For over a century, Matild Palace has provided Budapest’s residents and visitors with an iconic place to socialize, full of splendor, elegance, and alluring stories. From its golden age days in the early 20th century to the present day, Matild Palace has been a place where people come together to be seen and find solace in its unique atmosphere.
Spanning two World Wars and a revolution, this is the incredible journey of Matild Palace’s restoration: from the Budapest Memoirs to the opening of Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest in 2021.
opening in 1902
The journey of Matild Palace back in time starts during the Belle Époque era, where the vision of one extraordinary woman, Her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Klotild of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, came to life in the form of two magnificent palaces mirroring each other, also know as Klotild Palaces. This historical gem was crafted to serve as the social hub of the city, a place where people could gather and revel in the opulence of the era.
The Duchess’s vision was brought to life by the famous architects Kálmán Giergl and Flóris Korb, who created two breathtaking English Baroque palaces on either side of the road. The palaces acted as a gateway to those entering the ‘Pest’ side of the city, greeting them with their awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur.
But it wasn’t just the design of the palaces that set them apart. The pioneering techniques used in their construction, such as the core iron structure adorned with beautifully crafted carved stone, were a testament to the architectural brilliance of the time. The legendary Otis Elevator Company even installed the very first elevator system in Hungary within the Matild Palace.
The palace was truly a masterpiece of Hungarian craftsmanship, with renowned artists and manufacturers lending their talents to its creation. Glass windows made in the workshop of the famous Hungarian glass artist Miksa Róth, wrought-iron works created by Gyula Jungfer, and ceramic tiles supplied by the world-renowned Pécs-based Zsolnay manufacture all came together to create this incredible piece of history.
The Matild Palace is a celebration of the past, a testament to the creativity and innovation of the Belle Époque era. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the opulence and grandeur of a bygone era, and where the legacy of Hungarian craftsmanship and ground-breaking architecture lives on.
a beacon of creativity and glamour
Matild Palace is not just a building, but a vibrant center of culture and creativity that has stood the test of time. From its ornate structure to its bustling cafes, shops, and galleries, Matild Palace has been a hub of activity and inspiration for generations.
The legendary Belvárosi Kávéház, located within the palace, was a beacon of creativity during the Belle Époque era. Writers, artists, and thinkers flocked to the cafe to partake in the infamous ‘café culture’, where ideas and inspiration flowed as freely as the coffee. Among them was Gyula Krúdy, one of Hungary’s most renowned writers, who found the perfect setting to create his most notable work, the symbolically reimagined figure, Sindbad.
Even after the devastation of the 1st World War, the coffee house life continued to flourish within Matild Palace, and the Belvárosi Kávéház was busier than ever before. This iconic café was not just for the literary or artistic elite, but a democratic meeting point for all. Lawyers, judges, military officers, scientists, salesmen, public servants, and workers of all kinds were welcomed with open arms, adding to the vibrant energy that permeated the palace.
It’s easy to see why Matild Palace has stood the test of time, and continues to inspire and delight visitors to this day. It’s a place where people from all walks of life come together to share in the joys of creativity and community.
EMERGING FROM THE ASHES OF THE 2ND WORLD WAR
After the devastation of the 2nd World War and the siege of Budapest, hope was in short supply. But amidst the rubble and ruins, a beacon of light shone through in the form of Matild Palace’s café. It was the very first business in the capital to reopen its doors to the public, sending a strong message of resilience and perseverance to the people of the city.
In those challenging times, the reopening of Matild Palace’s café was more than just a business decision. It was a symbol of a new beginning, a promise of hope and renewal for the people of Budapest. The café’s doors swung open, and life began to flow once again. The palace became a hub of activity, a gathering place for people to come together and find comfort in one another’s company.
Although the building had suffered significant damage during the war, the restoration of Matild Palace began in the 1950s. It was a labor of love, a testament to the enduring spirit of the people of Budapest. Today, Matild Palace stands tall, a testament to the resilience and strength of a city that has overcome adversity time and time again.
SHARE IN THE JOY OF FRIENDSHIP AND CONNECTION
Matild Palace has long been revered as Budapest’s premier destination for social gatherings, a place where creatives and intellectuals came to exchange ideas and forge new connections.
Even in the face of difficult times, the spirit of Matild Palace endured, and after years of change, it was finally restored to its former glory in 1956, coinciding with the Hungarian Revolution.
Once again, the café became a hub of activity, a place where people could come together and share in the vibrancy of the city. The legacy of Matild Palace continued to evolve and flourish over the years, as it once again became a popular venue for entertainment, showcasing daily live music and shows.
In 1977, as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and a historic treasure, Matild Palace has been declared a listed building and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
THE TIME OF UTMOST GLAMOUR
In 1984, Matild Palace entered a new era of glamour and excitement.
Following extensive refurbishment, the iconic Belvárosi Kávéház reopened its doors with a new name, Lidó, and a new range of offerings. It became more than just a café, providing exclusive entertainment options that were truly enchanting. The lunchtime folklore show, complete with gypsy music, was a spectacle to behold. In the afternoons, it transformed into a traditional coffee house, with smooth, live jazz music that captivated the senses.
As night descended, the Lidó became a hotbed of nightlife, with dazzling revue shows, live performances from popular singers and bands, dancers, acrobats, and illusionists.
This was a time of glitter and glamour, where anything was possible and the possibilities were endless.
AFTER THE MILLENNIUM
As we entered the new millennium, Matild Palace continued to evolve and adapt to the changing times. Lidó took on new forms, first as a disco club where music and performances lit up the night, and later as a stylish casino that offered a taste of luxury and excitement.
But it was in 2017 that the most remarkable transformation took place. The grand building underwent an ambitious restoration and preservation effort, culminating in a breathtaking rebirth as the Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest.
The restoration process was meticulous, with great care taken to preserve the building’s historical significance and grandeur, while also incorporating modern amenities and design elements that would elevate it to the pinnacle of luxury hospitality. Today, the Matild Palace stands as a shining example of the timeless beauty and enduring spirit of Budapest, welcoming guests from around the world to experience the city’s rich cultural heritage in unparalleled style and comfort.