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The hidden gem of Károlyi Garden: Hotel Collect Budapest

Károlyi Garden is a true oasis in the middle of Budapest’s bustling city center. After a walk down the car-packed Museum Boulevard, it’s a refreshing delight to turn down one of the side streets and slip into tranquillity. The garden is surrounded by beautiful 19th-century buildings, which in their heyday were not just private villas: at the turn of the century and before, this is where the luxury brothels of the city were located. This article was published in print in Hype&Hyper 2021/2.

Although officially, such debauchery is over, the lush atmosphere of the area has been preserved: next to one of Budapest’s favorite outdoor cafés, you can discover a real jewel box of niche perfumes and a Basque tapas bar as you walk through the streets surrounding the garden. However, the sexiest spot is a hidden gem, the boutique hotel, Hotel Collect

Stepping into the striking (but by no means ostentatious), discreetly lit building is like pulling back the great velvet curtain of a stage and stepping backstage. It’s no coincidence: the vision and many years of experience of Attila F. Kovács, the Kossuth Prize-winning architect who designed the hotel, is undeniably evident in the choice of materials and the carefully composed lighting design.

The hotel is the brainchild of Yossi Hansav who at first, fell in love with the area. “It has always been my favorite garden in the city, ever since I came to Hungary 20 years ago. I went to visit a friend of mine who lived in this street and I immediately fell in love with the garden and area. I wished—already back then—to have a building of my own in the street. For me, that garden is like a small pearl, very quiet and beautiful in the heart of a big, busy city.” says Yossi Hansav, and looking at him walking around the hotel, it’s not hard to believe he’s been in the design business for 20 years. When designing the hotel, the first step was to study the history of the building, to which the interiors were adapted, and then decorated with a mix of contemporary design furniture and vintage treasures, art pieces, and memorabilia. 

Special details, such as the unique handcrafted home fragrances brought from Tel Aviv, and the exciting decorative elements that pop up in unexpected places give the hotel an inviting atmosphere. The hotel’s name also reflects this approach. “The name COLLECT comes from the word “collection” and the whole concept of the hotel is that each and every piece of furniture, as well as its interior design features, have been hand-picked with care. The first striking elements are the reception desk and the fireplace in the lobby, and moving on to the rooms you’ll find vintage furniture brought from antique shops in Europe, and of course a fine selection of art pieces all around the hotel. For me, what makes the hotel so unique is the mix of vintage and modern. We wanted to put a lot of thought into the hotel’s interior instead of just going to a one-stop shop and furnishing it in one go. Paying attention to the details and carefully curating a collection of items is what makes HOTEL COLLECT so inviting.”

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Photos: Kata Balogh

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