Gresham Palace Budapest is currently home to the Four Seasons Hotel in Budapest which is one of the most popular luxury hotels in Budapest. The iconic building is located close to the Pest side of the Szechenyi Chain Bridge.
The site was once occupied by Nákó House, a neo-classical palace built in 1827 but in 1880 London-based Gresham Life Assurance Company – founded by the English financier who established the Royal Exchange in London in 1571, Sir Thomas Gresham - bought the property.
The building became the Central European base for Gresham Life Assurance until they decided to construct a new building with all the modern luxuries of the time.
They commissioned Hungarian architects Zsigmond Quittner, József Vágó and László Vágó to design the new structure and in 1904 construction of Gresham Palace began. Two years later, in 1906, it was completed.
The palace featured some of the most celebrated pieces of Secession Architecture in Budapest including the ‘Peacock Gates’ which can still be seen today in addition to a host of technological wonders (for the time).
With the start of World War II things changed drastically. Gresham Palace suffered extensive damage as a result of the fighting for control of Budapest towards the end of the war. With Budapest the scene of an epic battle between the retreating Nazis and the ‘liberating’ Soviets, it even became a temporary barracks for Soviet soldiers leading to the burning of much of the furniture as fuel to keep warm. Legend also says that the famous gates were blown off the building by the explosives used when Nazi soldiers collapsed the Chain Bridge.
After the war the building was nationalised and turned in to apartment blocks but with years of constant damage and little renovation work the building had deteriorated massively.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the raising of the Iron Curtain, led to the new national government of Hungary presenting the palace to the city of Budapest.
Gresham Palace, in a terrible state, remained run down until 1998 when Gresco Investments Limited bought Gresham Palace and following consultations with the Budapest Heritage Board they were granted permission to restore the building to its former glories and convert it to a luxury hotel.
Gresco brokered a deal with global hotel chain Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts who agreed to oversee the reconstruction and manage the new property work began.
The new luxury hotel, Four Seasons Gresham Palace, the first Four Seasons Hotel in Hungary opened in June 2004 and has been one of the most highly rated hotels in the World ever since.
For more information about things to see and places to stay in Budapest including the best luxury hotels see our regularly updated Budapest Guide.