Heritage Hospitality

A meeting of architecture and design with history and modernity is what Chirine Halabi discovered on a visit to Hungary’s stunning capital.

During my recent trip to Budapest, I had the pleasure of staying at the exquisite Dorothea Hotel, Budapest, Autograph Collection, which launched last November. The property left an indelible mark on my heart and made my experience in the city truly unforgettable.

Nestled in the iconic District V in the heart of this captivating capital and spread across three historic buildings, the hotel itself was a sight to behold, with its grand architecture and luxurious ambience.

The 216 rooms and suites are equipped with every modern amenity to make for a comfortable stay and are split into two distinct design styles. The contemporary rooms boast relaxing beige décor, brought to life with pops of orange and fashion artworks by Zoltán Tombor, which are found throughout the hotel. Heritage rooms are located in the Weber Building, the oldest part of the property. Their doors feature remarkable portraits of women from the 1800s, while inside soft furnishings with subtle floral embroidery evoke local folk motifs.

I started every day of my stay with breakfast at the Pavilion Restaurant where I indulged in a variety of delectable egg dishes, perfectly prepared to my liking. The culinary delights were complemented by the rich aroma and impeccable taste of their expertly brewed coffee and velvety hot chocolates which boosted me to start my days.

Each Autograph Collection property offers what is known as ‘The Mark’, an experience unique to the hotel. In the Dorothea’s case, this is found in Pavilion where a succulent herb wall pays tribute to Palatine Joseph, husband of Archduchess Dorothea, for whom the hotel is named. His deep fascination for botany gave rise to the wall and various plants which are the ingredients and inspiration behind the mixed drinks and dishes throughout the hotel’s dining venues.

Before heading out to explore, I was happy to meet Ráhel Orbán of the hotel’s owning company BDPST Group, which, as well as numerous philanthropic endeavours, has a mission to contribute to the conservation of Hungary’s architectural heritage. She told me: “Budapest is a very special city and the architecture is unique. It’s a truly authentic European city where the vibes are different and that’s why we invited you to show you the creativity and culture of our beautiful country.”

Known as the ‘Paris of the East’, the Hungarian capital boasts a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene. To kick off my exploration, I decided to book tours with Vogue Venture Hospitality, who took care of a one-of-a-kind visit to the iconic Parliament building, a magnificent architectural masterpiece that stands proudly on the banks of the Danube River. As I marvelled at its stunning neo-Gothic design and intricate details, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and admiration for the city’s rich heritage.

One of the highlights of my time in Budapest was a leisurely cruise along the Danube. Boarding a charming boat, I embarked on a journey that allowed me to witness the city’s beauty from a unique perspective. As we sailed gently along the river, I was captivated by the picturesque views of the Liberty Statue, the Chain Bridge, which spans the river between Buda and Pest, and the majestic Parliament building.

For a memorable night out, I decided to immerse myself in the city’s vibrant cultural scene by attending a music and dance performance at the renowned Hungarian State Opera House. The opulent interior of the building, with its intricate decorations and lavish chandeliers, transported me to a world of elegance and refinement. As the curtain lifted and the performers took the stage, I was enthralled by their talent and the sheer beauty of the production. The acoustics of the opera house were incredible, enhancing the power and emotion of the music, making it an unforgettable evening.

Returning to the Dorothea Hotel after my long day of exploring, I found solace in its serene and luxurious surroundings. The hotel’s elegant décor, attention to detail, and impeccable service made me feel like royalty. My comfortable and well-appointed room provided a sanctuary where I could unwind and recharge for the next day’s adventures.

Between my cultural cruises and shopping experiences I took the chance to relax at the hotel’s Anton Deli, a cosy spot that offers a variety of delicious mocktails to satisfy your thirst. Whether you’re looking for something fruity, tangy or even savoury, they have options to suit every taste. I tried a Virgin Mojito, such a refreshing option made with lime juice, mint leaves, soda water and a hint of sweetness. My friend had a Berry Blast, a blend of mixed berries, fresh lemon juice and soda water, garnished with mint leaves. Anton Deli will definitely surprise you with its innovative mixes and it’s a really worthwhile stop to check out the full range.

At night though, I would treat myself at the Aleli Budapest Italian osteria, a renowned eatery led by the Dani Garcia Group with close supervision and inspiration from the three Michelin-starred chef.

The restaurant is known for its emphasis on Italian cuisine, with a modern twist and features a variety of delectable dishes crafted with the finest ingredients, showcasing the culinary expertise of the chefs. One of the standouts is the Tartare di Manzo e Foie Gras. This dish combines the richness of foie gras with the tenderness of beef tartare, creating a harmonious blend of tastes and textures. Another must-try that I loved is the Risotto al Pesto e Burrata. This creamy risotto is infused with the aromatic flavours of pesto and topped with a generous helping of burrata cheese, resulting in a luxurious and satisfying dish. And last but not least, the selection of desserts at Aleli Budapest is equally impressive. From classic Italian treats like tiramisu and panna cotta to inventive creations, the desserts are beautifully presented and offer a delightful conclusion to your meal.

Soon it was time to head home but my personal experience at the Dorothea Hotel and my time in Budapest exceeded all expectations. I found myself in the company of exceptional visitors, who exemplified the exclusivity of this destination and emphasised the need for global recognition. Furthermore, it is worth noting the remarkable sense of security I experienced while traversing the various locales, both by day and night. This city truly astounded me! I will forever cherish the memories created during my stay, and I highly recommend others to explore this remarkable city and indulge in the luxurious hospitality of the Dorothea Hotel.

For more information or to make a reservation,
please visit dorotheahotel.com

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