World-renowned interior designer Maria Vafiadis and her team at MKV Design have transformed the iconic imperial palace, offering a balance of historic charm and effortless contemporary design.
Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest, due to open in June, has undergone a stunning five-year transformation to bring the palace back to its former glory and reinvent the building to become a luxury hotel. Elevated through interiors designed by the award-winning MKV Design, led by studio founder Maria Katsarou Vafiadis, the property’s interior aesthetics celebrate the building’s rich heritage, rooted in the culture and high society of Budapest, while crafting a new, modern destination for locals and global explorers alike.
“Matild Palace represents the spirit of Budapest, as framed by the narrative of its storied history, culture, architecture and cuisine.” said Candice D’Cruz, Vice President – Luxury Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “The property’s thoughtfully crafted design has seen the merging of tradition and modernity across all aspects of the hotel, culinary offerings and service. Matild Palace is set to become a destination in the city once again and we look forward to welcoming guests to enjoy unparalleled luxury in this charming destination.”
Completed in 1902, the palace was a revolutionary building at the turn of the century and remains one of the most recognisable buildings in Budapest. The property is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of two buildings commissioned by Her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Klotild of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Standing as a gateway to the famous Elisabeth Bridge, the ornate structure originally housed cafes, shops, and galleries along with residential apartments on the floors above.
“Leading the interior design for Matild Palace project was a perfect opportunity for MKV to bring our company values to life, as they are so aligned with The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts’ brand values” said Maria Vafiadis, Founder and Managing Director of MKV Design. “The compelling design narrative, rooted in local culture, that we created for this historical palace is infused in every element of the project. Our design invites guests on a journey of discovery, which is an important element of a hotel experience.”
The hotel's truly unique design communicates a strong narrative taking guests on an enchanting journey through time, beginning at the palace doors. The historical entrance passage has been further enhanced with magnificent pendant lights made up of individual porcelain pieces in a homage to traditional Zsolnay Hungarian art. Throughout the property, a thoughtful colour palette of teal, gold, and copper reflects the hues of iconic Budapest buildings and their signature roofscapes.
The main lobby and reception offer a sense of serenity and escapism from the city with intricate design and detailing across the windows shielding the view of the city’s busy streets as guests check-in. In the lobby you will find a collection of historic photos, offering insight into Budapest’s history and the original palace, displayed on a wall around a specially commissioned portrait of The Duchess. In the centre of the space, a bespoke elegant chandelier plays tribute to a fine piece of jewellery once handed down to The Duchess through many generations of the Habsburg family.
Signature Guestrooms and Suites
The hotel will offer an exceptional choice of 111 guestrooms and 19 suites, the majority of which provide stunning views across the entire city. The property has a choice of four guestroom categories, with each taking inspiration from The Duchess’ interests and exuberant lifestyle and early 20th century Budapest, allowing the design and interiors to remain authentic to the building’s history.
Most guestrooms display soaring ceilings and feature unique detailing and craftsmanship with hints of Art Nouveau. Nods to traditional Hungarian culture can be seen throughout with delicately handcrafted headboards, Hungarian style fishbone design parquet floors, embroidered cushions, and elegant crystal lamps.
Lavish spa-style bathrooms inspired by the traditional thermal baths of Hungary feature exclusively designed Italian cast bathtubs and rain showers, clad in turquoise glass mosaic complete with gold accents. Rich white marble slabs cover the walls and floors around the vanity area which comprise double sinks, gold detailing and heated flooring offering a divine bathing experience.
Located at the rooftop of the property, the Loft Guestrooms provide endless views either across the city or the Danube River through large, sloping windows. The eclectic mix of both a contemporary modern design with colourful vintage furnishings and art embodies the eye of a creative and is a nod to The Duchess’s artisan friends who used to frequent the palace.
Crowning the palace with its fifth-floor location, The Crown Tower Suite is split across three floors and is the first suite in Hungary to come with a 48-metre-high dedicated tower boasting 360-degree views of the city. The unique design of the tower in which the room resides is inspired by the crown of Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria, offering 92 square metres of space and comes complete with a stunning marble bathroom.
The one-of-a-kind Maria Klotid Royal Suite is imagined as the Duchess’s private apartment. It features a spacious master bedroom, bathroom, living room and separate study, decorated with a mix of modern and historical furniture. Donned with elegant chandeliers, handmade glass mosaics, and parquet floors, the space is a celebration of craftsmanship in the region. For those requiring extra space, two additional rooms can be connected to create a three-bedroom apartment.
A True Epicurean Destination
A celebration of the local past and the hotel's bright future, Matild Palace introduces a new era of entertainment and gastronomy to the city with its offering of world-class dining venues. Spago by Wolfgang Puck Budapest will offer a contemporary design complete with a stunning lounge, and Matild Café & Cabaret - scheduled to open in September – will be the reimagination of one of the finest and most historic European Coffee houses, the Belvárosi Kávéház, which has been a much-loved institution of Budapest’s urban history, established in 1901.
Hidden amongst Budapest’s famed roofscape, with a view towards the Elisabeth Bridge, Danube River, and Gellért Hill, The Duchess will be a secret liquor library. Its design is inspired by the Archduchess Maria Klotild, who in 1884 commissioned the Matild Palace to include a clandestine rooftop section as a rendezvous for the Decadence Movement. The chic bar is accessed through a hidden entrance of private elevators and transports guests to another world through its decadent story of glamour and gastronomy.
Wellness and Relaxation
Swan Spa at Matild Palace features a Hungarian-influenced spa experience with traditional thermal therapy and Hammam rituals designed to awaken the senses. Inspired by the Danube River swan, the spa’s design offers a tranquil oasis with soft white walls, gold detailing and white marble floors. For those looking to keep active, there is a fully equipped state-of-the-art gym to enjoy.
About MKV Design
MKV Design is an internationally admired, award-winning interior architecture and design practice specialising in the hospitality sector. Founded in London by Maria Vafiadis two decades ago, the company is recognised for its authentic design which celebrates the location of each project, bringing this into the interiors in a considered manner. Skilful space planning, use of the finest new and traditional materials, layers of texture, original pieces by artisans and artists and the seamless integration of the latest technology are all signatures of an MKV project. The design team relishes opportunities to refine the spirit of luxury, creating unforgettable destinations, outstanding hotels, and dream homes where each space makes perfect sense yet goes beyond the expected.
About Matild Palace
Due to this month, Matild Palace is joining The Luxury Collection, Marriott Bonvoy’s celebrated brand, and it’s anticipated to be the brand’s 120th hotel opening. Commissioned by the forward-thinking Arch Duchess of Austria and completed in 1902, the Palace offers a distinctive ambiance representative of its Hungarian heritage, which runs beautifully through its core and is unmistakable from the moment guests step in through the front doors. The property has undergone an extensive renovation and restoration by award-winning MKV Design, which celebrates a charming, contemporary style with a nod to the property’s past narrative. Today, the hotel is committed to inspiring guests with its rich history, culture, and epicurean excellence. This iconic palace, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, will offer 111 guestrooms and 19 suites. The property also comes complete with an exclusive rooftop liqueur garden with magnificent views of the city, a Hungarian thermal bath inspired spa, and three unique dining concepts created through a culinary partnership with world-renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck. Located in the heart of Budapest and just a stone’s throw from the Danube, Matild Palace combines luxurious surroundings with authentic experiences and serves as the most spectacular gateway to exploring the magic of Budapest.