Feuilleton 342 — 1896: Destination Budapest
Grand Hotel Royal — The Corinthia Budapest
April 1896, boarding the Orient Express at Paris, bound for Budapest
The Orient Express left Paris for Vienna and Budapest at 6.50 pm sharp.
The train was full. There was a flutter of excitement in the air. All and sundry seemed to be travelling to Vienna or to Budapest.
Before Edouard Budie boarded the train, he had observed his assistant checking in 24 trunks of costumes, which he had brought with him from England for a show at Budapest’s Somossy Orpheum. He also watched another man heaving a solid wooden box from a cart into the luggage car. Lumière equipment. A cinematograph presumably. ...
... Upon entering sleeping car No. 28 his eyes had fallen on two elegant brown and beige ‘Damier’ canvas covered suitcases. One was flaunting the words L. Vuitton déposé, the other one a kaleidoscope of Ls and Vs, forming a symbiosis of LV all over the canvas.
‘What a splendid suitcase you have there,’ he said to the man in the long coat with a fur collar.
‘You are the man with the cinematograph, n’est-ce pas?’ the little heavy man swung his body on the third chair at Rákóczi’s and Dupont’s table.
‘I am Edouard Budie. I am going to Budapest to furnish a show at the Somossy Orpheum. A five hour programme on 1 May, with a ball after the show where the whole staff will take part in Hungarian national clothing.’
‘Fascinating’, Dupont nodded: ‘I will be at a new hotel – it’s called the Grand Hotel Royal. From 10 May, where we show our moving pictures.’ ...
Elegant leather bound edition of our book.
The Grand Hotel Royal opened in 1896 as the largest hotel on the continent: 350 rooms, numerous restaurants, a palatial Royal ballroom, telephones in every room, electricity supplying the entire building, 'rising rooms', powered by steam engines and reaching all floors. Next door laid a superb spa. In the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the ‘Royal’ became the melting pot of the world of yesterday. Here Hungarians saw the first moving Lumire pictures, sipped their first five o'clock high tea; and rubbed shoulders with the international visitors of the great jubilee exhibition of 1896. It was the home to all leading Hungarian artists Surrounded by theatres and close to the Royal Opera House, its guest list includes the greatest dancers, singers and opera divas. Mario del Monaco, Anna Moffo, Gilbert Becaud, James King, Jenõ Heltai, Berczi Karlovszky, József Rippl-Rónai, Vaslav Nijinsky, Cleo de Merode, Max Linder, Valdemar Psilander, Asta Nielsen, Serge Diaghilev, Igor Stravinsky, Gyula Krúdy, Sándor Bródy, Imre Kálmán, Béla Bartók, Franz Lehár, Zoltan Kodály, Sándor Ferenczi, Paul Abraham, Josephine Baker, Ference Molnár, Alan Bates, Dirk Bogarde and so many others spent a significant moment or an important part of their life at the Royal.
In the 1920s Károly Gundel was its feted restaurateur, during the 1960s it became the unofficial ‘academy’ for everybody who wanted to become a successful hotelier. Reopened in 2002, the Grand Hotel Royal is a sparkling star among the grand hotels of Europe. This book accompanies the hotel from its very first day at the height of the glittering Fin-de-siècle over one hundred years into the third millennium.
ANDREAS AUGUSTIN: GRAND HOTEL ROYAL BUDAPEST
The cloth bound edition
150 historic and contemporary photos
Also available in Hungarian