We were to have met at 5pm. Our friend is a founder member of The Club and we had been invited to discuss joining its elite membership.
|below the street sign a plaque commemorates the writer and dramatist, Sándor Bródy|
We know the area well. The Jazz Club, Hungarian Radio and the Italian Institute are all within the immediate vicinity. The National Museum is there, on whose flights of steps the poet Petófi once famously declared the start of the War of Independence on 15th. March, 1848. The surrounding cobbled streets are home to a variety of gracious villas and palaces, dating back to the great nineteenth century building boom of Pest.
So where was Brody House?
|only a very discreet sign to the right of the entrance door announces Brody House|
There surely, we felt, could be no mistaking the street, named after the famous Hungarian writer and dramatist, Sándor Bródy. True, Budapest can hide its secrets well, of that we are fully aware, but, in this case an underground bunker would, in all likelihood, have been more visible.
At 5.45pm we abandoned all hope of our friendly assignation and headed for home. Of course, had we been equipped with Smartphones, Satellite Navigation Systems, or even a street number, we might not have had a wasted journey. But, perverse and foolish, oft we stray!
|looking from the hall door of Brody House towards the fine, cantilevered staircase|
|the view back from the hall towards the street entrance - an example of C19 Pest architecture|
It was therefore with a heightened sense of excitement that, two weeks later, we rearranged our Brody House meeting. This time, aided by a Google Map and the full address, there would be no mistake.
And so it was, feeling rather like Howard Carter on discovering the tomb of Tutankhamun, we pushed open the heavy street door and entered the secret world which is Brody House.
|the main Reception Desk is situated on the second floor of Brody House - a steep climb|
In a decorating style described by its owners and designers, William Clothier and Peter Grundberg, as 'rough luxe', peeling plaster is overhung with vast pieces of contemporary art, floorboards are bare, hi-tech sound systems sit alongside ancient 'Bush' radios, the antique, the modern, the glamorous and the commonplace are all combined with the skill of individuals who are clearly talented in the visual and creative arts and who give new meaning to 'shabby chic'.
|a second floor drawing room where we sipped iced cucumber water on a hot summer's day|
Established in 2009, Brody House has received rave reviews as 'the coolest place to stay in Budapest'. But it is so much more than somewhere to rest one's head at night. A bohemian members' club, it is a twenty-first century hub for showcasing the Arts. A packed social calendar provides a forum for 'open-minded, creative, inventive and socially curious' people to meet and to exchange ideas. And one can always book a room if the hour becomes late.
|one of the guest bedrooms at Brody House - an example of 'rough luxe'|
|an 'unfitted' bathroom much loved by the English in their country houses|
Our friend is on the membership committee where the fate of prospective members is sealed. We have declared ourselves to be the only Hattatts in Britain, possibly Europe too, to be of sound mind, though some might doubt that, never to have been made bankrupt, and we do not eat peas with our knives. Will we next enter Brody House with membership cards?