Tržiště 9, Prague, Praha 118 00, Czech Republic
This property kicked off Prague's luxury hotel boom in the early 2000s and still holds up well against the competition. While the music theme may be more of a gimmick than an amenity, that's forgivable considering that the hotel hosts live concerts and even has an on-site music librarian. Another attraction is the rooftop restaurant and bar, with drop-dead gorgeous views of Prague. Although it's at the base of the quiet street leading to the American embassy, there are plenty of bars and restaurants at hand.
The hotel has its own entrance to the beautiful Unesco-Heritage Vrtba Garden, and some of the rooms even overlook it.
Rooms are sleek, done up in sandy tones with red punctuations and all mod-cons, such as flat-screen Apple TVs. The music theme continues, with composer caricatures on the walls and even iPads in the rooms pre-loaded with the music of the composer the room is themed around, but the other furnishings can feel a little standard issue.
Bathrooms are roomy and well-lit, with Molton Brown toiletries and large bath-tubs and rain-showers.
The lobby is light and airy and more eclectic and interesting than a lot of luxury hotels, with a jumble of grandfather clocks, red curving furniture and glass ceilings. The staff are exceptionally welcoming and the hotel's dedication to its musical inspiration continues even right down to the floor tiles, which have mosaic musical notes.
The hotel has a steam room and sauna, and massages are also available.
The Aria's small gym also overlooks the Vrtba Garden, which makes up for its modest size.
La Coda is a masterclass in delicious, high-end hotel fare. From March to October, guests can also dine on the rooftop terrace, which is an absolute must-do if the weather is amenable--the views are magical. Breakfast is also good and plentiful (and included in the rate!).
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel can be a little over-cautious with the weather forecast and the outdoor terrace (a little chill or a bit of drizzle and it's game over), which is a shame.
The hotel's knock-out rooftop bar (you can eat there too) is pretty special, with lovely views, but its glass-ceilinged winter garden atrium is also a lovely spot for a drink, serenaded by nightly piano-playing. In the afternoon, a complimentary afternoon tea is also served here. Alternatively, the cosy fireside lounge, all deep reds and golds, feels exclusive and private on cold nights.
The hotel is chock-full with other entertainment options than just a bar--for example, it boasts a music library and a private cinema.
All of the delights of Mala Strana and Prague Castle are mere steps away; Old Town is only 15 minutes on foot. Otherwise, you are close to Malostranské náměstí tram stops.
Spices (6-minute walk) at the Mandarin Oriental is another good hotel dining experience, but this time with an Asian theme. Or try Hergetova Cihelna (9-minute walk) for good wines, reasonable international food and a brilliant riverside locale.
If your musical tastes run to jazz, great little venue U Maleho Glena (1-minute walk) is on your doorstep. Lively Malostranská beseda (3-minute walk) always has something going on, from art or theatre shows to a good beer-pub on the ground floor.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Aria's tuneful quirks are (forgive us) music to our ears. It's nice to find a hotel that combines luxury with personality to such an extent, on a quiet street right in the heart of Mala Strana. Service is also impeccable and friendly, and the rooftop bar and restaurant are absolute smashers.
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