At the beginning of December, Hotel Gellért closed its doors in order for the renovation of the 103-year-old building to start. But who will be the new operator, and what changes can be expected? We collected the currently known future plans for Budapest’s iconic building.
Over a century of operation, Hotel Gellért went through several changes. As Hungarian news portal Metropol reports, it used to operate as an airport hotel that was later converted into a family aquapark. Few may know that between the two World Wars, Princess Augusta, the granddaughter of Franz Joseph, was a frequent visitor of the hotel. Moreover, the luxury hotel had permanent residents as well. By way of example, a Hungarian elderly lady was living there for a long period in the 2000s. Hotel Gellért was her last residence before Aunt Hédi passed away.
As Hungarian news portal Blikk reports, the legendary hotel was renovated after the Second World War. This was the point when its golden age started. The hotel’s restaurant had been run by Károly Gundel for a long time and gained worldwide recognition during this period. Besides Hungarians, Budapest’s iconic hotel was visited by international legends as well. Just to mention a few of them, US President Richard Nixon, tennis player Boris Becker, and American violinist Yehudi Menuhin also spent a couple of days in the luxury hotel. Hotel Gellért also served as a filming venue. Blockbusters were shot here such as I, the Spy with Eddie Murphy or Evita with Madonna.
In 2019, Danubius signed an agreement with Hungarian real estate investor Indotek Group to sell Hotel Gellért. The owners of the Danubius hotel chain wanted to find an investor who would allow the iconic building to regain its rightful place among Budapest’s luxury hotels. Accordingly, Indotek Group intends to carry out the complete reconstruction of the building. While preserving the original exterior,
the company aims to turn the building into a five-star hotel serving quality tourism.
In June 2019, the contract was signed, and the parties agreed that Danubius Hotels will operate the iconic hotel in the following years, during the design phase of the reconstruction and until the completion of the licensing process. As Spabook reports, this phase has now been completed. In November, Danubius Hotels said goodbye to its guests with a special farewell campaign, Gellért Grand Finale. Within the framework of the event series, we could see a special light painting adorning the façade of Budapest’s iconic building that reflected the old glory of Hotel Gellért.
Hotel Gellért has defined the view of Budapest for over a century and will continue to do so, as the overall appearance of the building will not be significantly changed from the outside.
Presumably, Hotel Gellért will be reborn as a 5-star luxury hotel. Based on current plans,
a well-known international hotel brand will take over the operation of the building.
Concerning the reopening of the hotel, no exact date has been set yet. Even though the hotel is closed for now, the closely connected St. Gellért Spa still welcomes visitors. The latter is not affected by the renovation project, as it is owned by the municipal company that manages Budapest’s baths.
Source: blikk.hu, spabook.net, metropol.hu