Hilton Hotel, Budapest completes first phase of extensive refurbishment
The Hilton Hotel, Budapest has recently completed its first phase of an extensive refurbishment with luxury interior designers Goddard Littlefair at the helm. The aim was to encompasses the principal public areas – the reception, lounge, lobby bar and executive lounge, along with three sample bedroom treatments and linking corridor areas.
The hotel, which is part of the Danubius Hotels Group, is located on a stunning site at the centre of the Hungarian capital, directly alongside St Matthias Church. The new interior – representing the first full revamp of the hotel since 1977, when it was originally opened – brings a new light and elegant contemporaneity to the common parts via a palette of refined silvers and golds with accent colours, together with dark timber; brass inlays; black and white granite; a wide range of bespoke furniture and fabrics – a hallmark of Goddard Littlefair schemes – as well as a number of stunning art installations, specially- commissioned for the project from local Hungarian artists and specialist maker studios.
“Budapest is a stunning city and one I have been lucky enough to work in on several occasions,” commented Goddard Littlefair Director and Co-founder Martin Goddard. “Being able to work here once again has made this project a real pleasure. It was also very professionally satisfying; it’s rare to get a chance to help accomplish a design transformation on this scale of such a premier European hotel.”
The brief to Goddard Littlefair was to redesign the hotel completely, including all public areas (except for the ‘Icon’ restaurant, which had been refurbished just prior to commission). The works were to be phased, so that the hotel could stay open throughout. The first phase is now complete. Phase two, to complete later this spring, is comprised of 136 bedrooms on the north side of the hotel, along with a new separate, lower ground floor entrance for group check-in, whilst a final phase will encompass the ballroom, gym, meeting rooms and the remaining 264 bedrooms on the hotel’s south side, together with the presidential suite.
“We spent considerable time at the beginning of the project ensuring that we understood both the client vision and the existing and potential customer demographic,” commented Martin Goddard. “We knew the client was keen to express strong links to the city itself, so whilst the overall concept and positioning is contemporary classic, with a luxury, layered treatment, we also sought to incorporate the work of local artists and makers throughout to ensure we created a uniquely Budapest feel, integrated with the quality touchpoints that reassure international customers they are in safe Hilton hands.”
Although the original location of the main entrance has been maintained, the space-planning of the new reception area was completely changed. To prevent bottle-necks, the single monolithic desk which previously sat directly opposite the entrance has been replaced by three smaller desks, set over the right of the space on timber bases, with surrounds in antiqued black granite and frontispieces in halo-lit dark timber with a geometric-pattern gold metal inlay, along with white desk lamps on right-angled brass stands at each end. The wall behind reception is inlaid with a series of vertical panels in silvered glass, interspersed with larger feature panels directly behind each desk, which were hand-painted in an art nouveau style with a wisteria illustration by Hungarian specialists Rákosy Glass in an art nouveau style. The dark timber and gold metal combination is repeated in a plainer rectangular configuration for the wall treatment to the right hand side of the reception hall.
The reception space is lit by a series of large, triple-tiered, scallop-edged chandeliers, set into ceiling troughs. Flooring is in highly-polished white granite, with a thin frame surround in antiqued black granite, matching that of the desks, along with a taupe and fawn rug, bespoke-designed by Goddard Littlefair in a geometric pattern, located in the seating area to the front of the space, where the silvered glass wall panels are to be found again, along with a number of retail display units. The furniture here is a mix of 3-seater sofas, armchairs and wing-back chairs, arranged around incidental tables.
“Pretty much every item of furniture the eye can see beyond the art installations is a bespoke Goddard Littlefair design,” explained the project’s lead designer and Goddard Littlefair Associate Kristy Unger. “That’s very much the Goddard Littlefair ethos and ensures that our interiors schemes not only look unique, but have that un-placeable quality we believe is a key element of luxury.”
The over-arching colour scheme for the public areas is made up of a neutral base with layers of gold and silver plus accent colours for different areas, ranging from blues and greens to mustards and pale purples, whilst the remaining material palette includes granite, dark timber, walnut and verre eglomisé. The colours in the reception are slightly more restrained, with punchier blues and plusher velvets used to distinguish the lounge area.
For the mock-up bedrooms, the approach was to create a classic modern look that took on the colours of the public space interiors palette, but used them in a simple, elegant and slightly softer way. Flooring is in timber-effect ceramic, along with carpeted areas, whilst fabric panels are used for the bed headboard and the television wall. Mirrors reflect light back into the space, which also features dark timber and faux leather wall panels, with doors in a textured timber-effect laminate. Oval bedside tables with wall lamps are bracketed to the walls with an antique metal effect around the top and real metal edges around the joinery work.
The bathroom treatment includes stone and ceramic walls with paint above and a granite-topped vanity unit. The entire wall behind the vanity unit is mirrored and a feature, halo-lit metal framed mirror above.
The approach corridor was also part of the bedroom scheme, with new carpets and artwork.
“We know our guests want extraordinary public spaces that still feel like home and have real cosmopolitan flair,” said Zoltan Arvai, General Manager, Hilton Hotel, Budapest, adding “I feel absolutely passionate about the new designs inspired by Goddard Littlefair and Hilton Worldwide.”