hotel’s staff to be first-class. The Asian-inspired Kempinski SPA, opened in early 2005, features original handcrafted furniture from Indonesia and China. Legendary for its thermal springs, the city of Budapest attracted visitors from around the world to bathe in its healing waters. Today that long-standing tradition continues in the exquisite Kempinski SPA where a wide range of internationally recognized wellness therapies and treatments are available. Saunas, massage rooms, showers and special tubs are outfitted with aromatherapy, audio and lighting systems to provide a sensory experience unlike any other. Thai Massage, Swedish aroma massage, Hawaiian Lomilomi, LaStone therapy (using warm basalt and cool marble stones of various sizes placed upon the body) and Balinese Pantai Luar massage therapies are available. Other amenities include a classic Finnish sauna lined with birch benches, a pool outfitted with neck massage and countercurrent jets, relaxation areas, solarium, and a fitness center with cardiovascular and strength training equipment.
For fine dining at its best, the Hotel Corvinus offers gastronomic delights to suit every taste, from light Mediterranean fare to classic international cuisine to Hungarian traditional favorites. The hotel offers several venues to experience its many culinary pleasures. The “Bistro Jardin,” and Ristorante Giardino offer the Kempinski signature goose liver specialties and an amazing range of local wines, Executive Chef Roland Holzer highlights a different region of Hungary and Italy each month. Fish and seafood lovers will discover a feast of delicacies every Friday night, as we were fortunate to find during our visit. (See accompanying story.) Here also the sumptuous breakfast buffet is served each morning, where guests choose from a selection of hot foods and specially-prepared delicacies that will satisfy even the most discriminating palette. The 70-seat Kempi Brauhaus is both a casual Bavarian beer house/restaurant and sports bar, more popular, we were told, with American tourists and businessmen than with Germans. The Corvinus Bar seats fifty, and offers live entertainment along with an impressive selection of cigars and beverages.
The 366 luxury guest rooms at the Kempinski offer the largest average room size in Budapest. Among these, 224 (situated on four floors) are non-smoking rooms. There are 67 standard rooms, 197 superior rooms, 71 deluxe rooms, 11 Junior Suites, 18 Suites, and two Presidential Suites. Among visiting guests who have enjoyed the luxuries of the presidential suites are Elton John, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Eddie Murphy, Paul McCartney, as well as several well-known politicians and Formula One Race Drivers.
The Hotel Corvinus offers a consistently changing menu of hotel events and special offers throughout the calendar year. For example, there is a special reduced-rate “Weekend Rendezvous” for two nights, a “Taste of Hungary” featuring a selection of canapés and wine, a “Winter Invasion,” and specials that highlight city excursions, and special events such as Easter. See the website and contact the hotel directly to learn more about these special offers.
We found our entire experience at the Hotel Corvinus to be one of the great highlights of our time in Budapest. Every effort was made to ensure that all our needs were met and our questions answered. During a brief tour of the hotel, I asked a hotel staff member about a bronze statue of King Matthias and a raven that held a ring in its mouth. Evidently the ring was part of a legendary story about the famous king that she couldn’t remember at the moment. Minutes later, we were informed by a message on our room’s television screen that the concierge wanted to tell us the history of the ring. Going downstairs on our way to dinner, we found the concierge who happily told us the story of the king who lost his ring while on a hunting expedition, later to be found by a raven, the event being commemorated by the statue. He seemed to take delight in both re-telling the story and in seeing our interest in the culture and history of his country.
The Kempinski Hotel Corvinus has been consistently recognized by numerous organizations and awarded annually by several prestigious travel authorities for its superb quality and extraordinary service. We enthusiastically recommend a stay at this luxurious hotel the next time you plan to visit Budapest, whether or business or for leisure. You will be glad you did.