Mary Gostelow considers Central-Eastern Europe

Food and wellness hot topics at HOTCO 2022

Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest

Montenegro is already on the luxury travel map because of such resorts as Aman Sveti Stefan, and One&Only Portonovi, which offers Giorgio Locatelli food, Henri Chenot wellness, a marina and 500 metres of Adriatic coast. At HOTCO, globalist Kevin Wallace – a Brit-American and long-stay Aussie who pops up, like George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman wherever something significant is happening – hints Montenegro has more to come.

HOTCO, the definitive hospitality investment conference organised by Horwath HTL, covers Central and Eastern Europe and Caucasus. It was reality, not virtual, in Budapest. 30-31 May. Over 240 delegates came from the USA through to Asia interested in attracting local markets, for food and wellness as well as beds, are more likely to put their money into Slovenia (GDP US$25,489) rather than Albania (GDP US$5,426, both latest World Bank figures). Travel advisors sending business to capital cities already find some splendid hotels, say Prague’s Mandarin Oriental, Tallinn’s Schlössle Hotel, Vilnius’ Kempinski Cathedral Square and Warsaw’s Raffles Europejski.

From the consumer angle, it was comforting to hear, at HOTCO, that food and drink, wellness and the entire ESG coverage are as important in the region as in Australasia and other vanguard areas. These three essentials are illustrated in HOTCO’s host hotel, the 351-room Kempinski Hotel Corvinus, named for Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary 1458-1490.

Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, Budapest Room

The hotel’s restaurants are outsourced. Nobu’s as popular as always. All day, from early dawn you can pick up food-to-go from the ES Deli miraculously formed from a corridor alcove. ES operator Zsidal Group also has an indoor-outdoor ES Bisztró, perfect for healthy breakfasts or outsize organic steaks other time.

Blue Fox the Bar, Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest

Bisztró opens directly to the hotel, and the pedestrianised Deák Ferenc, or Fashion Street – Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger are ten metres ahead of you. Come out of the hotel’s main Erzsébet tér entrance and there’s a pleasure park, with Ferris wheel. Lap the park twice for a kilometre, or stay in, to use the hotel’s gym.

Book one of the top, ninth floor rooms, for best park, wheel and city views – and memorable modern Hungarian art. Hotel GM Stephan Interthal is temporary custodian of some of the 1,500 gallery-standard 21st-century artworks belonging to the hotel’s owner.

The Living Room, Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest

Culture’s another reason to put Kempinski Hotel Corvinus on a European itinerary. Add the Danube, ten minutes away. The many magical river-boat cruises include Uniworld’s eight-day Enchanting Danube, to Bratislava, Vienna, Dürnstein, Linz and Passau.

Mary Gostelow publishes the daily and a unique weekly 15-minute industry Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, both part of Almont Global.

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