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Harry Houdini and Zsa Zsa Gabor inspire new AWAY Spa at W Budapest

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The spa takes inspiration from some of the greatest Hungarian artists and influencers in illuminating and unexpected ways
– Ildiko Jackson
Credit: W Budapest

Marriott International’s W Hotels brand has expanded its signature AWAY Spa portfolio with a striking new urban spa in Budapest.

Housed within W Hotels’ flagship Hungarian outpost, W Budapest, the 700sq m subterranean wellness retreat has been inspired by some of Hungary’s most iconic public figures, as well as AWAY Spa’s emphasis on social wellness.

“From Harry Houdini-inspired mirrors that create a feeling of never-ending space to soft Hollywood glamour touches that honour Zsa Zsa Gabor, the spa offers travellers and locals alike an elevated experience that honours the past while looking to the future ” explained Ildiko Jackson, spa manager.

“Like much of the rest of W Budapest, the spa takes inspiration from some of the greatest Hungarian artists and influencers in illuminating and unexpected ways.”

The spa’s design is the product of a collaboration between interior design firms Bowler James Brindley and Bánáti + Hartvig. The teams were also appointed to complete the restoration of the wider hotel.

In addition to Hungary’s best and brightest, the design studios said they drew inspiration from Budapest’s famous thermal baths to realise the wellness space.

In a nod to this, they designed a central eye-catching pool area complete with traditional tiles, gold mesh details and calming earthy tones.

Additional facilities include an aromatic steamroom, a Finnish sauna and a Beauty Bar offering make-up services, hair styling and nail treatments.

Partnered with Comfort Zone and L’amia Natura, the spa offers a range of traditional European spa treatments alongside a range of express rituals. These are conducted in the spa's five treatment rooms – one of which is designed for couples with a double Jacuzzi and private steamroom. All are equipped with Gharieni treatment tables and dressed in RKF Luxury Linen. RKF bathrobes and towels are also used throughout the facility.

In order to cater to a wide array of wellness needs, the spa also features a Technogym-equipped fitness area which hosts daily fitness and wellbeing classes including sound healing, personal training and yoga sessions.

Book4Time has been selected as The AWAY Spa at W Budapest’s software provider.

A sense of place

Housed in the historic Drechsler Palace – previously home to the Institute of Ballet – the 151-key W Budapest is located on Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bowler James Brindley and Bánáti + Hartvig were appointed to carefully restore and reimagine Drechsler Palace, drawing inspiration from its rich cultural history and multiple identities as a café, social hub and Hungarian State Ballet Academy.

Further inspiration was sourced from the grand French Renaissance architectural aesthetic throughout the city.

The team chose to work with an eye-catching colour palette of green, coral and deep blues and paired this with contemporary Zsolnay-inspired tiles, stained glass features and jewellery-inspired light fittings.

Hungary’s vibrant and eclectic cultural scene, including the city’s famous love of chess and deep-rooted connection to ballet, can also be seen throughout the new hotel.

Subtle nods to both are expressed in the form of bespoke chess-piece lamps and monochrome tiled marble flooring or soft pink hues, curved lines and lighting inspired by the graceful fluidity of the dance form.

W Budapest’s offering is completed with three distinctive dining concepts as well as a range of event spaces.

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Marriott International’s W Hotels brand has expanded its signature AWAY Spa portfolio with a striking new urban spa in Budapest.
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