Wandering the narrow streets of Budapest, one often feels as strolling through a brilliantly written, colourful and rather decadent book. Baroque, Neoclassical, Romantic, Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Neo-Baroque and sometimes simply eclectic buildings are among the styles of many of the beautiful buildings that together form this distinct urban environment. Some have been restored, some remind one of wrinkled old faces that nevertheless bear traces of the expressions of their youth and exhibit flawless proportions. Budapest has endless fascinating streets, courtyards, and squares - some are dressed up, others tattered. Budapest, despite its air of the old world and stately facades, is still as much in an incessant state of change as any other city in Central Europe. Some things are excitingly experimental.
One of these is Brody House, which is a private club, an art gallery and a hotel rolled into one. At first it's actually not easy to find - situated in one structure in a row of impressive nineteenth-century buildings, Brody House's sign is subtle and the Italian cultural institute next door is easier to spot - it was once the Hungarian parliament, and the building in which Brody House is located was once the prime minister's residence. Once the parliament moved its current home on the bank of the Danube, in 1896, the building became the residence and place of practice for the gynecologist Dr. Vilmos Tauffer. It survived the Second World War and Socialism. The British solicitor Peter Grundberg and his partner William Clother took it under their wing a few years ago. They had worked in many cities around the world and, as Peter told anothertravelguide.com, were looking for a challenge - they "wanted to create something completely out of the typical corporate mould." Budapest seemed perfect for meeting this challenge - its location, architecture, atmosphere and possibilities seemed ideal.
Their company has three branches now - one devoted to organizing special events, a real estate and investment business, and Brody House, developed as a club and an inn, an epicentre for creative ideas, a meeting point, and a place for the exchange of ideas. It's open to club members as well as to anyone seeking a place to stay that is out of the ordinary and really quite special. One also needs to know how to hunt the place down, since it is intentionally not listed in most of the guides where one would tend to seek out accommodations. There are eight guest rooms, each of them completely unique. Each combines the old and the new like a masterfully composed narrative. Peter says that they wanted to create a place where staying is an adventure, but that they didn't want it to be too expensive of an adventure - prices begin at a mere 60 euros. Taking into account that the average size of a room is 30 square metres, that's actually a steal. They chose the furniture themselves, mixing designer items with pieces found among vintage goods in Budapest's flea markets. The walls bear works of art from their private collection, including some by local artists. The effect is that of being in someone's home. The walls themselves have patches of peeling paint, left there intentionally or, in places, scraped off on purpose to reveal the patina of past years and the textures of history. The wrinkles of time are exposed, merely lacquered for reasons of preservation. Laughing, Peter refers to the style of the place as "rough luxe," saying that they studiously avoided the stereotypical features of most luxury hotels. There are no marble bathrooms, no chocolates, and no weather reports by the pillow. When we arrived, Peter had just watched a music video that was set in Brody House - they themselves are the producers. That's just one of the stories that revolve around Brody House. It's definitely a place where one could have any number of adventures, being a hotel that draws strange and creative people from around the world - painters, musicians, directors and writers are frequent guests.
In its way, Brody House is a symbol of modern Budapest - though parts have been polished, much of the city is still rough luxe. It makes the city real. There is an unusual energy here, and there's the feeling that opening a door will lead you to other doors. Despite its density and intensity, Hungary's capital has succeeded in preserving something many a twenty-first century metropolis has lost - the rhythms of a promenade.
Price- from 60 euro
Brody Sandor utca 10
Keywords: hotel, Budapest