Araz Étterem

Copy_of_78._Hunhomfoto3The renovation of the ’Hungária Spa’ had been considered for long to be one of the tasks to be solved in district VII. As a historical building and due to the traditional expectations of Dohány Street, it did matter who and how would renovate it and what kind of activity the new building will give room for. We have to go back approximately 200 years in history to begin the story of the building. As one of the 3 most significant spas of Budapest, the ’Hungária Spa’ had already become known among the citizens of Budapest in the 1820s. The one-time owner of the lot was András Gamperl, who discovered while digging a well that his lot hid cold water, which was rich in mineral salts, so he opened the Gamperl Iron Spa in 1827. From the 1840s, the citizens of Pest were already referring to the building, washed away by the flood in Pest few years earlier and then rebuilt, as the ’Hungária Spa’. From 1897 onwards, the building became the property of the Ringer family, who transformed it into a modern spa complex.

radayIn 1910, based on the plans of Emil Ágoston, the new, multi-storied modern spa house built in the Viennese art nouveau style opened its doors. It showcased several technical innovations, thereby becoming rather fashionable for the bathing-loving public of the capital. From the 1920s, the building became the property of Ingatlanbank (Real Estate Bank), and soon the legendary Hotel Continental was opened in the wing on Nyár Street. Later on, the public spa on Klauzál Street was demolished; in its place, an art deco style, six-storied apartment building was erected in 1929. In the remaining art nouveau wing, a mobile movie theatre was opened. In 1970, the Hotel Continental closed its doors; thus the decay of the building began. By the 1980s, the building’s state had become life threatening and the sometimes messy story of the renovation began unfolding. Eventually, the building received what it was supposed to receive long ago: respect, new light and new owner. One of the most outstanding creations of the Hungarian art nouveau, the Hungária Spa has regained its one-time glory; the building, which gives room for the new Hotel and for the Restaurant ARAZ, politely fits in with the landscape of the historical Jewish quarter. The new owners, Péter Hegedűs and Péter Vékony of the Joy Hotels Kft., who also designed the first Boutique Hotel Budapest located in Só Street – dreamed and realized a beautiful hotel and a special restaurant in the building.

As the interior sections of the spa had been almost completely destroyed, everything had to be started from the basics. Therefore, Mihály Ráday was asked for his assistance: fortunately, several photos from the ‘60s and ‘70s are still available nowadays showing the bathing area in a relatively intact condition. Based on this, although it can not be reconstructed completely, several elements of the original interior have returned, including the wall sconces, the brass ornaments as well as the beautiful revolving door.