Luxury Travel Advisor recently met up with Thomas Fischer, general manager of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest, and Dr. Zoltan Budai, director of the Hungarian National Tourist Office to get the latest on the historic property and the city in general.
The hotel, Fischer said, dates back to 1896, and its spa is a further 10 years older (Budapest’s waters have made it a popular spa destination for millennia). It became a Corinthia in 2002 after a renovation restored several historic elements, and is currently in the middle of another renovation. So far, Fischer added, the hotel has refurbished 100 of its guest rooms--including adding media hubs that will let guests view and listen to content from their tablets and smartphones on the TVs in their rooms. “It’s very well connected, and you don’t have to have five different devices in the room anymore,” he told Luxury Travel Advisor. “Whatever device you bring, it will work.”
The hotel will also be rolling out test rooms for a new suite product, Fischer added, including proper room dividers for a genuine one-bedroom experience and updated wardrobes. Business clients, meanwhile, will get a dedicated lounge on the hotel’s first floor that will have communal tables for networking and built-in iPads for taking notes or surfing the Web. The lounge will be close to boardrooms, so guests will have a solid breakaway (though open) space, and is set to debut in summer.
Business travelers will also get to see one of the hotel’s oldest elements: The ballroom, Fischer said, dates back to the 19th century and has maintained many original features, including the high ceilings.
A newer perk is the mobile check-in option: Guests can be picked up at the airport and, while en route, check in remotely and go straight to their rooms when they get to the hotel. (And when we say this perk is new, we mean it launched 10 days ago. Also, only four hotels in Europe currently offer this option, so many will be watching the Corinthia to see how this develops.)
The hotel also has a cinematic connection: Wes Anderson’s upcoming The Grand Budapest Hotel (starring Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Jude Law, Bill Murray and Edward Norton) was reportedly inspired by the Corinthia (or at least its facade), so the hotel is offering a special package in honor of the movie. The Grand Budapest Hotel Guest Package includes three nights in an Executive Room (for two) and access to the Executive Club and the Royal Spa, buffet breakfast, airport transfers, a screening of the movie at the Arena Plaza Cinema VIP section, a sightseeing cruise on the Danube (with a welcome drink, of course), a behind-the-scenes tour of the hotel and a walking tour of the city. The package is valid from April 10 to December 25.
Dr. Budai, meanwhile, noted that for a country the size of Indiana, Hungrary has 10 World Heritage sites and is attracting 500,000 American tourists each year. River cruises, he noted, have helped boost Budapest's (and Hungary's) visitor appeal, and spa travel is also on the rise. (The country has some 300 spas, he added—some of which are 2,000 years old.)