Danubius Hotel Gellért Budapest
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"Art-nouveau extravagance – the world’s most famous spa"
Danubius Hotel Gellért

Danubius Hotel Gellért

Szent Gellért tér 1., 1111 Budapest, Hungary, Phone: +36-1-889-5500, E-mail: gellert.reservation@danubiushotels.com
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Danubius Hotel Gellért - History of the Gellért

Danubius Hotel Gellért is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Hungary. Set in picturesque surroundings, it lies on the bank of the Danube at the foot of Gellért Hill making its location exceptionally advantageous. The easily accessible, downtown area is just across the beautiful Szabadság (Liberty) Bridge.

Bishop St. Gellért

Encyclopedias, travel and history books, as well as prayer-books commemorate the bishop who suffered martyrdom in 1046 AD. Gellért Hill and the hotel was named after him. Since 1904, the bishop’s statue has overlooked Erzsébet Bridge from above the well-known waterfall.

He was born to a rich family around 980 AD in Venice, Italy. The Benedictine monk obtained great knowledge in the sciences of the time. According to some sources, he was bound for the Holy Land, when accepting the invitation from a Hungarian Benedictine he decided to stay here. Other sources claim that he was invited by King Stephan I to facilitate the country's conversion to Christianity. Later, he became the mentor of the king’s son, Prince Imre. In 1030, then as bishop of Marosvár (Csanád), he founded the Cathedral and Monastery there. After the death of Stephan in 1038, Gellért lived a retired life. Legend has it that pagan Hungarians revolting against the institution of Christianity locked him up in a barrel and threw him off the - at that time - Kelen Hill into the Danube. Along with Stephan and Imre, Gellért was canonized in 1083.

Gellért Hill

Gellért Hill is one of Budapest’s most commonly known sights, offering spectacular views over the capital.  The 778-feet high hill appealing to hikers and rich in both history and natural habitat is located in the 11th District. Often referred to as the ’Gem of Budapest’, the hill and the adjoining areas of natural preservation are parts of the Unesco World Heritage.

The Citadella, which is an important historical and tourist site for Hungary, is also to be found here. The fortress was built between 1850 and 1854, after the repression of the Hungarian revolution against Habsburg rule in 1849. Construction was ordered by Haynau, an Austrian general, to provide oversight to the potentially uprising Hungarians. The Statue of Liberty by sculptor Zsigmond Kisfaludy Stróbl commemorates the end of the Nazi rule and the ’liberation’ of Hungary by the Red Army.

Gellért Hill is home to a great number of natural values. It has geological significance, as tectonic lines at its foot are responsible for thermal water springs found throughout Buda, such as the Árpád, Rákóczi and Mátyás springs. Caves in Gellért Hill are subject to national preservation, including Cave Iván and its chapel, as well as the spring caves of the Gellért and Rudas baths.

Saint Gellért Cave Chapel is a national sanctuary. It consists of two parts: the ancient upper cave (Iván Cave or Lourdes Cave) and the lower artificial caves found further inside the mountain. The temperature remains 21°C. year round. The Cave Chapel was built inside the natural caves by the only Hungarian-founded order, Pálos (Order of St. Paul, the First Hermit). It was turned into a church in 1926 by Kálmán Lux and was designed after the Lourdes Cave. By the end of the 1950’s, the communist regime dismissed the Paulian order and walled up the entrance. Later, the temple was used as an observation site for karst topography, while the cloister served as a dorm for students of the Hungarian State Ballet Institute. The complex was reopened on 27 August 1989. The cloister can be accessed through the St. Stephan Chapel. Fretworks decorating the walls were carved by Béla Ferenc. The most valuable artifact of the Paulian order is also kept here: the shinbone of St. Paul the First Hermit. The altar is from the Zsolnay factory in Pécs.

Gellért Hotel and Spa

We know little about the bathing culture of the ancient Hungarians. According to some chronicles, the thermal springs of Buda were recognized by the kings of the Árpád dynasty (1000-1301). Data from 1178 implies that the Johannite Order established a hospital by the foot of Gellért Hill. The bathing culture in Buda flourished during the Turkish era. The bath was called Adzik Ilidza, or Open Spa in Turkish. Other sources refer to the site as Aga’s Bath or the Spa of Virgins.

After the Turks were expelled from the country, the bath had many different owners. In a German travel book from 1827, it is mentioned that there were accommodations built next to the spa and later in 1832 constructions of a larger hotel and bath began.

In the 19th century it was referred to as Sárosfürdő, and was considered a pleasant bath and hotel. Its name ’Muddy Spa’ comes from its exceptionally healthy mud, exceeding all other springs in quality. Due to its popularity, the mud reserves of Sárosfürdő were depleted.

In 1894, the construction of Szabadság Bridge, along with the reconstruction of Gellért Square, was under way. The building of St. Gellért Hotel and Spa started in 1911, but WWI delayed the works. The hotel, built in the Art Nouveau style of the palace-hotels of the turn of the century, was finally opened in September 1918.



