Hilton Hotel, Budapest by Goddard Littlefair

Luxury interior designers Goddard Littlefair have completed the first phase of an extensive refurbishment of the Hilton Hotel, Budapest, encompassing the principal public areas – the reception, lounge, lobby bar and executive lounge, along with three sample bedroom treatments and linking corridor areas.

The hotel, which is part of the Danubius Hotels Group, is located on a stunning site at the centre of the Hungarian capital, directly alongside St Matthias Church. The new interior – representing the first full revamp of the hotel since 1977, when it was originally opened – brings a new light and elegant contemporaneity to the common parts via a palette of refined silvers and golds with accent colours, together with dark timber; brass inlays; black and white granite; a wide range of bespoke furniture and fabrics – a hallmark of Goddard Littlefair schemes – as well as a number of gorgeous art installations, specially-commissioned for the project from local Hungarian artists and specialist maker studios.

“From a business point of view,” Martin Goddard explains, “the existing hotel was mostly used by large tour parties from the States and the Far East and was a popular destination on the conference circuit. The brief was to maintain this strong appeal, but also to appeal to more transient leisure guests, who were increasing in numbers as the appeal of the Buda side of the city continued to grow for a new generation of tourists, thanks to a burgeoning new restaurant scene and a number of boutique hotels.”

The brief to Goddard Littlefair was to redesign the hotel completely, including all public areas (except for the ‘Icon’ restaurant, which had been refurbished just prior to commission). The works were to be phased, so that the hotel could stay open throughout. The first phase is now complete. Phase two is comprised of 136 bedrooms on the north side of the hotel, along with a new separate, lower ground floor entrance for group check-in, while a final phase will encompass the ballroom, gym, meeting rooms and the remaining 264 bedrooms on the hotel’s south side, together with the presidential suite.

Focus: reception and public areas
The new reception area was completely changed. The single monolithic desk has been replaced by three smaller desks, set over the right of the space on timber bases, with surrounds in antiqued black granite and frontispieces in halo-lit dark timber with a geometric-pattern gold metal inlay, along with white desk lamps on right-angled brass stands at each end. The wall behind reception is inlaid with a series of vertical panels in silvered glass, interspersed with larger feature panels directly behind each desk, which were hand-painted in an art nouveau style with a wisteria illustration by Hungarian specialists Rákosy Glass in an art nouveau style. The dark timber and gold metal combination is repeated in a plainer rectangular configuration for the wall treatment to the right hand side of the reception hall.

The reception space is lit by a series of large, triple-tiered, scallop-edged chandeliers, set into ceiling troughs. Flooring is in highly-polished white granite, with a thin frame surround in antiqued black granite, matching that of the desks, along with a taupe and fawn rug, bespoke-designed by Goddard Littlefair in a geometric pattern, located in the seating area to the front of the space, where the silvered glass wall panels are to be found again, along with a number of retail display units. The furniture here is a mix of three-seater sofas, armchairs and wing-back chairs, arranged around incidental tables.

“Pretty much every item of furniture the eye can see beyond the art installations is a bespoke Goddard Littlefair design,” said Martin Goddard. “That’s very much the Goddard Littlefair ethos and ensures that our interiors schemes not only look unique, but have that un-placeable quality we believe is a key element of luxury.”

The over-arching colour scheme for the public areas is made up of a neutral base with layers of gold and silver plus accent colours for different areas, ranging from blues and greens to mustards and pale purples, whilst the remaining material palette includes granite, dark timber, walnut and verre eglomisé. The colours in the reception are slightly more restrained, with punchier blues and plusher velvets used to distinguish the lounge area.

The lounge effectively forms a direct continuation of the reception and is located at the top left of the open-plan L-shaped entrance area. The stunning, double-height space is visually dominated by a striking gold and silver glass sculpture that hangs from the ceiling and is made up of dozens of individual glass pieces, designed by Hungarian artist Sándor Oláh and fabricated by local glass specialists Belight.

Hilton Hotel, Budapest by Goddard Littlefair