Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, Budapest
Tel: 36 1 479 4000
Concierge.com's insider take:
Relive the Austro-Hungarian empire in this truly palatial grand, reopened in 2003 by the Malta-based Libyan hotel group after a massive renovation. The building dates from 1896, when it was built for Hungary's millennium and proceeded to host the most prestigious of events in its banquet and concert halls and indoor tropical gardens—Bela Bartók played here frequently, and the Lumière brothers brought their magic moving pictures directly here from their inaugural showings in Paris. Nowadays, the lobby, with a six-story glass-roofed atrium, gilded statuary, polished marble, mosaic floors, arches, and columns, is magnificently stately, as are the traditional brasserie, the bistro, and an Asian restaurant. The 414 rooms, with their taupe walls and carpets, cherrywood furniture, and individual AC, are deluxe and serene and big—just a little bland. An enormous plus is the adjacent real Hungarian spa, complete with medicinal treatments; it's the only one downtown.