Budapest is a city famous for healing waters and decadent spas, and cult beauty brand Omorovicza is responsible for bringing Hungarian spa culture to an international audience. Comprised of an Omorovicza spa in Budapest and an award-winning line of skincare products that harnesses the power of Hungary’s healing waters, the brand was set up by former American diplomat Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza and her half Hungarian husband, Stephen. Here, Margaret talks about her first impressions of Budapest, launching a beauty brand and what Hungarian souvenirs she always brings home.
You worked as a US diplomat in Budapest before launching Omorovicza, what were your first impressions of the city?
I remember coming in from the airport for the first time and driving along the Danube. The view of the buildings along the water took my breath away. I really felt as though I had crossed the moon, having woken up in Manhattan with its skyscrapers and modern skyline, in contrast to the old-world charm and glamour of Budapest.
What were the origins of Omorovicza and how did you make the leap from diplomacy to beauty?
Stephen and I met in Budapest and both fell in love with the amazing healing waters. Once we knew we could bottle their effects with the help of a patented process, we began to plot how we would build our lives around beauty. The leap from diplomacy to starting our own company was not as difficult as it might seem, as both are very much about connecting with people.
How do you incorporate Hungary’s historic spa culture into Omorovicza products?
We are very proud of our spa heritage and the fact that Stephen’s family built the most beautiful spa in Budapest and donated it to the country for their health and wellbeing. The word ‘spa’ is derived from the Latin phrase, Sanitas Per Aqua, or health through water. As our principle ingredient in all products is our Healing Concentrate™—the mineral rich waters transformed into their most potent form—it is the embodiment of ‘health through water.’
What sets Omorovicza apart from other beauty brands?
Omorovicza is a modern luxury brand which combines phenomenal natural resources with patented science, while excluding harmful synthetic ingredients.
What three Omorovicza products do you never travel without?
The Cleansing Foam, Rejuvenating Night Cream and Miracle Facial Oil.
You split your time between London and Budapest—what are the first things you do when you arrive back in Budapest?
I head to our office and meet with our team, then check in at our Spa and go to the thermal waters, before more meetings or training with local partners and dinner at Café Kor with friends.
Describe your perfect day in Budapest?
An ideal summer’s day in Budapest would be to wake up in our lovely flat overlooking the Danube. I’d go for a run around Margit Island before heading to the local museums or galleries to see what’s new. I’d enjoy lunch at Café Kor with my family, then an afternoon at the thermal waters followed by a facial at the Omorovicza Spa. I’d finish the day with an evening walk with Stephen up in the Var (Fisherman’s Bastian) and then dinner outside somewhere like Café Pierrot.
What, to your mind, are Budapest’s hidden secrets?
There are so many! My top tip for Budapest is having a few hours with the amazing guide, Kati Czellar. There are so many hidden gems in this stunning city, and she is the best way to discover them.
And where would you go and eat for amazing Hungarian food?
I love Café Kor, Pierrot, 21, Deryne, VakVarjú, Menza and Aszu.
What items do you always stock up on when visiting Budapest?
I always bring back Budapest’s famous local spirits, such as Unicom and Palinka, as well as Turo Rudi, which is my children’s favourite chocolate. I also like to pick up plenty of paprika, Tokaj wine, Herend porcelain and a pair of Tisza sneakers.