One of Europe’s most spectacular heritage palace buildings, Belle Epoque beauty Parisi Udvar in Budapest has been stunningly transformed into a luxury hotel. The ornate historical landmark building located in the heart of Budapest (steps from major attrations) needed far more than a face-lift.
Years of neglect and misguided mid-20th-century renovations had left the once glittering 100-year-old site—first designed as a glass-roofed shopping arcade—as a dusty, darkened, largely uninhabitable vestige of its former self. Some of the only use the space got over the past decade was as a Hollywood setting for Eastern European spy movies.
The last tenants, an ice cream shop and a travel agent, vacated when the property was taken over by Hungarian hospitality firm Mellow Mood Hotels in 2014. But over the course of four and a half years, with the help of a vast team of preservationists, artisans, and engineers, as well as Budapest-based design firm Kroki, the Párisi Udvar has been restored to its former glory, and then some. The 126,000-square-foot hotel, which added more than 12,000 square feet to its interior, opened for business this past summer as part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, operated by Mellow Mood Hotels.
If the hotel has all the modern amenities expected by well-heeled travellers, including examples of contemporary Hungarian craftsmanship in the rooms, it also has the power to transport guests to the lavish days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867–1918). Under the Dual Monarchy, Hungary’s explosion of wealth poured into Budapest’s architecture, as the country sought to erect an imperial capital to rival Vienna. Further details in a previous CPP-LUXURY.COM article.
In less than a year from opening, experienced hotel operator Mellow Mood has achieved consistent high customer service standards throughout all departments, with room for improvement mostly when it comes to providing an individual approach. Often times, throughout my school, I was, at times, identified with my ‘room number’. At the same time, there was an overall warmth and genuine willingness to serve.
Accommodations are spacious boasting a home-away-from-home feel. Beds are exceptionally comfortable with high-thread satin cotton linen. Rooms and suites overlooking the smaller street on the side of the hotel are exceptionally quiet, with sound-proofing of the same standard indoors too. Curtains and blinds can be remotely controlled. The all-marble bathrooms feature a large walk-in glass enclosed shower and separate bathtub, with under-floor heating. Many room have superbly restored wooden floors and the lower floors have higher ceilings. There is large wardrobe space and all the facilities and amenities of a luxury standard hotel.
Unlike other ‘Unbound Collection by Hyatt’ properties which have no lounges, Parisi Udvar has a very spacious and beautifully appointed Club Lounge under a natural light glass cupola, with a generous selection of snacks and finger food served at three times daily, while beverages including spirits and juices are available from 8 am to 8 pm. The lounge is ideal for corporate / business guests but also for families. Business desk service are also provided by the Lounge Supervisor
The association with Hyatt‘s relatively new luxury brand ‘Unbound Collection by Hyatt’ through a franchising agreement is undoubtedly to the advantage of Parisi Udvar Hotel, however, it may widen gaps for other similarly branded properties such as Hotel du Louvre in Paris which is of a four star standard, with modest furnishings and interior design, lacking basics such as individually controlled AC and sound-proofing, not to mention the hallways and elevators which were not part of the renovation of the property. By using the denomination luxury, Hyatt raises expectations and gives way for inconsistency.
Oliver Petcu in Budapest
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