As soon as I stepped outside Keleti pályaudvar, Budapest main train station, I sort of understood why Wes Anderson named his fictional hotel and film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Even though the hotel is not real, Budapest has a lot of hotel buildings with beautiful façade and grand exteriors just like the one in the movie. A number of new chain hotels renovated the interior of their buildings with a modern style while keeping the exteriors classic, maintaining the city’s authenticy.
After the Oscar and Golden Globe winner came out, a lot of travel bloggers and websites came up with their own list of what they considered as “the real grand Budapest hotel”. For example, Four Seasons Hotel at Gresham Palace near the Danube River. Or the iconic Hotel Gellert that’s famous for its beautiful thermal bath.
But for us, the title of grand Budapest hotel belongs to Boscolo Budapest Hotel. Situated at Grand Boulevard, at first glance this luxury hotel didn’t look as big as the other hotels, but it was really a work of art. Statues and ornaments on the front side of the building made Boscolo look like an elegant cathedral standing out proudly in the city.
Boscolo is home to New York Kavehaz (Hungarian for café), which is said to be the most beautiful café in the world. And it’s no exaggeration. As soon as I stepped inside the café on the hotel’s ground floor on the left side of the main entrance, we were floored by the high walls and ceilings that were decorated in gold fresco. This place looked more like a place where a king drinks his afternoon tea, than a regular café.
We ordered hot chocolate with cream and pistachio from a waiter in black-and-white uniform, and looked around us. Even though super sophisticated, the atmosphere in New York Café was very relax. The guests came in a group of 2 or 3, and they dressed up normally, not too extravagant. In front of us sat a middle age couple who we guessed just came from an opera or a classical concert. They ate in silence while throwing smiles at each other.