3 Must-Visit Places in Budapest for Beautiful Interior Design | Budapest Local 3 Must-Visit Places in Budapest for Beautiful Interior Design | Budapest Local
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3 Must-Visit Places in Budapest for Beautiful Interior Design

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One of the best ways to learn about Budapest is through its architecture and interior design. However, while you can easily explore architecture when walking around the city, interior design is something more difficult to discover if you don’t know where to start. So here are three places that we recommend for your to visit during your trip to Budapest: Aria Hotel, a new hotel in the city around the theme of music, Onyx Restaurant, a fine dining michelin-starred restaurant, and Émile, a café and restaurant on the Buda side, which is also the most recent addition to the Gerbeaud family. These three places were designed by Zoltán Varró, a Hungarian interior designer, who has worked on many projects in both Hungary and abroad and who is also the designer of the Jab Anstoetz fabric collection called Grandezza. Zoltán’s design has also won the award called “Europe’s Best Wellness Spa” for Aria Hotel earlier this year. Read our interview with Zoltán about these three projects in Budapest.

Both at Onyx and Émile, the target audience includes foreigners, while at Aria the main audience is visitors to Budapest. What did this mean in terms of interior design?
I have a very distinct style and if you look at my projects, then after a while, you can actually recognize my style because it’s quite consistent. But of course, it is always important to understand what the context is. It means it was more important to realize these projects for the people who would be using the hotel, the restaurant and the café than to please the hotel or café owner. And of course, it was also important that the target audience was foreigners because I could create a more cosmopolitan design. That said, at the same time, I think these places are also very Hungarian.

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What makes these places Hungarian?
First of all, in terms of architecture: At Aria, the building itself has a very traditional Budapest style with its courtyard and room sizes. I don’t think there is any other hotel in Budapest where the original style of the building is still this visible to this extent. And it is also one of the main assets of Aria, that it’s a very contemporary hotel but with traditional elements that allow guests to experience what Budapest was like at the turn of the 20th century.

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The lobby of Aria Hotel. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

aria hotel budapest

At Aria Hotel, there are four types of rooms: Classical (above), Opera, Jazz and Contemporary. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

aria hotel budapest

The Classical room. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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The Opera suite. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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Another room in the Opera suite. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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The Contemporary room. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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The Jazz room. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

You can also see these traditional elements at Onyx, mainly because of the Gerbeaud building. And we also kept some items from Gerbeaud, including the chandeliers. But actually at Onyx, the original concept didn’t focus entirely on foreigners, so it’s something that has changed over the years.

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The smaller room at Onyx Restaurant. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

At Émile, again the building, which is a typical mansion on the Buda side, gives visitors a very authentic Budapest experience. But I also wanted to bring back a sort of belle époque atmosphere, a time when families spent hours in these gardens, enjoying books, food and drinks, and of course, each other’s company. So the idea behind the garden’s design is to imitate this atmosphere with the furniture and all that cozy setting that was once so typical of these mansions in Budapest. But what is interesting is that people have really embraced this idea, so there are regular guests at Émile who spend hours in the garden, enjoying the atmosphere.

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The garden of Émile. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

Tell us a little bit about the interior design concept at Aria.
It was a very important concept from the beginning that the hotel would be open to the locals, too. So, with this in mind, we wanted to create a café, a bar and a restaurant that locals would also visit. But at the same time, we did want to make sure that hotel guests also discover and enjoy these parts of the hotel. At Aria there is a service called “wine & cheese afternoon”, which is included in the price of the rooms. This service is actually available at all the hotels of Henry Kallan, because the idea is that if you walk around in the city all day long, you want to feel at home when you get back to your hotel. So instead of going straight up to your room after a long day, you can stay in these cozy areas, order some drinks and fingerfood, and recharge your batteries. In other words, just because you’re staying at a hotel, it doesn’t mean that you can’t feel at home.

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Stradivari, the restaurant at Aria Hotel. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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Satchmo’s Bar & Lounge at Aria Hotel. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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Satchmo’s Bar & Lounge at Aria Hotel. Photo and also featured image: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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Satchmo’s Bar & Lounge at Aria Hotel. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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View from the High Note SkyBar at Aria Hotel. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

With the spa, I wanted to make sure that it’s a place where hotel guests can relax. Also, nowadays, you usually won’t find the hotel spas in the basement because the concept is to offer some kind of connection with the outside world. But at Aria, this wasn’t an option, so in a sense, I had to offer something extra, which I could achieve with the design, including the music elements.

