Dorothea Hotel: A Pinnacle of Heritage Preservation and Modern Development

Hotels

The historic precincts of the Dorothea Hotel, encompassing the Mahart and Futura houses and the former Savings Bank headquarters, have been meticulously refurbished to harmonize the architectural splendor of Hungary’s past with contemporary design.

The project saw the preservation of all the buildings’ significant elements, echoing Budapest’s rich architectural lineage. Managed by the BDPST Group and in collaboration with the Milan-based firm Lissoni & Partners, alongside local Hungarian experts, the transformation signifies a noteworthy endeavor in Hungarian real estate development.

The Dorothea Hotel, slated for a public unveiling on Budapest’s Vörösmarty tér in November 2023, is a testament to complex heritage conservation and modern property development. The project team, which encountered its share of challenges, remained unwavering in its commitment to preserving the inherent value.

The development integrates three historically significant structures: the Mahart House, Futura House, and the former Savings Bank headquarters. The composite property now boasts an international standard five-star hotel, upscale residential units, dining establishments, retail spaces, and an inviting rooftop terrace. Moreover, a botanical-themed inner courtyard subtly nods to former owners the Palatine Joseph’s interest in botany and Archduchess Dorottya’s advocacy for Budapest’s development.

As part of the planning permission procedure, a detailed heritage conservation study was carried out by art historians, who worked out the areas to be protected and restored on a site-by-site basis. The Heritage Protection Office continued to monitor the construction once the permits had been issued, as the common goal was to restore the remaining architectural monuments in a dignified manner after the tumultuous history of the buildings.

Preserving architectural values, alongside the conservation of historic memories, has emerged as an essential goal. The collective historical past of the building was researched, processed, and compiled into a book to make it accessible to the general public.

The initial construction phase mandated rigorous civil engineering processes. Alongside, archaeological explorations under the supervision of the Budapest History Museum unearthed fragments of the city’s past, including traces of a 17-18th-century well and a medieval cannonball.

A dedicated emphasis on historical preservation permeated the development process. Notably, the façade on Wekerle utca, which exudes an ambiance reminiscent of Italian Renaissance styles, underwent precise restoration.

Internal structural renovations preserved historical design elements while integrating contemporary construction techniques. A significant phase included the introduction of a steel-framed glass roof over the inner courtyard, a feat of modern engineering.

The interior design, conceptualized by Lissoni & Partners and supplemented by Hungarian designers TSPC, marries history with present-day aesthetics. The restaurants’ interiors are credited to Spain’s Astet Studio, while Hungarian studio Archikon Architects provided the overall architectural guidance.

István Tiborcz, owner of the BDPST Group, commented, “Our primary objective remains value preservation. The Dorothea Hotel project is emblematic of this ethos. By rejuvenating these landmark buildings, we’ve ensured they resonate with modern-day requirements without sidelining their storied past.”

Spanning 35,000 sqm, the hotel, managed by the Autograph Collection Hotels by Marriott International, features 216 rooms and an array of facilities, including a wellness center and conference rooms. Two culinary establishments, The Pavilon Restaurant & Bar and Anton Bar & Deli, will be operational from the launch, with plans for two more restaurants, Alelí and BiBo, to open in 2024 under the guidance of Michelin-starred chef Dani Garcia.

In its entirety, the Dorothea Hotel project exemplifies a harmonious convergence of architectural conservation and progressive real estate development in Budapest.

BDPST Group

Founded in 2015, BDPST Group is a dynamically growing capital investment and real estate development company. Its strategic goal is to become a group of companies with a clear economic vision, cross-sectoral and internationally competitive, and outstanding market performance.

The group manages a number of investments in the tourism real estate market, the financial sector and logistics. It is committed to economic, social and environmental sustainability principles and practices. Therefore, it seeks investments that meet these criteria and contribute to the preservation of Hungary’s architectural heritage and the creation of value in the real estate market.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of October 20, 2023.

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