The Prince of Prague: Close Quarters

<< Back to Robb Report, August 2007
  • Mike Nolan

Lobkowicz Palace does not offer accommodations, but two nearby hotels in Malá Strana, or Little Quarter, serve as fine bases from which to explore the museum, the adjacent castle, and the surrounding city of Prague.

Mandarin Oriental, Prague
Set in the heart of Malá Strana, the 99-room Mandarin Oriental, Prague, occupies a 14th-century Dominican monastery a five-minute walk from Charles Bridge. The property opened as a hotel in September 2006, following a $67 million transformation that preserved the monastery’s original Renaissance aesthetic. Essensia, the Mandarin’s fine dining venue, consists of a series of five connected rooms where diners enjoy classic European and Asian cuisine under vaulted ceilings. Next door at the Barego bar (the name celebrates Prague’s Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic architecture), guests can sample the cinnamon and aniseed flavor of the local liqueur, Becherovka. The entrance to the hotel’s spa, which is located in a former Renaissance church, leads across a glass floor overlooking the remains of an even older Gothic church that was uncovered during the renovation. Suites at the Mandarin resemble plush apartments more than they do hotel rooms, with oversize limestone bathrooms and polished parquet floors. The presidential suite’s large private roof terrace affords striking views of the city skyline and of Malá Strana, a 13th-century neighborhood that is a maze of narrow cobblestoned lanes lined with restaurants, art galleries, and foreign embassies.

+420.233.088.888, www.mandarinoriental.com

Aria Hotel
In a city known for its musical heritage (Mozart and a young violinist named Albert Einstein once walked the streets of Malá Strana), a hotel that celebrates music is a natural fit. The Aria Hotel, located just around the corner from the Mandarin Oriental, plays a charming melody on its four floors, each of which is dedicated to one of four musical genres: opera, classical, jazz, and contemporary. Guests staying at the boutique property may choose from 52 musically themed rooms, where state-of-the-art sound systems play the works of artists ranging from Billie Holiday and Debussy to Led Zeppelin and Puccini. In the Winter Garden atrium, just off the hotel’s lobby, the pure notes of a Petrof grand piano fill a space flooded with natural light.

+420.225.334.111, www.ariahotel.net

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