We walk past one of the most magnificent buildings on Erzsébet Avenue almost every day, but the fauns on its façade keep its secrets closely guarded. Still, through the vast street-front glass windows, we can catch a glimpse of the impressive, peaceful, turn-of-the-century atmosphere. And we can also spot the magnificently renovated Atrium of the Anantara Hotel, all along with the New York Café, voted the most beautiful café in the world. This year, we decided to go further than a peek and explore every inch of the New York Palace. What's more, on a crisp November afternoon we changed into our swimsuits and tested the spa and wellness area - also open to everyone.
A secret oasis under the Grand Boulevard – We tried the Anantara New York Palace wellness & spa
We've covered the history of the New York Palace and the bohemian world of the café in several articles, explored its secrets, and even spent a night in the luxury hotel as part of our Guest Experience tour. The building, designed by Alajos Hauszmann, who also designed the Buda Castle, was home to some of our most famous artists in the decades following the turn of the century. After surviving the storms of history, it was renovated and renewed in the late 2000s.
In addition to one of the world's most beautiful cafés, the hotel was also revamped this year, with the Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spas group, who have been present mainly in the Middle and Far East, from Indonesia to Thailand and Vietnam, taking over the management.
Modern luxury and a secret oasis
New York Palace was Anantara group's first destination in Hungary. They renovated it, giving the Art Nouveau building a fresh and modern makeover that still sticks to tradition.
While the ground floor offers modern luxury and a Belle Epoque ambience, the hotel's spa and wellness area is a secret oasis underneath the boulevard. Guests can not only refresh themselves here but also enjoy soothing treatments, relax in the sauna or steam bath and plunge into the pool. But let's not rush ahead.
Relax in the Atrium
As soon as we left the hustle and bustle of the boulevard behind us and entered the New York Palace, we were transported into another world, surrounded by fin-de-siècle grandeur and the modern luxury of the Atrium. We kicked off the afternoon with a refreshing New York lemonade and tea served in elegant Zsolnay china, setting the stage for the full relaxation that awaited us.
Freshen up underneath the boulevard
After descending to the secret oasis beneath the boulevard, we were warmly greeted by the spa and wellness manager, and then, wrapped in our fluffy, soft hotel robes, we set off on our relaxing adventure.
Spread over 500 square metres, the newly renovated spa is a cosy, peaceful, warm nest where soothing beige colours, pleasant scents and soft music help you unwind from the business of the city.
The Anantara spa has five massage rooms, including one specifically designed for couples, complete with Jacuzzi. The newly designed Finnish sauna can comfortably accommodate up to six people, but you can also enter the aromatherapy steam bath and, once you've warmed up, the multifunctional massage showers are a refreshing way to cool off.
What's more, there's a 15-metre heated pool and a relaxation room where you can lounge on comfortable beds while sipping tea, lemonade, or refreshing smoothies. There are even three hammocks to sway to soft music.
You can choose from a variety of massages to recharge your body and soul. We opted for a relaxing massage and left the massage room feeling like we'd been treated by angels, completely relieved of stress and back pain, smooth, and rested. But we also had a choice of exciting treatments such as the Revitalising Goddess Indulgence, involving wine essence and grapeseed oil, the Ancient Conqueror sequence, specially designed for gentlemen. The latter starts with a special beer scrub, or the Hungarian mud therapy, working with the precious material of the Hévíz thermal lake.
The spa is open Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 9 pm, and children can visit the spa from 11 am to 3 pm, so there are both morning and afternoon slots exclusively for adults. The spa is available to outside guests for HUF 10,000 on weekdays and HUF 12,000 at weekends. Booking in advance is not required, but if you wish to have one of the relaxing massage treatments, is advisable.
It is a truly relaxing and indulging experience, and might as well make a great Christmas gift. Just picture taking your loved ones to the New York Palace and combining a coffee and cake with a total relaxation experience.