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UPDATE, 10.16.13: Variety is now reporting that the movie will open on March 7, 2014. And the movie poster is out too!
Director Wes Anderson made train travel cool again with his movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel. According to IMDB, the film will be a comedy-drama about a hotel concierge working at a legendary hotel in 1920s Europe. The concierge embarks on a friendship with younger employee who becomes his protege. But that's not all. The movie also involves "the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, the battle for an enormous family fortune and the slow and then sudden upheavals that transformed Europe during the first half of the 20th century." Ralph Fiennes will star as the Concierge along with a roster of bona fide starts just as Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Tom Wilkinson, Mathieu Amalric, F Murray Abraham, and Bob Balaban. Now the question is What hotel inspired this movie?
According to IMDB, the film will be a comedy-drama about a hotel concierge working at a legendary hotel in 1920s Europe. The concierge embarks on a friendship with younger employee who becomes his protege. But that's not all. The movie also involves "the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, the battle for an enormous family fortune and the slow and then sudden upheavals that transformed Europe during the first half of the 20th century."
Ralph Fiennes will star as the Concierge along with a roster of bona fide starts just as Edward Norton, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Tom Wilkinson, Mathieu Amalric, F Murray Abraham, and Bob Balaban.
Now the question is What hotel inspired this movie?
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While researching hotels in the Hungarian capital this past January, we came across the usual brands (InterContinental, Four Seasons, Autograph Collection). But amidst all the grand palaces and five-star spas, there was one small boutique hotel we simply couldn't pass over: the Casati Budapest Hotel.
The 25-room hotel is housed in an 18th century building in the center of the city, right near the Opera metro stop, making it perfect for tourists. In fact, the address is so central that, after arriving from the airport via taxi on our first night, we did most of our sightseeing on foot directly from the hotel.
But location and a cool name aren't all this hotel has to offer. You see, the rooms here are divided into four different themes, ranging from Classic to Cool to Natural to Heaven. Naturally, we chose 'Cool.'
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A stone bust carved into the facade of Boscolo Budapest.
It used to be called the New York Palace, and its most famous venue is still the New York Cafe. Then it became the Boscolo Budapest. Then in 2011, Marriott swooped in and annexed it to their Autograph Collection. Call it what you will—it doesn't really matter because once you walk inside, you start to realize why so many people have been making a fuss about this place for years.
We checked into the Boscolo Budapest at the tail end of our mini-trek through Eastern Europe last month, and boy, was it a welcome respite. Immediately upon arrival (and we got there pretty early, around 11am), the staff were totally welcoming, not only allowing us up to our room ahead of normal check-in time, but also upgrading us to a Junior Suite on the fourth floor. Like always, we were planning to request an upgrade anyway (it was Budapest, in the middle of January, after all), but they were one step ahead of us!
Of course, we were dazzled by the atrium-style lobby, which is encircled by five floors of gleaming portico arches stacked on top of each other, leading all the way up to a glorious skylit roof. But more on that later. First, our initial room reaction...
Not bad for a hotel bar, right? Especially a hotel that cost you less than $100?
But yes, this is the Zara Continental Hotel in Budapest that we spent the weekend at for the princely sum of $65 per room, per night, thanks to a slamming deal on Jetsetter.com. The hotel is set in a former bath house - so there's Art Deco decoration on the outside, a huge fancy revolving door, and this stunning, also Art Deco, lobby.
Budapest's increasingly hip VII district got a new upscale boutique hotel this week. Forget nearby youth hostels or three-star duds such as the King's Hotel, next time you hit the Jewish district, consider looking into Zara Hotel's second Budapest location, The Continental Hotel Zara (the first is an established four star property, opened in 2006, near the Danube river).
This former bath house has been wonderfully restored by local owners and boasts an indoor rooftop pool (and hot tub) next to a outdoor roof garden, 272 rooms (everything from simple singles to suites to 35 "deluxe" rooms), a full service restaurant (Araz) and two courtyards. Five conference rooms and a gallery round out the find.
The entire hotel reflects one of the owners' Jordanian roots, with subtle Arabic design touches throughout.
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It's hard to believe that one of our favorite parts of the world, Eastern Europe, has only been easy to travel to for the last twenty years – that's how long it is since the Berlin Wall fell, and that's also the reason why Marriott is celebrating with the Marriott's Go East! Package, with specials in five major eastern European cities. We like these deals because they're not just a bed and some food – they also feature some little touches to help you get to know the Cold War historical sides of the cities.
