Budapest is a grand city where history and modernity co-exist in perfect harmony. Spectacular churches, happening pubs, leisurely parks, quaint coffee shops and alluring walkways, the city envelops you into its charm the moment you step into it. Our holiday in this incredible European destination was magical to say the least, and adding to our memorable experience was a stay at the posh Kempinski Hotel Corvinus – one of the best hotels in Budapest, frequented by some of the greatest names in the field of art, music, cinema and politics.
THE PROPERTY: Hollywood royalty, sporting icons and world leaders have all graced the hallowed portals of the hotel at some time or the other. The roll call of celebrities who have stayed here is long and impressive – the late Michael Jackson, Madonna, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton to name just a few. And it’s not surprising why this is such a fave celeb haunt. Located in the heart of Budapest, just a short walk away from the historic Danube river, the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus oozes elegance. The interiors are glamorous and contemporary yet have distinct Hungarian elements like the grand piano design, an ode to the rich cultural and musical legacy of the country. Be it the revamped ground floor with its remarkable restaurants, the summer lounges, the swank spa boasting of treatments inspired by European seasons or the high-tech systems integrated into every service, this hotel (a member of The Leading Hotels of the World list) redefines luxury. Even as I admired the nearly 1000 (yes!) pieces of art pieces dotting the property, my attention was immediately drawn to a little Indian detail -- a massive wall-mounted paper-sculpture signed off by an Indian artist, a sweet desi touch at a high-profile international structure!
The refurbished lobby
THE ROOMS: With nearly 350 rooms and 33 suites, the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus had every aspect that a modern traveller needed, taken care of. Airy, spacious and swanky, our Superior room, done up in warm, beige tones was welcoming in its luxury. Needless to say it was equipped with every modern amenity and was the perfect place to imbibe the unbelievable vibe of Budapest. Of course, the Presidential, Junior and Parlour Suites (the choice of celebs) were simply breath-taking.
The Superior Room
The uber luxe Presidential Suite
THE RESTAURANTS & BAR: Budapest is a foodie’s delight. However, our suggestion is, even as you venture out gastronomically, do spare enough time to savour the delicacies at the restaurants in the hotel. Simply because, they are among the best in the city! Our picks:
ÉS Bisztró: Haute Hungarian fine-dining is what ÉS Bisztró is all about. A refined, minimalist brasserie, with a special meat chamber, the menu’s unique Hungarian-Viennese offerings gave us a whole new insight into this cuisine. Seated on the restaurant’s terrace lounge that extended to the ‘fashion street’ outside, we had a fantastic introduction to traditional delicacies that were given a modern touch while the wine ambassador Balazs Dobos educated us on the finer aspect of Hungarian grape (in my opinion, among the best in the world). Be it the goose liver pate made with Tokaji wine, the light and delicious beef broth to the flavorful lamb chops, every dish was a gastronomic delight.
The stylish interiors of ÉS Bisztró
Nobu: One of the world’s most popular Japanese restaurants is housed in this property. Featuring Nobu’s signature dishes such as the Alaskan Black Cod with Miso or the Yellowtail Sashimi, this is a favourite with the swish set.
Blue Fox The Bar, the Nobu Bar & The Living Room – A hotspot for creative cocktails and great conversations, step into these sexy bars if you are looking to chill out with a pre or post-dinner drink or simply want to let your hair down after a hard day’s sight-seeing!
Blue Fox the Bar
The Michael Jackson Tree
No stay at the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus is complete without a visit to the Michael Jackson tree. Staying at the plush Presidential suite (where else?) The King of Pop, it’s said to have visited the hotel in 1994 for the first time while shooting a short feature. Thereafter he stayed twice in 1996, once during a recce of the venue for his famous History concert and the second time, during the concert. The image of the superstar looking out of the window, waving out to thousands of his fans camped outside the hotel near the tree, remains etched in the memory of Budapest residents. After his death, his fans named the tree ‘Michael Jackson Memorial Tree’ and to this day they place posters on it, plant flowers and light candles around it!
Fans pay their respect to the King of Pop to this day
INFO: Erzsébet tér 7-8, 1051 Budapest, Hungary, +36 1 429 3777, www.kempinski.com/budapest