After a planning phase of six months, the reconstruction of the ground floor in Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest started in November of last year and finished, right on schedule, at the end of March 2013.
“The brand new ground floor fully embraces the four pillars of the Kempinski philosophy: beauty, gourmet, culture and savoir-vivre, and the gastronomy concepts are set to make a mark in the local gastronomy scene”, says Emile Bootsma, General Manager of Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest. “Whilst the main lobby, Living Room and Blue Fox The Bar demonstrate the full cosmopolitan elegance of the Kempinski brand complemented by local references and art, the ÉS Bisztró will be introduced as a local, down-to-earth restaurant enhanced with Kempinski details, such as the new Kempinski breakfast. I can proudly say that the entire ground floor has been converted from merely a lobby and reception area into a true lifestyle and gastronomy hub, a place where you incidentally also happen to check-in.”
This was the first major refurbishment of the hotel’s approximately 3,000 sqm of public areas since Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest originally opened in 1992. Designed by a renowned Hungarian architect, Dr József Finta, the hotel was a significant symbol of Budapest’s re-emergence on the European stage. The aim of the reconstruction was to give a new life and distinction to the building in a way that would meet the expectations of luxury hotel guests in the 21st century.
The impressive lobby, with its soaring nine-metre-high glazed ceiling, has been dramatically transformed into a glowing expanse that amplifies its scale and brings together the existing shapes and levels. The lobby has become a harmonious space that flows from the main porte cochère to reception and offers views through the Living Room and the ÉS Bisztró to Fashion Street.
The two columns which dominate the internal view on arrival have been redesigned into magnificent works of art; their new polished plaster surfaces glimmer in the light.
Key to re-planning of the lobby was the replacement of the staircase leading up to the first floor’s function and meeting rooms. A modern interpretation of the conventional grand staircase is now one of the first elements that greets guests upon arrival – a magnificent staircase which curves around the edge of the lobby and is as much a work of art as it is a functional stairway. Constructed in an elegant brown stone against a glazed-over Crystalux wall, its decorative and perforated metal balustrade, which is reminiscent of the Art Nouveau styling for which Budapest is famed, sweeps up and wraps around the first floor where it looks over the lobby atrium.
Reception is clearly glimpsed through the portal in the form of elegant padded leather desks which strike a note of human scale within this vast area. A specially commissioned bronze abstract, found behind the main reception area, depicts Budapest spread out along the Danube.
Blue Fox The Bar
Blue Fox The Bar is a hotspot for sophisticated pre- and post-dinner drinks in the city. It is a classic yet very cosmopolitan bar with fresh accents in both its drinks and its style. The dark walnut timber of the floor and tables, together with the rich upholstery and the seating, creates an intimate and clubby ambience while mirrored nooks and columns as well as glass play with reflections around the space. The bar is surrounded by a specially-designed cobalt blue acrylic material with inset mesh, suggestive of a soda siphon. It is an homage to the Hungarian Ányos Jedlik, who in 1829 published his work regarding the production of soda-water and the soda-water bottle. A new addition will soon offer a street entrance and a terrace to the Erzsébet tér.
The Living Room is very much inspired by the local “Kaffeehaus” culture, with great coffees, fine teas, a cake selection and strictly rosé-only champagne. It is the living room for Budapest and for those who love Budapest … an urban oasis in the middle of our bustling ground floor where guests can relax in style. Located within the central atrium, the sunken Living Room is the first space within the redesigned public spaces as they flow from the portal. A stand-out feature is the new patisserie counter, distinguished by the back-lit coloured glass behind it and its display of tempting cakes, as well as the aroma of warming pastries emanating from its oven. This is a deeply comfortable area and a complete contrast to the theatricality of the lobby, where guests can sink into comfortable sofas or high-back armchairs, read books and relax near the fire.
ÉS means “and”, as opposed to “or”, in Hungarian, and it is all about combining opposites while also promoting natural connections. It is a down-to-earth eatery with a design and concept inspired by the French brasserie and serves authentic Hungarian and Viennese cuisine. A partnership with local restaurateur Roy Zsidai has been established to help staff learn from the best and become more credible and authentic as a local restaurant.
