Guest Experience – one night at the Anantara New York Palace


  • We Love Budapest

28/06/2022 4.31pm

One of the most exciting parts of being a journalist is when we can look behind the scenes, whether it’s the kitchen of a restaurant, a museum store room or now, the Anantara New York Palace Hotel. You must have walked countless times in front of this famous landmark and dreamed about drinking coffee in the world’s most beautiful Art-Nouveau café, before casually checking into a hotel room at the reception desk and enjoying all that a five-star luxury hotel has to offer. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit the building from the ground floor to the top and experience what it’s like to spend the night at one of the most unique hotels in Budapest.

Time travel to the turn of the century

To get a better idea of ​​why the New York Palace is so special, in addition to being one of the most impressive buildings of its time, we have to travel back in time to the late 1800s. Back then, a young entrepreneur, Miksa Arányi, was commissioned by the director of the New York insurance company to build their network in Hungary.

Star architect

The large-scale headquarters was designed by Alajos Hauszmann, the celebrated star architect of the day. Work progressed rapidly, so the palace, which displayed eclectic, Baroque and Art-Nouveau motifs, was unveiled in 1894.

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

The upper floor of the palace housed the office and apartments, the ground floor a café that soon gained literary status and became the home of Hungary’s most famous writers and poets, the building an absolute wonder. We’ve covered the history of the New York Palace and the bohemian world of the café in previous  articles, but it should be mentioned that after the golden age of the turn of the century, the building was neglected for decades, so much so that it was closed up for many years.

Most beautiful café in the world

Finally, after complete renovation, the palace reopened in the late 2000s and with it the New York Café, proclaimed one of the most beautiful in the world, which now welcomes guests with its magical Art-Nouveau atmosphere.

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

New era, Oriental influences

In 2020, a whole new era began in the life of the New York Palace, as it was taken over by the Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spas Group, which has so far been present mainly in the Middle- and Far-Eastern regions, from Indonesia to Thailand to Vietnam. Now, as the first destination in Hungary, they are working on the renovation of this palatial hotel on the Grand Boulevard.

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

During our visit, work was still going on, as the lobby will have a new reception desk, and the 185 suites and rooms across six floors will be transformed row by row. But the Poets’ Bar will be renewed and, under the leadership of András Wolf, the White Salon Restaurant will soon be opened, offering fine dining for everyone as well as hotel guests.

Behind the scenes

It was exciting not only to enjoy the experiences the hotel offered – which we were able to appreciate undisturbed even during the renovation – but also to look behind the scenes of the transformation of a hotel.

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

From the basement to the roof

We’ve visited the New York Café before, but we hadn’t been to the other part of the palace, the hotel section, which opens out from the Atrium – and yet the view is stunning. We didn’t know where to turn as we hurried along the arcaded corridors running around the six floors, invisible hands taking our luggage, and we launched into our extraordinary overnight adventure. The Atrium is a bustling, elegant, eclectic and brilliant setting where we started our hotel visit with refreshments and delicious snacks.

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

You need attune to a luxury hotel, because from the noise of the boulevard outside, it’s like you've moved into a different world. Life was buzzing around the lobby as we sampled the signature New York Lemonade, alongside which we were presented with little snacks, goose-liver spread with Tokaj aszú wine on French toast, steak tartare on sourdough, melt-in-your-mouth salmon slices on brioche bites. The snack sampling closes with a sumptuous selection of desserts and tea sipped from Herend porcelain.

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

After the refreshing bites and the magnificent view of the Atrium, we check in, where we get all the important information and, of course, our key card with professional and friendly elegance. We head out of the lobby to explore the building.

Our first trip leads to below ground, where we take a look at the spa area, then Gábor Földes, Marketing Director of Anantara New York Palace, guides us down the secret back stairs below the Grand Boulevard. We learn from Gábor that the spa will soon be renewed, but the pleasant pool, sauna, steam room, rest area and massage rooms already promise complete relaxation.

The spa area can be reached by a separate lift, with which we head up, to allow Gábor to show us a suite with a panoramic balcony, almost like a modern loft apartment. The design is elegant and sophisticated, with golden-bird motifs dominating the interior in beige tones, underscoring the Oriental influence of Anantara, perfectly dovetailing with the Art Nouveau, fin-de-siècle atmosphere.

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

Our journey from here leads to one of the smaller presidential suites, where a mirrored bed frame surrounded by golden tendrils, a wild blue chandelier and a marble bathroom suggest almost exaggerated luxury, and it’s exciting to enter where world celebrities and movie stars reside.

As a last stop, we arrive at the room where we will spend the night. Here we are greeted with a lovely surprise in the form of a handwritten greetings card and a fruit chocolate cake. Gábor then says goodbye and from here, we were left to our own devices for the day and could mingle with the global travellers.

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

Culinary adventures in the palace

After tasting the welcome cake and dealing a little culture shock – which we weren’t expecting here in the middle of Budapest, on Erzsébet körút – we realised it was time for dinner.

For our meals, we were able to book a seat in the gallery, where restaurant guests were also welcomed into the golden age of the New York Palace. From here you have a magnificent view of the bustling café and the lower room, framed by lavish twisted marble columns and balustrades which, as of that year, is only referred to as Mélyvíz: ‘Deepwater’. The billiard room used to be here but now it has become one of the most beautiful breakfast rooms in Budapest.

Photo: Rockstar Photographers - We Love Budapest

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

András Wolf is responsible for the cuisine of the New York Café and the Atrium, overseeing Hungarian cuisine with great expertise but not afraid to experiment with other culinary cultures. We sampled the beetroot gazpacho, refreshingly cold and silky soft, and as we’re under Oriental influence, we also tried the classic Asian gyoza stuffed with shrimp. It is no coincidence that the soups are marked as surprise dishes, as the dishes were served in a beautiful porcelain egg.

East meets Art Nouveau

The Eastern Anantara influences and domestic Art Nouveau condensed in one dish.

The menu of main courses is concise, but you can select from other delicious dishes as well. We tried the mini-burgers and tasted a classic Hungarian mangalica pork cut. From America and matured beefburgers, we travelled the world through Asia and the red-tuna burger, and then came home to Hungary with a classic grilled goose-liver burger. There wasn’t much room left for dessert, but we still sampled and didn’t regret it for a second.

Pool refreshment, sumptuous Deepwater breakfast

After dinner, all we could think about was that extra comfortable bed and that huge sleep we needed, as the breakfast the next day promised to be a hearty adventure. Before breakfast we jumped into the spa quickly and tried to cut out any last trace of dinner with a few lengths.

Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

Breakfast at Deepwater, one of the most gorgeous parts of the New York Café, was truly an experience. The lavish ornamentation, the frescoes, the marble columns and the whole illustrious environment completely enchanted us while the buffet groaned with better than better dishes. We wouldn’t have thought that this icing on the cake would be so delicious after indulging in so much luxury, but the Anantara breakfast is sure to be one of our top morning experiences.

Photo: Molnár Dániel

The hotel is a wonderful adventure in every way, dropping in from the Grand Boulevard into a completely different world, where you can not only experience the atmosphere of luxury travel, but also sense the golden age of fin-de-siècle Budapest.

Hotel information

Anantara New York Palace
1073 Budapest, Erzsébet körút 9

Related content

Admin mode