After a long journey from Berlin to Budapest, with a short stop in the lovely city of Prague, arriving at Hotel Palazzo Zichy, our residence for the next days of adventures in the city was the classical one: taking a cab from the international bus station. If I would have prepared better my travel homework I have discovered that there is a metro connection which takes around 15 minutes. In a way, it was not such a bad decision, as I had enough time to get in touch with a city I haven't visited in ten years. Although situated in an area that is getting only now more interest for tourists and local developers, the streets around Lorincz pap ter are leading to the main attractions in the city: the National Museum is within minutes of walk, and so is the Jewish quarter. The metro connections are also efficient.
Once I closed the door entrance to the hotel, a new world was ahead of me, introduced by the cozy game of lights: quietness and discretion, fresh air and mystery, smiling faces and efficient friendliness as the check-in procedures were faster than a beautiful dream. The next step was the entrance into our room bubble, designed simply yet with elegant taste.
When you know you will be on the road for weeks, changing cities and currencies, memorizing directions and addresses and trading languages every other day and note sure any more where your home is exactly, nothing makes you feel better than a personalized note welcoming you. Nearby, a plate with fresh fruits, plus some small squares of chocolate made in Italy: enough energy supplies to keep fit and refreshed till tomorrow. The hotel does not have a restaurant of its own, but for late arrivals, there is a big range of restaurants on the streets around serving Italian, Russian or Asian dishes till late in the evening.
Home slippers were waiting in the wooden closets, discretely hidden behind the sliding doors. I started the air condition - in Central Europe the summers are original trademark, with heat and hot temperature all round the day - and started to do a little bit of work. Fortunately, the Internet connection, complimentary gift for the guests, was very fast and I was able to finish all my work within one hour. On my desk, a detailed directory with information in English, French, Italian and German about various practical tips you need to make the best of your stay in Budapest.
The bathroom has branded products, pleasantly smelling the jasmine. Everything looks elegant yet with a lot of modernist touch. In a plain translation: quality Italian design fit to answer the basic needs of the various visitors of this 4-star boutique hotel.
Take, for instance, the bathroom. Wall papers reminding of silk bad covers from the modern palaces and a wooden floor in the shower space. At the first sight, it gives a certain feeling of frugality, but visiting such a great city, with so many sightseeing requests a Spartan time management.
The rooms are also provided with a mini bar - a bit disappointing at the first sight, but you can survive this feeling - with some basic products that will help you to survive the high hydration emergencies. There are also some Made in Hungary products, such as the classical Unicum.
While we were heading to the breakfast room the next day, we noticed the mysterious discretion of the hall, with what seem to be the typical wallpapers in a very chic black variant. The numbers of the rooms are situated on the upper left side of the entrance. At the beginning, you can get a bit lost, especially if you have a predisposition for that - as I do - but after a while one can get used with the right directions around the simple maze from each floor.
The breakfast space is situated at the ground level, in the cubicle bordered by glass that delineate the middle of the lobby. A transparent glass square outlines some old stones from the original building creating the feeling of surprise and unexpected adventure. As the hotel has only 80 rooms, the space is relatively small, and if you go to eat after 8.30, there is a bit of hustle around and an entire Babel of languages. But there is a reason to rush for: the diversity of breads and cheese, a troubling selection of pastry, the fresh salads and the fish, as well as the delicious coffee - the lucky heritage of the Turkish presence in the area.
During my stay, I made a fixation for the jams: silky, fresh and natural, work of decades of traditional art, fit to match the black breads and other simple mouthwatering pastries. The customer service is not only friendly, but ready to help, as I notice often in the case of families with children trying to find the best chairs for their very small ones or when hot milk was especially prepared for them. There are a couple of rooms - including with connection that can turn them into parts of a bigger appartment - that suit the needs of family with children and a child under 12 years can be hosted free of charge.
The guests arriving at the hotel are either on vacation or on a short visit for checking the local business opportunities. In the lobby, one can find small discrete places where you can start a warm-up discussion and the offer of Internet free of charge is also available here. The busiest time for the hotel is between May and September, with most guests originally from Italy, Germany, Austria and the UK. The personal was always helpful, giving me the right insights for finding my way through the city or helping me with other basic requests.
Coffee and tea are available free of charge in the lobby till 17 o'clock every day. There is also a small wellness area for those keen to keep up with their physical training during the holiday time, that can also be used free of charge by the guests. For the massage room, there is necessary an appointment in advance.
One of the first boutique hotels in Budapest, Hotel Palazzo Zichy was built in the 19th century, and used to be the residence of Nandor Zichy, an educated local noble. Going through serious renovation under the Italian management, it succeeded to harmonize the classical style of the Hungarian architecture to the boldness of the Italian elegance.
The feeling of home was added by the care to add to every cold corner of the building into a personalized element that invites you to comfort and relaxation.
Especially if you stay there for more than one day, this feeling will conquer you easily and when we were in the rush to leave for new travel adventures, we felt the nostalgia of saying 'good bye' to a new friend. Maybe we should be ready to drop a 'hello' soon!
For more images from this 4-star boutique hotel, have a look at the dedicated Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/hotel-palazzo-zichy-budapest/
Disclaimer: I was offered a free stayed at Hotel Palazzo Zichy during my visit to Budapest, but the opinions are, as usual, my own.