The restaurant has been redesigned to offer an ambience similar to a large farmhouse kitchen or a homely “gasthaus” dining room. The floor is made of rustic timber, simple white tiles clad the walls and the hanging metal ceiling lights are a modern take on traditional central European café lighting. However, the magnificent bevelled mirror screen designed in three curved parts, as well as the patterned tin ceiling tiles, are far more urbane. The restaurant has been carefully planned to break down into three areas during less busy times and the glass screen serves to obscure the restaurant from view for those on the street. As a result, the front of the restaurant is more connected with the terrace and street outside than with the hotel behind, and becomes more attractive for passers-by.
By removing the shopping arcade, what was previously only a circulation space is now reinvented as a destination in its own right - a chic and welcoming lounge where guests will go to see and be seen. The atmosphere changes completely between morning, when the Promenade has the quality of a conservatory bathed in the direct sunlight that shines through the atrium’s glazed roof, and the evening when the space becomes full of mood and the design is shown to its dramatic effect.The colour palette is natural and timeless: tan leather sofas, warm walnut panelling on the columns and ceiling, bronze tables and alcoves clad in honey-toned, deep-stitched Alcantara are softly washed by down-lighters. The seating areas are beautifully defined by inset mosaic “rugs”, which fan out to meet the curve of the space. The lighting is low and atmospheric.
Opened in 2010, Nobu Budapest is the first central European member of Nobu's worldwide dining empire.
It is located in the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus and has street as well as lobby access. Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa's new style of Japanese cuisine remains one of the most sought-after culinary experiences in the world. The Nobu Restaurant and Bar completes the ground floor’s culinary portfolio.
“Our aim has been to impart a renewed personality to the hotel. By working with the scale and volume of the existing building, it has been possible to celebrate its form while creating spaces that will respond to the varying desires of guests through day and evening, on business or at leisure, and will leave a unique and lasting impression upon them all.” Maria Vafiadis, Founder and Managing Director, MKV Design
About MKV Design
MKV Design is a greatly respected, award-winning interior architecture and design company which specialises in hotels, resorts, spas and residential work. Founded in London by Maria Vafiadis in 2000, the practice creates individual interiors inspired by the culture and nature of the location, by the travels of the team and by the artisans with whom they work. MKV relishes opportunities to challenge the merely conventional and to refine the spirit of luxury, achieving unforgettable destinations and outstanding hotels that prove themselves through the test of time. Current and recent projects include The Metropol Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Belgrade; Royal Savoy, Lausanne; Grand Residences, Burgenstock; Hotel Schweizerhof, Bern; Sheraton Park Lane, London; Sheraton Grand, Edinburgh; a new hotel in central London; Emirates Pearl, Abu Dhabi; Costa Navarino – The Romanos, A Luxury Collection Resort, the Westin, Anazoe Spa, Inbi restaurant and the Agora. www.mkvdesign.com
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The first Hungarian member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest established and continues to re-invent international luxury, in its outfitting as well as its service. In its boldly contemporary, generously spacious building in the very heart of Budapest, it offers 326 splendid rooms and 33 chic suites. The ÉS Bisztró serves authentic Hungarian and Viennese cuisine. From April through October, the outdoors terrace offers light bites and drinks on Fashion Street. Central and Eastern Europe’s first Nobu restaurant opened in the hotel in 2010. The Kempinski Corvinus also operates the Kempinski Spa and the unique Kempinski Gallery, which specialises in modern Hungarian art, of which the hotel owns a collection.
Created in 1897, Kempinski Hotels is Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group. Kempinski’s rich heritage of impeccable personal service and superb hospitality is complemented by the exclusivity and individuality of its properties. Kempinski now comprises a portfolio of 76 five-star hotels in 30 countries and continues to add new properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Each one reflects the strength and success of the Kempinski brand without losing sight of its heritage. The portfolio comprises historic landmark properties, award-winning urban lifestyle hotels, outstanding resorts, and prestigious residences. Each one is imbued with the quality guests have come to expect from Kempinski while embracing the cultural traditions of its location. Kempinski is a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotels.