Glass stays at The Corinthia Hotel in Budapest, the hotel that inspired film-maker Wes Anderson

STEPPING into The Corinthia Hotel in Budapest is to immerse yourself in Hungarian history. With the hotel first opening in the 1890s, the hub of innovation has a vast and intriguing history, piquing the interest of filmmakers for over a hundred years, including The Lumière brothers in the early 20th century and Wes Anderson for the making of his film The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014.

Glass takes a trip to Budapest in February, for a surprisingly sunny and rainless weekend, to take in the hotel’s history, architecture, and heights of luxury and glamour.

Exterior of The Corinthia Hotel, Budapest

Entrance to the Corinthia Hotel, Budapest

Arriving in the early hours of the morning, our tired spirits were lifted by a cinematic-feeling entrance to the hotel. Greeted by a beautifully marbled lobby and  European chic decor, with a touch of oriental design interestingly enough (a feature from their last renovation), there could be no better way to start our trip.

A warm and friendly staff help to relieve travel-inflicted stress, and by the time we reached our room we were fully enchanted by the Hungarian fairytale the hotel spun for us (gently aided by the promise of room service close in reach).

Executive Suite, The Corinthia Hotel, Budapest

If I had to summarise the best of the hotel in a sentence, I would say it was its ability to merge historical glamour with modern luxury. Our room, the executive suite, was a perfect example of this. Situated above the historic boulevard, the space blended elements of the hotel’s past with a feeling of contemporary style, chic structured furniture and fashionably high ceilings within a soft, muted colour scheme.

Featuring a walk-in wardrobe and two beautifully marbled bathrooms, comfort was at the core of the suite’s careful design, creating a place of relaxation and calm within the heart of the busy city.

Situated around the corner from the Andrássy Avenue, described to me by the concierge as the Hungarian Champs-Élysées, the location was ideal for sight-seeing and shopping, set in the centre of Budapest’s cultural hub. The beauty of Budapest is that taking a stroll can be one of the memorable parts of your trip.

Architecture is greatly influenced by Paris, but with its own uniquely Hungarian style, with fairytale-like hideaways just waiting to be found. The breath-taking St Stephen’s Basilica is just a ten minute walk away, and the must-see river Danube only 15 minutes on foot.

Brasserie and Atrium, The Corinthia Hotel, Budapest

The perfect way to end a busy day of exploring is a dinner at the Brasserie and Atrium. Refined but understated Hungarian French fusion is set in it restaurant’s scenic dining area, which recreates the feeling of an outdoor dining experience — a unique quality in winter — with its high glass ceiling. I would recommend trying out its selection of Hungarian wine, proving to challenge the best reds from Bordeaux, alongside a plate of boeuf bourguignon — delicate and refined rather than the hearty, stick-to-your-ribs type stews I am used to, but a welcome change certainly.

I finished the meal off with a slice of the Opera cake, a beautiful almond cake soaked in coffee syrup and finished with chocolate ganache, as well as a sampling of my friend’s Hungarian cheese board (I couldn’t resist).

Royal Spa, The Corinthia Hotel, Budapest

At the hotel, I would also suggest getting the insider tour from manager Tibor Meskál, going behind the scenes to uncover the ins and outs of the hotel’s rich history. Tibor first began working at the hotel in 1962, so his knowledge of the hotel is unchallenged, and he may even let you have a peek at the coveted Presidential Suite, if you’re very lucky.

Then, after contemplating its history, why not try out the Royal Spa? Inspired by Turkish baths, (you learn more about Turkey’s history on Budapest if you take the tour), the fifteen metre in-door pool can only be described as otherworldly, immersing you in total tranquility and peace.

Wonderful if you need a quick escape from the bustling city. The spa also offers a huge range of treatments, each designed to bring a sense of balance and harmony back into your life.

There was something so seamless and at ease about my stay at The Corinthia, defying conventions of realism with its fairytale-like design. This is probably why it caught the cinematic eye of Wes Anderson, who in fact visited the hotel to view archive material, and was inspired not only by the exterior of the hotel, where there is clear parallels, but through its unique history for his film’s narrative.

Much like the film, the hotel transports you to another world, transcending through its ability to immerse you in both its history and everything you could possibly want from modern luxury travel.

by Emma Hart

An overnight stay at The Corinthia Budapest costs from €180/£152 per room per night (two sharing) including breakfast.

Call +36 1 479 4000 or visit for more information