Four Seasons, Hungary


The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest, Hungary, situated next to the river Danube at the foot of Chain bridge, was an $85m redevelopment of the historic Gresham Palace that opened as a 5-star hotel in late 2003 with 179 guestrooms, meeting and conference facilities as well as a spa.

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL GRESHAM PALACE GUEST ROOMS

Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts operate the historic property. The hotel has a range of guest room options including 20 two-bedroom suites and a presidential suite. All guest room dimensions vary according to the how the historic palace was once designed, with many featuring 3.5m to 4.2m-high ceilings.

The guestrooms feature Art Nouveau / Secessionist décor to reflect the building's cultural heritage. Two bedroom suites are designed with families or private parties in mind. The two bedrooms are connected by a living room with wet bar and gas fireplace offering views of the Danube from the third and fourth floors. Suites have an average total floor area of 185m².

"All guest room dimensions vary according to the how the historic palace was once designed."

At the top of the range, Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace offers a 223m² Presidential Suite located on the second floor. The suite features original Art Nouveau, two king and one twin bedroom as well as a living room with fireplace, dining room and balcony offering views across the Danube and Chain bridge. This suite also comes with full maid and butler service 24 hours a day.

HEALTH FACILITIES AND SPA

The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace has a rooftop health club with a full range of health and fitness facilities, including a lap pool, sauna, whirlpool, steam rooms and a fitness room with weight (multigym) and cardiovascular equipment (rowing machines, steppers, recumbent cycles and treadmills).. Beauty treatments such as massages and facials are applied in a total of four treatment rooms as well as herbal and mud wraps in a wet treatment suite.

MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES

The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace offers two large function rooms at the mezzanine level as well as a private dining room. A larger function room will be located on the ground floor adjacent to a restaurant. The meeting and conference facilities are equipped with automated black out capabilities, pc and fax, teleconferencing equipment and projectors.

UNDERGROUND PARKING GARAGE AT ROOSEVELT TÉR

Part of the redevelopment was a new underground parking garage located next to the hotel property at the Roosevelt tér. The car park replaced an overground car park in front of Gresham Palace. As a result of building a garage underground, the total lawn area of the park increased by 10%. Part of the project included extensive new landscaping as well as new lighting installations and flowers. Construction began in 2000 with completion in late 2001. The garage opened in February 2002 with 180 new underground parking spaces.

GRESHAM PALACE

Gresham Palace was constructed between 1904 and 1906 by Gresham Life Assurance Company and was subsequently used as company headquarters and residence for foreign aristocracy traveling to Budapest. The palace was occupied by Soviet troops during World War II and served as an apartment building during communism. The Hungarian government transferred the building to the City of Budapest in post-soviet times. In 1999, Gresco Investments Limited acquired the property for restoration as a luxury hotel to be operated by Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts. The idea was for the hotel to be fully restored as it is partly a historic property but for it also to be fully functional for 21st century purposes.

RESTORATION WORKS

The heritage restoration works of the Gresham Palace included all sculptures and facade stones, metal decoration, stained glass windows and roof, ornaments, ceramic tiles, mosaics, stucco decoration and wrought iron. The guests are also able to enter the reception area of the 179 room hotel through the Palace's historic Peacock Gates. The restored glass cupola of the hotel highlights the guest reception area and there is a walkway towards the elevators which is lined with boutiques, meeting rooms and the hotel bar for easy access by guests. The restaurant, lounge and function spaces all boast fabulous river views of the Danube.

KEY PLAYERS

Gresco Investments Ltd. acquired the property and received the car park construction permit from City of Budapest in 1999. The hotel is now operated by Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts. General contractor for the redevelopment is CFE Hungary Kft. Formanyelv Architecture and Urban Planning were the architects for the project along with Gábor Kruppa who was the designated project architect.

"The idea was for the hotel to be fully restored as it is partly a historic property but for it also to be fully functional for 21st century purposes."

Haran Glass was involved in the renovation; they were called in by Arup Facade Engineering to problem solve, where a local structural glazing company's design had failed. Haran Glass had to redesign and install the structural glass roof using specially designed glass beams, which were thinner and lighter than had originally been designed. Hungary’s famous Zsolnay factory designed and produced all of the tiles covering the walls in bathrooms and other areas. Central European Investment Bank and Banca Commerciale Italiana provided a loan of €58m towards the project cost.