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The spa at Aria Hotel. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

aria hotel budapest

The spa at Aria Hotel. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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Beautiful details at the spa at Aria Hotel. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

What about Onyx? What is the main idea behind the interior design?
Onyx is a restaurant for fine dining. So in terms of interior design, I wanted to make sure that our concept would follow the purpose of the restaurant. That’s why when you enter, you’ll immediately experience a whole different world. The benches are facing towards the interior and the curtains are closed because we want people to concentrate on the culinary experience, and so we don’t want any distraction from outside. The design also emphasizes this contrast, which you can see especially in the smaller room, where it really feels like as if you were in another world, especially in the evening when the lights are on.

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The interior of Onyx Restaurant with great attention to details. There is even a proper holder for ladies’ bags. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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More details at Onyx Restaurant. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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The smaller room at Onyx Restaurant. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

Émile is somewhat different from the other two projects as it’s far from the busy city center.
Émile is a very special place because visitors to Budapest usually don’t see much of the Buda side beyond the Castle District. So Émile gives them the opportunity to explore a more local part of the city. And it’s also a special place in terms of design as it incorporates several styles. While designing Émile, we wanted to emphasize this contrast between contemporary and traditional. So if you look at the restaurant, it shows a lot of modern elements, while the café on the first floor has a very cozy atmosphere, which also refers back to the Gerbeaud Café. And of course, the third distinct area of Émile is where you enter the building and where  the cake shop is.

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Chandelier at Émile. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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More chandelier at Émile. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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The cake shop at Émile. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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And more chandelier at Émile. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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The restaurant at Émile. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

What are you favorite details and design elements at Aria, Onyx and Émile?
It’s a difficult question because every detail is part of a bigger concept, and that’s why I pay a lot of attention to the tiniest details, such as choosing the sheets in the rooms at Aria. Or another example is the Holiday decoration at Émile. This will be the first Holiday Season at Émile, so they want to make sure that the decoration will be in style with the interior design. But back to your question, at Aria, my favorite part, and it’s also a dream that has come true, is the glass ceiling that covers the courtyard.

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It’s an exceptional design element in Europe because instead of using a steel structure to support the glass, we used glass beams, the same concept that was used in New York at the Apple Store glass cube. And as a major element in the whole concept, this glass roof allows hotel guests to have an uninterrupted view over the lobby from the upper floors, and to enjoy it as if it was a theatrical performance with the colorful furniture, the piano motif of the floor and the people sitting around and walking by.

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Looking down from the High Note SkyBar to the lobby at Aria Hotel. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

At Onyx, I love the gold wall in the smaller room, which was designed to cover part of the kitchen. But instead of just closing down that area with a wall, I thought it was a great opportunity to create something more artistic that would also dominate the space, and so in this way, guests would never guess the original reason for building a wall there. At Émile, my favorite parts are the yellow wall in the kitchen and the artificial grass wall in the entrance area. It wasn’t actually a popular idea in the beginning but once it was finished, I think everybody saw that it made complete sense within the concept.

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The extraordinary wall at the smaller room at Onyx Restaurant. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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The yellow wall at Émile. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

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The artificial grass wall at Émile. Photo: Zoltán Perényi / Budapest Local

Practical Information

Aria Hotel
Address: 5 Hercegprímás Street, 1051 Budapest view map
Check availability & prices.
Disclosure: If you decide to book your accommodation through this link, we’ll earn a small commission from booking.com. And while you won’t have to pay anything extra when you complete a booking or make a purchase through these links, this small commission will make it possible for us to continue publishing similar articles on Budapest Local.

Onyx
Address: 7–8 Vörösmarty square, 1051 Budapest view map
Opening Hours: 12pm–2:30pm & 6:30pm–11pm Tue–Fri, 6:30pm–11pm Sat, closed on Sunday
Make a reservation at +36 30 508 0622 or at [email protected]
Click here to visit their website

Émile
Address: 1 Orló Street, 1026 Budapest view map
Opening Hours: 8am–11pm Tue–Fri, 9am–11pm Sat, 9am–10pm Sun, closed on Monday
Make a reservation at +36 30  585 0602 or at [email protected]
Click here to visit their website

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