A Way with Water in Budapest

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STYLE CAPITAL: The view from a suite at Lánchíd 19

Situated on the western bank of the Danube, Budapest's Lánchíd 19 hotel is in many ways an extension of the river itself. Its accordion-like façade, constructed of movable glass panels, ebbs and flows with the rhythm of the water, thanks to a meteorological sensor on the hotel's roof. Decorated with images of life on the riverbank — crabs, snails and aluminum cans — the exterior panels light up at night, adding a touch of modernity to the historic riverside where 18th century Habsburg architecture prevails.

The hotel has had an affinity with water from the start: during construction, builders unearthed the ruins of a 700-year-old well that supplied the adjacent Buda Castle, once home to Hungary's kings. The riverine theme continues inside with 10 glass bridges sandblasted with ripple patterns. As the bridges crisscross overhead, their translucence lends the space — a largely empty cube rising seven stories — an almost impossible lightness, as if it were constructed of sunlight and air.

Each of the 48 rooms and suites contains an original chair — created by notables like Philippe Starck and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec — which the hotel's Hungarian designers used as inspiration to produce artwork unique to each room. A curvaceous white Verner Panton chair, for instance, became the bride that inspired a wall panel on marriage. "Every corner has another story to tell," says Zsuzsa Szkurka, the hotel's director.

From its exciting design to its breathtaking views, Lánchíd 19 (www.lanchid19hotel.hu) ensures that guests will leave with a few stories of their own.