I still remember my first week in Bucharest, I had a list of places I needed to urgently visit. After years of reading fascinating stories, now I was finally here and ready to see those iconic Belle Epoque buildings live.
Athenee Palace Hilton was number one on my Calea Victoriei list. So many stories, so many eccentric characters had checked in at this iconic hotel…
Dated from the Belle Epoque era, Athenee Palace Hilton was built on the place where Hanul Gherasi once stood. This new marvelous hotel was the meeting point of Europe’s café society and a den for the 007’s of the era. And for the refined connoisseurs of the modern days, it is still one of the most frequented places of Bucharest.
The French Architect Téophile Bradeau designed the hotel and in that era, Athenee Palace was the biggest Art Deco building in the Capital. Heavily ornate furnishings, marble and gold pillars, great glittering chandeliers, and the deep settees placed well back in the recesses of the lounge, as if inviting conspiracy.
‘”Countess” R. G. Waldeck wrote of the hotel in the same era, “Here was the heart of Bucharest, topographically, artistically, intellectually, politically—and, if you like, morally’- A. L. Easterman called it the “most notorious caravanserai in all Europe. …the meeting place of the Continental spies, political conspirators, adventurers, concession hunters, and financial manipulators. “
Athenee Palace Hilton, renovated in 1939
Atenee Palace Hilton – 1915
The Grand Ball Room – Athenee Palace Hilton 1961
Athenee Place Hilton – 1967
Athenee Palace Hilton – 2016
The English Bar – Athenee Palace Hilton – 1916
Athenee Palace Hilton 2016
Athenee Palace Hilton – The Bistro – 1956
The first Ferrari parked in front of Athenee Palace Hilton
Cristina Savulescu dresses
In 2005, Athenee Palace Hilton enters in the portofolio of Ana Hotels (the biggest hospitality company in Romania) and becomes an example of high services in our country.
Two years ago I was having a coffee with Mr. Buta in the hotel’s bistro, when beautiful music invaded the hotel’s hallways. It was the moment when Athenee Palace Hilton turned 100 years. One century! A hotel celebrating one century and millions of unforgettable moments lived within its chambers…Well, like always, and like everything that comes from the past, this moment got me all emotional. I cried. I had to endure Buta’s mockery for one week. ONE WEEK. But between you and me, it was worth it! I was there when Athenee Palace Hilton celebrated 100 years. For one brief moment, I could see Josephine Baker, Luisa Casati, Nicolae Malaxa, Martha Bibescu and Anna de Noailles walking its hallways, laughing, partying and being all glamorous…