Hotel Rangá in the middle of Iceland has outdoor hot tubs and once a Kardashian climbed in, with Champagne, the rest of the world more or less followed suit. About ten years ago, Lars Wagner, then GM of Mandarin Oriental, Munich, hoisted an alpine chalet to the hotel’s rooftop and, thanks to highly-publicised sponsor Veuve Clicquot, he made a marketing, and financial, killing. In Paris, Buddha-Bar Hotel, Park Hyatt Vendôme and Raffles Royal Monceau have turned their inner courtyards into alpine environs, albeit without any actual ski slopes. Luxury hotels, it seems, know how to turn winter to advantage, says the gal.
It does not even have to be costly to have effect. InterContinental Budapest puts fur throws on chairs on its outside terrace (see the image, with GM Claus Geisselmann, above). Of course the warming beetroot risotto helps, as did the view over the Danube to Buda castle, on the opposite bank’s hill, helps, but the ambience is such I remember every moment. And in summer there are memories here, too. Sit on the terrace and watch the nonstop panorama of river cruises going back and forth. Gábor Zsiros, Concierge at InterContinental Budapest, says the river cruise season runs from March through to October, with peak May to August, with up to 18 ships a week – from Avalon, Tauck and Viking, alone – disembarking and boarding passengers, about 130 per vessel. Sit here on the terrace, and watch the activity, from the luxury hotel closest to the Danube here in the centre of beautiful Budapest. Memories, memories.