Paul Hogan via the movie Crocodile Dundee helped boost the attention of Australia to potential travelers in 1986 so much he ended up becoming a spokesperson for his homeland’s tourist board. It’s unlikely Wes Anderson’s movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel” will make as big an impact for Hungary when it hits the theatres early March, however, its all-star cast and positive advance reviews should create some nice publicity.
Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton represent an honor roll of A-listers in the movie that follows the adventures of a legendary concierge during the mid-20th century. The movie is set in a fictional Eastern European country, however the actual hotel is modeled after its Budapest namesake, today operated as a luxury property by Corinthia Hotels.
At a press breakfast in New York, Hungarian National Tourist Office Director Zoltan Budai noted his country already does fairly well in terms of attracting visitors. Last year it drew over 30 million travelers against its 10 million inhabitants. He pointed out that despite being the same size as Indiana, there are 10 World Heritage sites and more spas per capita than any other country.
Taking advantage of having Corinthia Hotel Budapest as the centerpiece for a big production Hollywood movie, General Manager Thomas M. Fischer has put together a number of experiential offerings, including back-of-the-house tours following the footsteps of concierge Fiennes in areas rarely open to the public.
There will be private showings of the movie at a nearby cinema, and the hotel’s elaborate high ceiling ballroom that pays homage to Hungary’s authors and composers is the perfect setting if you want to throw your own premier party.
Separately, the hotel is launching a special MICE Lounge this summer. Dedicated for meeting delegates and organizers it will include a section where they can work and relax. With 57 suites and serviced apartments out of its 440 keys, there is an array of offerings for elite travelers. Fischer is finalizing plans for upgrades to 22 of the suites that will provide large walk-in closets and high-tech amenities.
For racing fans, Formula One visits Hungary July 27th this year. If two wheels are more your style, the 15th Annual Harley Davidson Open Road Fest runs June 4-8.