The traditional, one century-old hotel is still a symbol of Budapest. The building was built by Ármin Hegedűs, Artúr Sebestyén and Izidor Sterk, their style greatly influenced by the works of Ödön Lechner. The characteristic entrance is decorated by reliefs by Aladár Gárdos, while the main entrance to the bath holds grand statues representing the process of healing by József Róna.

When the four-storey hotel opened, it had only 176 rooms. All suites had bathrooms, with the supply of both mineral and thermal waters.

Soon after the inauguration of St. Gellért Hotel and Spa, the so-called Aster Revolution broke out and the building was utilized for military purposes. Later, consolidation of the political and societal situation enabled the general public to use the hotel and bath for its original function again. The hotel quickly became a hub for social life thanks to its grand interiors, terraces and pools. In October, 1921 the International Convention of Hoteliers was held here. The guestbook was signed by famous individuals. Along with the Governor of Hungary and government officials, European royal families’ dukes, duchesses, mayors, maharajas, poets, writers, musicians, and aristocrats all stayed in the Gellért. Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, also spent her honeymoon here.

In 1927, the outdoor wave pool was built by Artúr Sebestyén and in the same year 60 new rooms were added to the hotel. The wave pool produces waves to the cheers of bathers with the original machinery to this very day. The Jacuzzi pool was opened in 1934.




Restaurants of the hotel have always been operated by the leading professionals in the field. From 1927 it was Károly Gundel, who rented and ran the dining rooms. His professionalism contributed greatly to the rise of the Gellért to the level of international grand hotels. Events in the Gellért were carried by newspapers around the world. Gundel created three famous dishes here: the Rothermere Zander, Bakony Mushrooms and Pittsburgh Veal Cutlets.

World War II severely damaged the building. The Danube wing burned down completely, and the Gellért Hill wing partly. Reconstructions began in 1946 on the hill side, and in 1957 on the river side. Today’s rooms Duna, Márvány, Gobelin, and the Tea Saloon, as well as the Eszpresszó, were built in 1960.

There are two famous dessert specialities from the Gellért. Posztobányi Pudding or Gellért Pudding, rich in dried fruits, and the chocolate-filled Gellért Roll, made by a secret recipe which so many have tried to duplicate. The real Gellért Roll can still only be tasted in the hotel.

Until the 70’s, Hotel Gellért was at the forefront 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 with their own countries’ currencies, airport taxis were first employed here, and the Gellért was also the first to place minibars in the rooms. The hotel’s Brasserie Restaurant was also the first catering unit to start Swiss plate service.

The Gellért accommodated world famous guests again. Violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin was the first among them after World War II. Richard Nixon, Julius Raab and Bruno Kreisky, Austrian chancellors, Shah Pahlavi from Iran and his family, the King of Nepal, the Dalai Lama, Agostino Casaroli, Secretary of State for the Vatican, Nobel Prize winner Heisenberg, American scientist Sabin, actors Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Marina Vlady, Alberto Sordi, Jane Fonda, cello virtuoso Pablo Casals, violinist Isaac Stern, pianist Arthur Rubinstein, conductors Carlo Zecchi, Gábor Carelli and Roberto Menzi, composer Dmitri Shostakovich, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Hungarian-born Oscar award winning cameraman Vilmos Zsigmond.

Danubius Hotel Gellért and Gellért Bath today

At present the Gellért has 234 rooms, out of which 13 are suites, 38 are superior doubles, 94 standard doubles, 49 singles with baths, and 40 singles with showers. The rooms, facing the Danube, have balconies with stunning views of Budapest.

Today the bath and the hotel have different owners. Hotel Gellért is a member of the Danubius Hotels Group chain, and operates under the Danubius Classic Collection brand, which guarantees a special atmosphere and impeccable service. The bath is run by Budapest Thermal Waters Co. Ltd., and was recently renovated. The open-air wave pool and terrace is now supplemented by a thermal water pool.

The Gellért is one of the most frequented and most well-known tourist sites in Budapest. Beautiful decorations of the hotel include the tiles produced by the Zsolnay factory, the columns in the Jacuzzi, and the colorful statues. In Gellért Bath most health spa treatments are available (such as balneo-therapy, mechano-therapy, electro-therapy, mud treatments, etc). It has a complex physio-therapy section and inhalatorium.

The first admission to the Gellért Bath is free. For each additional entry, the hotel grants a 50% discount off the daily ticket price to hotel guests.
If our guests wish to take advantage of only our treatments and massages, they do not need to buy the daily ticket for the Gellért Bath.

 

Szent Gellért tér 1., 1111 Budapest, Hungary Phone: +36-1-889-5500
Reservation phone: +36 1 889 5501, Reservation fax: +36 1 889 5505, E-mail: gellert.reservation@danubiushotels.com,
GPS Coordinates:N 47°29'2" E 19°3'10"
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