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Former Drechsler Palace Officialy Opens as W Budapest Hotel

Hotels

The much anticipated official debut of W Budapest, the brand’s first opening in Hungary, took place on July 10.

“The debut of W Hotels in Budapest marks a monumental milestone and signals a new era of design ethos for our iconic brand,” said George Fleck, vice president and global brand leader for W Hotels. “We look forward to connecting our guests to this timeless and inspiring city through inviting yet unexpected design, imaginative dining and unparalleled guest programming.”

Housed in the historic Drechsler Palace, previously home to the Institute of Ballet, W Budapest is located on Andrássy út, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and arguably the city’s most luxurious shopping street. The hotel features 151 guestrooms, including 45 suites, and three dining concepts, all influenced by Budapest’s history, creativity and diversity.

The team behind the renewal of the palace says the interior design draws inspiration from the Drechsler Palace’s rich cultural history and multiple former identities as a café, social hub and home to the Hungarian State Ballet Academy, and from the grand French Renaissance architectural aesthetic throughout the city. Hungary’s vibrant and eclectic cultural scene, including the city’s famous love of chess and its deep-rooted connection to ballet, can also be seen throughout the new hotel.

The hotel’s “destination restaurant,” Nightingale by Beefbar, is the gastronomic heart of the hotel. A spinoff of the Beefbar concept, it offers Asian cuisine, pairing fresh traditional Asian flavors with a selection of Beefbar’s signature meat dishes.

Spearheading the Nightingale by Beefbar’s kitchen is Fabio Polidori, who has curated a menu of small plates designed to be shared with friends. Dishes include crispy carpaccio drizzled in a piquant chipotle dressing, yellowtail sashimi with yuzu truffle sauce, and the intriguingly-named Miss Bao, which invites diners to dip caramelized banana into a dark chocolate sauce. The bar at Nightingale by Beefbar offers a host of creative cocktails, from bourbon-based Nightingale Boulevardier to the gin and sweet wine-based cocktail Budapest Calling.

The hotel also has what it calls a “speakeasy” located in the basement, called Society25. “It takes inspiration from the creative conversations and secret table societies that frequented the space in its past life,” the W Budapest says.

Eight bespoke cocktails pay homage to various eras, people and buildings within the city, each including a mysterious ingredient, overseen by head bartender Stefano Ripiccini. The Illusionist, for example, is named after the great Harry Houdini; Brew Bop is a nod to Budapest’s Fin de siècle coffee golden age, and Geranium, which Drechsler Palace itself inspires. The hotel’s Away Spa is just next door to Society25.

Located on the ground floor, and blending into the Nightingale restaurant, is W Lounge, described as “the social epicenter of the hotel.” The hotel also boasts several meeting and event spaces, including the Great Room, ideal for grand celebrations, and two Studio Rooms for business meetings and more intimate gatherings.

The hotel also promises programming that will integrate it into the life of the city. “Faces of Budapest,” kicking off in August in celebration of Budapest Fashion Week, is a series of roundtable discussions that “will shine a light on the inspiring faces of Budapest who represent the energized city, sharing insights and fostering connections.” Dávid Ráday, music curator at W Budapest, will create the sounds of the city through musical explorations paired with cocktails and bites at “Sunset Sessions,” “The Warm-up,” and “Afterdark.”

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of July 14, 2023.

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