After short planning and (very) fast driving, my team and I arrived to Budapest, a proud capital of our northern neighbor, Hungary.
Enchanted with a beautiful architecture and mysterious vibe that this city has (let’s not forget that neo-gothic style is just what it’s name says – a new Gothic), soon we found ourselves completely wrapped in a magic of centuries old buildings and alleys, as well as in hospitality of its inhabitants. (Gothic or not, we must say that we haven’t encountered any creature from “Underworld” movie series, so I must assume that at least some of it must be a fiction…maybe?) But let’s just stop right there, or this will be just another (semi-boring) travelogue. Let’s talk business!
So we were there, in Budapest, to shoot some nice editorials and stuff (and to have fun in the process, of course) …and then we saw IT. Remember last year’s semi-classic, Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel”? Well, we stayed in it! Ok, maybe NOT exactly in IT (hotel from the movie is a fictional place after all), but definitely in a closest thing possible to the place skillfully managed by Ralph Fiennes in this year`s multiple Oscar winner.
With rich history that is ridiculously similar to the one pictured in a movie, Corinthia Hotel Budapest has a magic of its own.. This luxury hotel survived a lot – two World Wars, occupation of Budapest and years (and years, and years…) of communist rule in this beautiful country. Severely damaged in all possible (bad) events that befell Budapest, this hotel managed to rise from its own ashes, just like that famous bird from a legend.
Now owned and managed by prestigious Corinthia Group, this hotel finally shines in all its glory and presents one of the must-see places in this part of Europe.
Now, let’s back to the movies for a minute. No, I don’t want to bore you to death with all Hollywood pictures that are filmed in Budapest, nor shall I continue to drone on about “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. I just want to share what made the biggest impression on me and what (maybe) inspired me the most. For writing and stuff, you know…artistic kind of thing…. You see, Corinthia Hotel Budapest (then known under the name “Grand Hotel Royal”) was the most important place for the art of filmmaking (almost) from its very inception. In Corinthia’s magnificent Grand Ballroom, Lumière brothers held their first projection outside of Paris, way back in 1896! And soon, that same ballroom became the very FIRST cinema in all Europe! So you can imagine the feeling that a guy (who foolishly considers himself a screenwriter) had, while walking in the place that literally MADE movie history. And not just that! My team and I decided that opulent (and completely renovated) Grand Ballroom would be a perfect spot for shooting an editorial, so I put on my fantastic Valter Beko velvet jacket, as well as Police shades and…dreams became a reality, at least for a while!
Shooting in a place like that, where European nobility watched first motion pictures ever made and where crowned heads enjoyed themselves in lavish parties more than century ago, makes you feel so small, yet very proud at the same time. Somehow, just being in that place feels like you’re part of something important, something larger than life. Corinthia’s magic, that’s what it is. So we shot that editorial and truly enjoyed ourselves while doing it. Soon it was all over and we returned to exploring beautiful Budapest, with its Gargoyle-adorned buildings and strong reminiscence of times past. Actually, It occurs to me that the past meets the present here in Budapest. In a way, two ethereal planes are somehow interconnected under its cloudy sky, with only a glimpse into the third one, the future. This city went through the times of glory and the times of gloom and became one of the historically most important cities in Europe, only with better architecture! And with hidden legions of vampires and werewolves, who rarely (if ever) mingle in human’s business. Ok. I made that up. Definitely.
Walking these colorful streets, we kinda felt like a part of this place, which I think we’ll be visiting on regular basis. And what about Corinthia and its Grand Ballroom? Well, if it’s good for numerous celebrities and crème de la crème of European society, is it possible not to be impressed and enchanted for life with this magical place? For yours truly, a passionate movie buff and true conformist, the answer is definitely rhetoric.