Located on the foot of the Gellert Hill, Gellért Hotel is an Art-Nouveau style hotel built between 1912 and 1918. For more than 80 years, Gellért Hotel is an important historical landmark in Budapest.
The construction of the imposing hotel building begins in 1912 after the design of the Hungarian architects Ármin Hegedűs, Artúr Sebestyén, and Izidor Sterk. Work on the hotel slowed due to World War I, and it did not open until September 1918, just as the war was ending and the Austro-Hungarian Empire was descending into chaos. The official inauguration was on 24 November 1918.
The hotel was built at the site of a thermal spring that was discovered in ancient times. The building has monumental facades, with imposing domed entrances. The main facade, facing the river, is dominated by a pyramidal dome. The facade facing Gellért Hill features a Byzantine-style dome and a massive arched portico decorated with sculpted reliefs created by Aladár Gárdos. The hotel was named for Saint Gellért (St. Gerard Sagredo) and witnessed some important events in Hungarian history. Just after a month after its opening, the hotel got caught up in the events of history, as in October 1918 it was requisitioned for military purposes during the “Aster Revolution”, and later served as the headquarters of the Regent Miklós Horthy after the fall of the Hungarian Soviet Republic.
On November 16, 1919, Horthy made a triumphal entry into Budapest astride a white horse at the head of the National Army and spoke to the large crowd gathered in front of the hotel, depicting the city of Budapest as the morally corrupt host to anti-national liberal and communist governments in the year since the end of the First World War. Once Hungary was established as an independent country, the hotel in its early years was so successful that it was expanded in 1927 with 60 more rooms and a wave pool.
World War II had severely damaged the building. The Danube wing burned out completely and the Gellért Hill wing partly. Reconstructions began in 1946 on the hillside and in 1957 on the riverside. Today’s rooms Duna, Márvány, Gobelin, the Tea Saloon as well as the Eszpresszó were built in 1960. Restoration of the Gellért Hill wing began in 1946, while work on the main Danube River wing began in 1957.
Restoration work was completed in 1962. Until the ’70s, Hotel Gellért represented the frontline of Hungarian tourism. The hotel trained exceptional staff and was a pioneer in numerous innovations in the industry. e of Hungarian tourism. The hotel trained exceptional staff and was a pioneer in numerous innovations in the industry. It was the first hotel in Hungary where guests could pay by their own countries’ currencies, airport taxis were first employed here and Gellért was also the first in putting mini-bars to the rooms. The hotel’s Brasserie Restaurant was the first catering unit to start Swiss plate service, too.
Today the bath and the hotel have different owners. Hotel Gellért is a member of the chain Danubius Hotels Group and operates under the Danubius Classic Collection brand, which guarantees special atmosphere and impeccable service. Gellért is one of the most frequented and most well-known touristic sites of Budapest.