New York Palace Budapest
You couldn't accuse the New York Palace of being shy and retiring. From the columns and turrets of its façade to the frescoed ceilings of the opulent New York Café, this is a hotel of dramatic flourishes. The original building dates back to the late 19th century, constructed for the New York Insurance Company.
- Adrian Phillips, Destination expert
The hotel is located on the traffic-heavy Great Boulevard, which isn't the prettiest spot in the city but is convenient for the main tourist sites. It's a 10-minute walk to Váci utca and just two stops on the metro from Blaha Lujza tér to Deák tér.
Style & character
If you enjoy joyous, strutting, over-the-top architectural design then the New York Palace will fit you a treat. The building was the work of leading architects Alajos Hauszmann, Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl in the 1870s, its eclectic design inspired by the flamboyance of the Italian Renaissance. The New York Café is its centrepiece, dripping with gilding and decorated with elaborate frescoes. Rooms are ranged over four floors around a vast courtyard lobby that's laid with Italian marble and topped with a glass pyramid roof. It's all immaculately done, the attention to detail exhaustive – indeed, at times it borders on feeling overly manicured.
Service & facilities
Service is generally excellent, as you'd expect. Nothing is missing. There's a spa with steam room, sauna and tea lounge, an atmospheric relaxation pool in an area designed to feel like the inside of a cave, and two well-equipped fitness suites (one in the New York Residence and one in the main hotel). Do note that the spa will be closed for an overhaul during the second half of 2019, although massages and other treatments will still be available to guests in their rooms.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
- Steam room/hammam
The main hotel has 185 rooms (in categories of Classic, Superior, Exclusive and various suites), each demonstrating the style and expensive taste you'd expect of Italian owners. There are plush plum coloured carpets, gold curtains held back with gold rope ties, mahogany furniture and a central Murano chandelier. Many of the furnishings are imported from Italy, including rose-coloured marble in the decent-sized bathrooms, which have separate shower and bath. There's a safe and minibar, and complimentary tea and coffee facilities (including Nespresso machines in the suites). The hotel also offers 138 apartments (with cooking facilities) in the New York Residence, lying on a parallel street, and available to short-term guests (although more usually taken by those staying longer term, including film crews on location in the city).
Food & drink
The New York Café has a very rich history, which it continues to play upon in spades. From the early years of the 20th century this was a major meeting place for Budapest's literary and artistic titans; it is said that the writer Ferenc Molnár once threw the keys to the café into the Danube in the hope of getting it to open around the clock. The café receives a staggering 2,000 visitors each day, which creates a colourful and cacophonous atmosphere. Tourists take selfies and crane their necks to admire the ceiling frescoes, gilded stucco work and Venetian chandeliers. The sumptuous effect is dampened by rather cheap-feeling tables and chairs, but there is a plan to upgrade these in early 2020. The café offers a limited selection of meals (three courses with wine will probably set you back about HUF 15,000 (£34) – and this is also where breakfast is served (hot and cold buffet for €29/£25).
The adjacent Salon Restaurant is the spot for fine dining, where chef András Wolf (who has celebrity status, featuring on Hungarian Master Chef) cooks modern takes on traditional Hungarian dishes. During the evening, a pianist tickles the ivories in the Nyugat Bar, a plush drinking hole with red carpet and leather trim that has the general bearing of a gentleman's club.
Value for money
Double rooms from £165 in low season; and from £215 in high. Breakfast is excluded and costs €29 (£25). Free Wi-Fi. This is one of the city's priciest hotels, but it never pretends to be otherwise.
Access for guests with disabilities?
There are three adapted rooms (on the second, third and fourth floors).
Cot-beds and three pairs of connecting rooms are available.