Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor has added another five-star hotel to his growing international portfolio. The Al Habtoor Group Chairman recently acquired the InterContinental Budapest. Joanna Andrews takes a peek inside.
Khalaf Al Habtoor is no stranger to Hungary. In 2012 he purchased Le Méridien Budapest located in the heart of the Hungarian capital. Just two years on, he owns two hotels in the thriving European city.
“I am very pleased to acquire the InterContinental Budapest as a new addition to our hotel portfolio,” says Al Habtoor. “It is the largest in the city. It has more than 400 rooms and suites and accommodates business and leisure travellers alike.”
He adds, “Budapest is a great city. It has a vibrant tourism industry and the people are very welcoming. The Hungarian economy is growing at its fastest pace since 2007. It has recovered well from the recession. The economy grew 1.2 per cent last year and is doing even better this year. Hungary has a stable government with the Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government being elected for a second term recently.”
The purchase comes just months after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Hungary signed an agreement that provides the legal framework for airlines to launch flights between the two countries without any restrictions.
The InterContinental Budapest offers breath-taking views of the city - boasting sights of some of its most iconic landmarks. From the hotel you can experience 180-degree panoramic views over Chain Bridge, the Danube and the former Royal Palace that are as intriguing by day as by night.
Claus Geißelmann, General Manager, says, “The InterContinental Budapest has the best location and the most dazzling view in Budapest. The hotel had been chosen numerous times as the hotel with the best view of the city. Our staff know that well-travelled, affluent guests want to be connected with what’s special about a destination. Every team member shares their local knowledge so that guests can enjoy authentic experiences and make the most of their time with us.”
Budapest has been chosen as a top destination by several prestigious magazines and organisations, he adds. “The Condé Nast Traveler magazine chose Budapest - based on the readers' choice - as one of the TOP 25 cities in the world, also Huffington Post selected the city as a must-see city of the world.”
The city offers a magical combination of different times, starting from the Turkish influence (baths) through the Austro-Hungarian impact on the cities magnificent architecture and the latest building trends. “The gorgeous residences and buildings are gracious and grand. Everything about Budapest is entrancing,” Geißelmann says.
Visitors have many famous sights to choose from - including a trip to Buda Castle, which lived through several regimes over the centuries, but yet still stands gloriously on the Buda Hill. A trip to the Matthias Church is a must; it is one of the city’s most important churches. It has witnessed the coronation of many of Hungary's kings. The church is now home to historic tombs and ecclesiastical treasures. Heroes Square, known as Hősök tere, is another fine example of the city’s rich past. Dominating the famous square is an iconic statue complex, the Millennium Memorial, which was completed in 1900. It lies at the end of Andrássy Avenue, which comprises part of an extensive World Heritage site, next to City Park.
Geißelmann is quick to point out that besides the historical impressions which left their traces on the city, “Budapest also welcomes visitors to provide excellent culinary and free time experiences.”
So where does he recommend a culinary treat? None other than the Corso Restaurant nestled in the InterContinental Budapest!
“The trio first soup is a must-try dish in the Corso Restaurant, the uniqueness of the dish is based on three different flavour in one bowl which form the Hungarian national colours - red (tomato soup), white (white asparagus soup), and green (green spices soup). Another must-try dish is the fillet of beef ‘Budapest Style’ - grilled beef medallions and goose liver served on vegetables ‘Lecsó’, accompanied with parsleypotato puree.”
The contemporary hotel in this ancient city also features 12 meeting rooms inviting business groups from 10 to 850 people. And for those that like to wind down, the state-of-the-art SPA InterContinental is a must! It has four tastefully decorated treatment suites, a swimming pool, sauna, steam bath and a fitness centre that is open around the clock.
The InterContinental Budapest is a firm favourite of many well-known faces from the world of politics, sport, and entertainment. Many famous people have frequented the hotel including Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, Iron Maiden, Michael Flately, Damon Hill, Niki Lauda, and the Schumacher brothers - Michael and Ralf, to name a few.
Apáczai Cs. J. u. 12-14. Budapest, 1052 Hungary
Tel: +36 1 327 6344 - Fax: +36 1 327 6348