A true architectural icon, Matild Palace stands as an elegant sentinel of Hungarian heritage. From the moment you step through its doors, the very essence of Budapest unveils itself in an atmosphere steeped in its history. Proudly part of the Luxury Collection by Marriott, this establishment, once the city's nerve center, has reinvented itself to become the favored playground for contemporary travelers. Combining the refinement of a sumptuous setting with deeply authentic experiences, Matild Palace is ideal for discovering Budapest.
A Jewel in the Heart of the City
Matild Palace proudly dominates the very heart of Budapest. This gem is nestled at the intersection of the famous Vaci Utca, Szabad Sajto Utca, and Duna Utca streets, thus forming a golden triangle of the city's urban heritage. Its proximity to the majestic Danube and the renowned Elizabeth Bridge not only offers breathtaking panoramic views but also quick access to the surrounding wonders. Just a few strides away, you find yourself on the picturesque Váci utca, the most popular tourist street in Budapest, while a walk to the south will take you to the Grand Market.
A Dazzling Witness of the Belle Époque
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Matild Palace stands as a timeless emblem of the Belle Époque era in Budapest. Inaugurated in 1902, this architectural gem was designed under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Maria Klotild of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Not content with commissioning just one, she oversaw two, making Matild Palace and its twin located directly opposite, bustling centers of Budapest's cultural and intellectual life in the early 20th century.
At its inception, Matild Palace embodied the quintessence of avant-garde modernism. However, time and the vicissitudes of history did not spare this monument, which was left in neglect. Still, the future had planned a second lease of life for Matild Palace. The Marriott hotel group embarked on a meticulous and ambitious restoration that lasted five years. In 2021, Matild Palace was reborn, resplendent, harmoniously combining the Neo-Baroque and Art Nouveau styles of yesteryears with the sought-after modernity of the 21st century.
Rooms at the Forefront of Modernity
The MKV Design firm, mastermind behind the interior decoration, skillfully blended modernity with the historical heritage of Matild Palace. Among its 130 keys divided into 111 rooms and 19 suites, each room is imbued with an ambiance reminiscent of the palace's early days. Noteworthy artistic touches include Art Deco panels that adorn the padded bedheads, imposing mirrors that add a touch of grandeur, and marble coffee tables that evoke luxury and finesse.
The Matild room, where we had the privilege of staying, is the very embodiment of refinement. With its 37 square meters and high ceilings, it exudes an immeasurable sense of space! The decoration is a subtle mix of contemporary and authentic, enhanced by artworks created by local talents.
The bathroom does not fall short. It pays vibrant homage to the millennial tradition of Budapest's thermal baths with its turquoise tiles evoking this aquatic culture so dear to the capital. While preserving this ancestral charm, the bathroom embraces modernity, including, among other things, Japanese technology toilets.
Breakfast at Matild Café & Cabaret
The Matild Café & Cabaret is a true symbol of the buzzing Hungarian life of the early 20th century. Established in 1901, this café became the inevitable crossroads of the Belle Époque's social life.
Our experience at the Matild Café began in the morning. It's hard to find a more charming setting to enjoy breakfast. The place offers a serene ambiance, conducive to relaxation and contemplation, a real timeless moment to start the day right. But as night falls, the Matild Café & Cabaret exchanges its morning calmness for nocturnal effervescence. The hydraulic elevated stage comes alive and hosts shows that undeniably make it one of the most glamorous and lively spots in Budapest!
Our Dinner at Spago
Making his first foray into Europe, world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck chose Budapest to introduce his Californian dining concept, skillfully fusing flavors from around the world with Hungary's rich culinary tradition.
Fully embracing the chef's farm-to-table philosophy, the menu not only showcases his famous pizzas and handcrafted pastas, but also reinterprets Hungarian classics like goulash and steak tartare, blending tradition and modernity.
During our visit, the evening's gentleness led us to the restaurant's outdoor patio, a peaceful haven open during the summer season. Our meal started with tuna lemon rolls and a perfectly grilled octopus. We then indulged in Vadas Style braised beef cheek, harmoniously paired with a root vegetable puree, and duck. The highlight of this feast was undoubtedly the caramelized vanilla mille-feuille, enhanced by its raspberry sorbet.
A Drink with a View
Our evening naturally continued on the rooftop The Duchess. Up there, the Hungarian capital reveals itself in all its glory, offering a breathtaking panorama over the city's rooftops and the majestic Danube.
Upon entering the bar, one is immediately transported to an atmosphere reminiscent of the literary salons of the last century. But on balmy summer evenings, the outside truly beckons. The ambiance is both chic and relaxed, ideal for savoring sublime cocktails. I myself fell for the charm of the Royal Velvet, and my husband opted for the timeless classic Lagavulin. With a drink in hand, facing a memorable sunset, it promises a magical moment!
The Swan Spa
Except for a pool, which couldn't be integrated into this historic building, the 5-star has a spa equipped with two treatment rooms, a salt cabin, a hammam, a sauna, and a very well-equipped gym.
The city of Budapest has long been recognized as the Capital of Baths due to its rich thermal bath culture. While staying at Matild Palace, there's no need to traverse the city in search of an authentic thermal bath; the Swan Spa offers everything Budapest has to bestow in terms of well-being, all under one roof.
Without a doubt, Matild Palace stands out as one of Budapest's hotel jewels. Masterfully blending the timeless charm of its period architecture with the technological innovations of the 21st century, the 5-star guarantees exceptional comfort to its guests. The palpable vibrancy attracts many locals who come to enjoy a drink or savor a refined dinner. For anyone wishing to immerse themselves in the heart of the Hungarian capital for a stay, Matild Palace is the must-visit address for a unique experience.
What I liked:
What I regretted:
A big thank you to Matild Palace for the invitation to discover their establishment. Of course, I remain free in expressing my thoughts in this article!
About Florence Consul
Editor of Experiences Luxe since 2015, I love discovering new exclusive and authentic experiences all over the world. I left my home country (France) 6 years ago to become a global citizen, traveling 365 days out of the year. I am a foodie person and I make a point of tasting local specialities.