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The intimate pleasures of Prague's prime hotels
FOR THE POST
Waiting to be treated like royalty? The City of 100 Spires
has a variety of luxury hotels ready to roll out the red
carpet for their guests.
Currently, the hotels listed are self-rated five stars,
and all, except the Hotel Praha, are international hotels
that have established high standards.
The National Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Owners
has had a voluntary rating system since 1998 and the Local
Development Ministry is preparing hotel classifications
that would create a standard rating system.
For guests from business travelers to celebrities to well-heeled
tourists, the top hotels offer many common standards: turn-down
service, Internet access, breakfast, and health or fitness
centers. Concierge centers, multiple phone lines, minibars,
complimentary robes and slippers, marble-tiled bathrooms
and 24-hour room service are common. A few go the extra
mile to set themselves apart. Not surprisingly, all but
two are located in Prague 1.
Opened in 1930 as the Alcron, which became the "in"
hotel for jazz in that era, the Radisson
SAS Alcron Hotel's understated exterior doesn't
hint at its exquisite Art Deco interior. In 1999, the 211-room
and 19-suite hotel off Wenceslas Square won an industry
award for interior design after its refurbishment. Weighty
crystal chandeliers, Italian marble and Art Deco furnishings
are found throughout the public areas.
Elegantly-appointed rooms feature rich fabrics, big pillows
and Italian marble-tiled bathrooms with heated floors
and heated mirrors (no steamy mirrors here!). Extras in the
scented rooms are fresh flowers, a trouser press, a safe and
full Internet access. Use of the sauna and fitness center
The Radisson's Royal Club visitors receive extra care:
a welcome drink and gift on arrival plus a la carte breakfast.
Each suite has a CD player with music available for rent.
Both the Alcron, an intimate six-table restaurant, and
La Rotonde have won several industry awards. The BeBop bar
plays live jazz six nights a week.
Views of the Vltava River and some of the Old Town district
enhance the 364-room Hotel Inter-Continental
Praha, which is being refurbished. Rooms are relaxing
with stylized Art Deco lamps, furniture and draperies. Junior
suites have fax machines and full Internet access and there's
a VIP lounge and boardroom for business people. The fitness
center has a workout area, an outdoor putting green and a
large Carribbean-themed pool.
The Zlata Praha restaurant on the top floor takes special
advantage of the river view; the Primator restaurant on the
ground floor is for breakfast only. The large lobby also offers
some shopping and comfortable place to wait.
The Four Seasons Hotel Prague
offers a commanding view of Prague's jewels. Situated
on the Old Town side of the Vltava River and looking out on
the Charles Bridge, most of the 142 rooms and 20 suites in
this five-building complex offer unmatched views of the
river, the bridge and Prague Castle, often through floor-to-ceiling
Rooms are decorated in rich fabrics and drapes. There is satellite
TV, three telephones per room, high-speed or wireless
Internet connection and turn-down service.
Among the 24-hour services at the Four Seasons are a multilingual
concierge, room service, shoeshine, laundry and valet. The
health club is reserved for hotel guests and can be opened
at any hour on request. During the summer, the Allegro restaurant
has an outside terrace.
The Prague Marriott is impressive
on every level: from its large lobby, bar and restaurant with
marble, wood and plants to its spacious rooms with high-quality
furnishings. Business travelers will appreciate the large
desk, two phone lines, American plugs, business center and
high-tech executive boardroom. The Brasserie Praha restaurant
serves international cuisine with a French touch and a lobby
bar serves snacks. The hotel has 293 rooms and 35 suites.
Located within Millennium Plaza near namesti Republiky, the
hotel offers fitness or shopping only steps away with the
center's boutiques and the World Class Health Academy.
The health club has a large, fully equipped gym, swimming
pool, sauna and whirlpool. Aerobics classes and massage are
The Marriott's sister hotel, the Renaissance
Prague Hotel, with 314 rooms and 12 suites, offers
nearly the same services and is located just across the street.
Large rooms are pleasant and have two telephones each. Guests
in the Renaissance Club receive complimentary early-morning
coffee or tea with the daily newspaper, and canapes and afternoon
drinks between 5 and 7 p.m. Renaissance Junior suites offers
free Internet access in the club lounge. Just off the marble-floored
lobby are three restaurants: Pavillion (international), U
korbele (Czech) and Potomac (steakhouse).
The Renaissance's newly renovated health club Relax @
Renaissance has a swimming pool, gym, steam bath, solarium
In operation since 1906, the thoroughly elegant Hotel
Palace Praha, with 124 rooms and 10 suites, is
located conveniently off Wenceslas Square. The Viennese Art
Nouveau-style building features richly furnished rooms
with tall ceilings, marble-tiled baths and plants. Room
amenities include a satellite television, minibar, safe and
Internet access. Guests may use the sauna free of charge.
Breakfast is included and is served in the hotel's L'Epoque
Restaurant or in the room. Huge glass chandeliers highlight
the distinctive lobby.
Not far from Prague Castle and opposite the Strahov monastery
is the Hotel Savoy, a 55-room
and six-suite boutique hotel with an Art Nouveau facade.
Reopened in 1994, the hotel's spacious rooms have large
windows, original artwork and marble-tiled baths. All
rooms have been soundproofed. Business travelers will enjoy
the four telephones, a fax machine and PC data port in each
room. Breakfast, minibar and use of the sauna, steam room,
Jacuzzi and fitness center are included in the price.
Adjoining the marble-floored lobby is an English-style
library complete with fireplace and comfy chairs. The richly
decorated Restaurant Hradcany, with a retractable cupola,
serves international cuisine. Full concierge and travel services
Outside the center
The landmark 26-story Corinthia
Towers Hotel, perched above Nusle Valley in Prague
4, could easily be called the hotel where every room has a
view. From the pool on the top floor down to the lobby, sweeping
panoramas unfold. The 544 rooms and 39 suites are quiet and
decorated in subtle tones. TV with satellite, movie channels,
voice mail, 24-hour room service and a safe are standard.
A step up are the three Executive Club floors, which have
two phone lines per room and high-speed Internet access.
The business center provides Internet access and an executive
Four restaurants include Let's Eat (international), Toscana
(Italian), the Rickshaw (Far Eastern cuisine specializing
in Thai) and the Beer and Bowling Diner (typical Czech food).
The diner also boasts four bowling lanes. Three bars and Cafe
Praha provide other refreshments, and there's a casino.
Located on a hillside in a quiet residential area of Prague
6, just a 10-minute ride from the airport, is
Hotel Praha. Built in 1980 for government dignitaries
in a 10-hectare (25-acre) park, it has unmistakable
communist-style architecture and decor with spacious public
Large rooms sport a terrace and garden and phenomenal views
of the city and Prague Castle. Some rooms have garish orange
decor with matching baths, although the decor in renovated
rooms is better. Use of the pool is included in the cost of
the room, but the fitness center, sauna, and steam bath are
additional. Les Continents restaurant serves international
and Czech food.
By Susan Ondrasek and Allison Block, email@example.com
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