The Ritz-Carlton group has finally landed in Budapest. Its new home is a suitably grand pile – built just on the cusp of the First World War as the HQ for an Italian insurance company – that eventually became the Le Meridien. Now renovated into a suitably grand hotel with views of St Stephens Basilica and a stone’s throw from the Danube, the 200-room property features two centrepieces, both of them designed by the incredibly prolific London-based B3 Designers.
Deak St. Kitchen, named for the retail fashion strip on which it fronts, is a warm expansive space lined with antique mirrored walls, rose gold trim, walnut tables, leather sofas, patterned wallpaper and Hungarian timber floors. Here, the seasonal menu is unapologetically Hungarian with an emphasis on grilled meats and fish, paired with local wines and beers – an experience best enjoyed, especially at this time of the year, on the al fresco terrace. Interestingly, B3 also took charge of the restaurant’s branding to design even the logo and menu presentation.
Next door, just off the lobby, B3 has taken its aesthetic cues for Kupola Lounge from the classic stained glass domed ceiling from which dangles a huge crystal chandelier. Here, the mood is appropriately grand, the immensity of the space accentuated by the low-slung furniture and a long plush banquette that runs along the entire length of the room.