In the city where it all happened, you can stay at the Berlin Marriott Hotel with a Go East! package for €199 ($290) including a double room, breakfast, the Berlin Welcome Card and tickets to the very cool Berlin Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie. At the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel in Romania (pictured), the deal starts at 660 Lei ($226) and gets you a double room, breakfast, 20% off any other food and drinks during your stay, and two tickets to visit the city's Parliament Palace.
Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in. This one comes from reader E., who tell us his overall reaction to the Hilton Budapest was "huh, I don't really have much to say about it, whether pro or con."
There are two Hiltons in Budapest: the Hilton Budapest and the Hilton Budapest West End. The West End property is located on the Pest side of the city, while the Budapest property is located in the Castle District on the Buda side, at the top of the hill within the UNESCO World Heritage site. The hotel is next door to the St. Matthias Church and actually incorporates remains from centuries-old structures that used to occupy the site.
Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.
This review comes from a longtime HotelChatter tipster who recently saw the swankier side of Budapest. Enjoy.
Four Seasons Gresham Palace is on the Pest river front, right opposite the historical Chain Bridge connecting the two parts of the city. A gorgeous Art Nouveau building, it is beautifully lit up at night and worth a stop even if you are not staying here to admire the lobby and have a drink in the cosy bar. Next door is the Sofitel, InterContinental, and a little further down the river the Marriott, all of them in various degrees of awful boxy concrete hotel architecture.
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
Now that Design Hotels is now Design Hotels, Made by Originals, we're having a hard time coming up with witty one-liners about the hotel group we tend to stumble over lots of syllables, so let's just get right to this week's Killer View: check out this awesome view from the Lanchid 19 Hotel in Budapest, a member of Design Hotels, Made by Originals (oh, alright; that wasn't so hard).
This property is located by the Danube riverbank, with only 45 rooms and three suites all of which have a totally different look.
You'll pay close to $900 just to fly to Budapest (coach, natch), but it will only cost you less than two dollars to spend the night there.
That is, of course--there's always a catch, isn't there?--you act quickly.
In honor of the first birthday of its Budapest property on October 1, easyHotel is offering rooms that night for just one euro. (One euro!) But with just 59 rooms, expect it all to go very, very quickly.
The hotel is located on the Pest side of the Danube River and is a short walk to Hero's Square. This being easyHotel, you'll pay extra for things like watching television, housekeeping services and Internet access, but at just one euro (one euro!) for the night, we think you can afford to the splurge. Heck, go crazy and order up some extra towels!
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A while back we let you know that Amy Langfield from NewYorkology was taking a European vacation and she was concerned about her lodgings in Prague. Well, we know how that all worked out and now she's giving up the lowdown on her trip. Here she details her stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Budapest. Consider this Part 1.
We were on the club floor and got a pretty good deal since we booked a package that got us a city tour package.
And yes, the cruise was cheesy, but it was worth it for the VIP entry to Parliament with our excellent guide Andrea, who was super smart and had a very dry sense of humor. She works for the Eurama Travel Agency in the InterContinental.
The hotel was perfectly fine, and I was exceptionally happy with the extra bed situation for my stepson. But really, the best thing about this place was the view. All pictures here are taken from inside our room -- at arrival, sunset, and the morning.
And above is the YouTube video I shot at dinner at the hotel's patio. It's not of the hotel, but rather the fireworks show we could see from the hotel. Killer view indeed.
Room rates at the Intercontinental start at $215 a night for a standard room. Rooms with a view are slightly more.
A reader, Seagem, emailed us with some help in choosing a hotel in Budapest and she gave us a list of things that she is looking to do while there as well as what her budget is.
I've spent hours trying to decide where today...I like the elegance of the modern hotels...like to walk in the old city, but want to spend time in thermal baths so was considering Danubius places....However, room reviews sound so-so...I can spend up to $200 per night, including all taxes...Food not important...I'm vegetarian and don't drink...Want comfortable, safe, elegance (don't need extravagance) to visit this city for the first time...I have 2.5 days..3 nights...thank you...
Well, our very own Tim L. spent some time in Budapest a few months ago and detailed the scene for us here. Back then, he recommended the art'otel budapest by park plaza, a hip hotel with a killer view of the Parliament Building and a restaurant serving "fine dishes" and a cafe/bar with an outdoor terrace. Rooms start at 198 Euros but during off-season, the rates can be cheaper.
Got a Budapest hotel suggestion that fits Seagem's requirements? Let her know by posting your tip below in comments.