It’s easy to stroll down Erzsébet körút today without noticing any architectural splendour, but everyone who passes before the New York Palace slows down for a glimpse of the bronze fauns by its huge café windows. The story of one of the most impressive buildings from the last turn of the century began with a New York insurance company and an enterprising young man, and then continued with the star architects of the day. Almost immediately, this palatial café became the home of artists and writers, the birthplace of legends and anecdotes, and a central figure in poems and novels.
battered and bruised, the New York Palace survived the storms of history, but then
closed for a fair while from 1990. Its splendour gone, it was completely
renewed in 2006. The palace regained its original lustre and twice won an award
for the most beautiful café in the world.
Elegant hotel rooms were added to its upper floors and, since 2020, the Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas Group have ensured that the lavish atmosphere of the last turn of the century and the luxury of the modern age now await visitors.
Where entrepreneurship meets star design
“There is no city in Europe building as fast as Budapest,” Budapest’s Sunday Newspaper, 1894.
This was indeed the case. As the turn of the century approached, apartment buildings rose all across the Hungarian capital, but from so many points of view, the most adventurous stories surround 9-11 Erzsébet körút. Having already described the cultural and historical significance of the New York Café, in this article we will cover the history of the palace and reveal what visitors can look forward to as they enter the doors of the imposing building now called the Anantara New York Palace.
legendary history of the palace began in the late 1800s with an enterprising
young man, Miksa Arányi, came to Budapest as a teacher, but then went to study in
Paris and became a successful lawyer. At his headquarters, the famed Café de la
Paix in the French capital, he met the director of the American firm, the New
York Life Insurance Company, who commissioned him to set up an operation in
The headquarters of the upscale insurance company in Budapest was to be designed by none other than Alajos Hauszmann, one of the most celebrated architects of the time, designer of the revamped Buda Castle, working with Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl.
“With its huge main façade and finely crafted beaming tower, this palace stands out from the surrounding group of buildings. Its high gable dominates the boulevard and its tower can be seen from the most remote parts of the capital,” enthused the Sunday Newspaper in 1894, after the unveiling.
four-storey Neo-Renaissance palace, with its eclectic style, and Baroque and Art-Nouveau motifs, and the New York Café, integral to the building, became the centre
of literary and artistic life after its opening in 1894.
“New York, you café, you world city!" writes Hungarian poet Ottó Orbán, and not by chance, since the literary, fine arts and theatre life of Budapest dovetailed here ever since that day.
The New York Palace and the café within showcase the lavish elegance of the turn of the century. Having survived the storms of history, they regained their old splendour to reopen their doors, completely renovated, in the early 2000s. The café now shines brightly again, and the upper floors have been given a new function as the suites of a luxury hotel.
Fin-de-siècle atmosphere, culinary adventures and well-deserved luxury at the Anantara New York Palace
In 2020, the Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas Group took it over, and the Anantara New York Palace now awaits with greater splendour and even more adventures. You can relive the fin-de-siècle café atmosphere while hotel guests will be amazed by their stay and the range of services on offer.
six floors, 185 rooms and suites combine the style of the last turn of the
century and the antique décor of the Palace with contemporary and cosmopolitan features
associated with the comforts of the modern age.
The 135-square-metre presidential suite represents the height of luxury, where a chandelier of Murano glass, custom-designed furniture and a marble bathroom dazzle all who enter. It’s no coincidence that guests happen to be are global celebrities and movie stars.
more than ten years, the New York Palace has been frequented by those after a
culinary adventure, as the café and Salon Restaurant, under András Wolf, have
been flourishing since 2009. The restaurant will soon be revamped under the
name of Fehér Szalon – we will be turning our attention to the ‘White Salon’
in another article shortly.
In the meantime, you can sip a coffee in the most beautiful café in the world, enjoy a drink in the Poets’ Bar, and start the day in the Deepwater breakfast space. Until the opening of the new restaurant, you can arrange a private dinner in the Palace, but as part of the Anantara Spice Spoons experience, you can take part in a cooking course with András Wolf and team at the Chef’s Table Restaurant beside Parliament.
“It’s no little task to be chef of a five-star hotel, the most beautiful café in the world and one of the most elegant restaurants in the city centre," writes András, whose aim is to preserve and prepare traditional Hungarian food with a new approach.
addition to the coffeehouse and culinary adventures, the New York Palace holds
many more exciting features. The spa area promises enjoyable relaxation,
where various pools, saunas, steam baths and relaxing massages ensure complete
leisure, while basking in the atmosphere of Budapest’s thermal baths of legend.
In a gym equipped with the most modern machinery, you can request the help of a personal trainer, or explore the streets Budapest by jogging with a guide alongside.
The Anantara New York Palace also has a modern conference centre that can accommodate up to 550 guests, often hosting balls, weddings and large-scale events. As well as the special location, impeccable service enriches the experience of being here.
The Anantara New York Palace is worth a visit even if you are not a guest of the hotel. As well as being extremely popular with foreign visitors, its domestic heritage is also highly valued. The café regularly hosts literary events for Hungarian audiences, which evoke the once vivacious intellectual life of the café. For example, New York Artists’ Lodge evenings have been taking place for nearly ten years, focusing on contemporary and classic Hungarian literature.