The most striking example, as magnificent as its location overlooking the Chain Bridge, is the Gresham Palace. Fashioned in the Art-Nouveau style of the day by Zsigmond Quittner and József Vagó for the London-based Gresham Life Assurance Company in 1908, this ornate masterpiece also contained equally luxurious apartments.
A patchwork history – it even housed a louche pre-war cabaret – came to an end in the 1990s. The Canadian Four Seasons group then stepped in and, using original plans, reconfigured the whole building as a luxury hotel. Two million mosaic tiles, intricate stained glass and a Preciosa chandelier greet the visitor in the lobby, adjoining a stunning café, a high-end restaurant and a top-quality cocktail bar. Above beckons a panoramic spa.
An equally impressive, more recent conversion, also near the Danube, the Párisi Udvar reopened within the Hyatt’s Unbound Collection in 2019. Built as a bank headquarters 200 years earlier by Mihály Pollack of National Museum fame, the Párisi Udvar was almost completely demolished in the rapid urban development of the 1890s. From 1909, architect Henrik Schmahl built the Downtown Savings Bank, sourcing decorative tiling from Villeroy & Boch in Saarland.