Budapest’s over-the-top architectural gem
There’s a reason Budapest is called the Paris of the East. With gilded parliament buildings, 18th-century museums perched along the Danube, an iconic Chain Bridge that glistens at night and pedestrian streets lined with restaurants, cafés and markets, the city is a fitting home for Boscolo Budapest.
Inspired by the city’s passion for art, culture and history, the Boscolo radiates with artistic charm — from the lobby’s expansive glass ceiling to the bronze sculptures and wrought-iron entrance. The rooms and suites also boast the same attention to detail, with classic designs, vintage-inspired furniture and more house-curated works of art.
Once home to the New York Palace, the Budapest hotel is impeccably decorated with luxe Italian furniture, soft and supple marble and gilded accents throughout. A little opulent, showy and indulgent, the look actually fits the 19th-century building’s original façade and feels cohesive and collected.
Inspired entirely by the Italian Renaissance, the crown jewel of Boscolo’s sumptuous design is the New York Café, which is outfitted with stunning frescos, elegant Venetian chandeliers and more gilded accessories — from the wall lamps to the stucco on the wall.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• While the New York Café dazzles with its sparkling crystal chandeliers and other design elements, it also offers incredible views of downtown Budapest.
• The New York Café was once the hangout for Budapest’s artistic elite. Now, it’s a place you can nosh on Hungarian dishes that are works of art themselves — like the beautifully presented goose liver terrine dotted with red currants or the seared chicken served over a soufflé of butternut squash risotto.
• Centrally located within walking distance to the Palace District and a quick cab ride to St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Boscolo is a great starting point for exploration of both districts of the city — the hilly Buda side and the flat, cosmopolitan Pest side.
• It’s hard to have a standout spa in a city known the world over for its thermal baths, but somehow Boscolo has. At the Spa, soak your stresses away in a custom pool designed by famous architect Simone Micheli, immerse yourself in a massage influenced by the ancient conquerors of Turkey and Hungary (no pillaging required) or enjoy the other public areas inspired by water, rock and wind. It may not have the charms or the history of a traditional Turkish bath house, but it offers the relaxing ambiance without the crowds.
What to Know
• A little larger than a standard boutique hotel, the Boscolo still feels far more intimate than other 185-room hotels in the city. Paying homage to the owner’s Italian roots, most of the furniture is imported — from the Murano chandeliers dangling above the plum- and red-colored carpets to the carved mahogany bedposts and end tables.
• The 29 suites are easily the most impressive, each one featuring a slightly different aesthetic. The junior suites are more neoclassic, with a clean and sleek design, and the Presidential Suite, composed of two royal suites, drips in opulence — with plum carpets, oversized tufted headboards, Italian marble bathrooms, silk wallpaper and gothic Murano candelabras.
• The one downside for guests staying in a non-suite (which are on the slightly smaller and don’t feature quite the same decadence) is also the lack of complimentary amenities, like coffee or tea.
• If you’re so smitten with your stay that you can’t bear to leave, consider renting (or buying) a Boscolo Residence. In the heart of the city, these large suites (which have up to three bedrooms) have mesmerizing vistas of the city, stunning furniture and access to the hotel’s amenities, like the Spa, fitness center, New York Café and more.
• Most of the standard rooms feature views of the city, the décor is far more reserved than that in the New York Café or lobby, but you’ll still find luxurious touches that bring you back to the history and glamour of the palace. With interiors designed by architect Maurizio Papiri, the spacious suites and exclusive rooms tout the same elegance of a private Italian country home (marble bathrooms, tufted headboards and satin walls included).
• The Executive Suites feature a more modest 915 square feet of space, plush wingback chairs with gilded arm rests, satin curtains and the same Murano chandeliers and candelabras that hang from the lobby and café.
• The highlights of the rooms are the Italian handcrafted rose marble in the bathrooms. With a separate shower and soaking tub, these bathrooms are ones you’d want to linger in.
• The imported furniture makes a statement, but the simple design keeps it clean. With floor-to-ceiling windows in nearly every room, the focus isn’t the furniture or even the chic Italian accessories; it’s the views of Budapest than make a biggest impression
• Probably the most coveted treatments are the Organic Spa Journeys, which blend an invigorating and international blend of essential oils, fragrances and nourishing techniques. Opt for the Hungarian-and-Turkish-influenced Ancient Conquerors, which boasts an exhilarating beer scrub, an energetic back massage and a facial.
• For something a little more exotic, the Kanaloa (God of the Sea) journey blends Hawaiian products and treatments, like an oil and salt flower scrub and a lomi lomi nui massage.
• The public spaces (like the professionally designed relaxation pool) are decorated with reflective prisms, Swarovski crystals and offer cascading waterfalls and rain showers. Along with the large pool, there’s a purifying sauna, fragrance-infused steam rooms and a small-size Turkish bath.
• To help combat the rather hearty fare served in the café and restaurant, Boscolo has a small 24-hour gym. For those just looking for a quick run or ride, it’s convenient.