A 1906 gem, the Four Seasons in Budapest began life as a “palace” built to house the Gresham Life Assurance Company of London and its officers. Although its provenance was not majestic, its bearing has always been.
Designed by Hungarian architect Zsigmond Quittner on practically an unlimited budget, the Gresham firm recruited the country’s most talented artists and craftspeople to contribute their skills as well.
Some well-preserved elements of the fin-de-siècle design remain as decorative arts within the hotel. You’ll find original tiles in the Art Nouveau/Secessionist style, stained-glass windows, turreted rooms that are perfect settings for a romantic fantasy, and a spirit of service befitting a Kaiser.
Other magnificent elements — such as the glass-roofed arcade and curvilinear “peacock gates” outside the front door that were destroyed by Allied bombs during World War II — have been restored.
Even during the Soviet occupation of Budapest, the grim-faced occupants knew enough not to trash the facility, reserving these quarters to house the party hierarchy. Nonetheless, Gresham Palace fell into disrepair during those dark years.
Reopened in 2004 under the far more benevolent rule of the Four Seasons Hotels empire, Gresham Palace today is a jewel in the company’s roster of outstanding luxury properties.