Dům U Červeného Lva
Nerudova 41, Prague, Praha 118 00, Czech Republic
An intimate, immaculately kept, pink baroque building dating to the 15th century, this hotel is right on the main thoroughfare in the Lesser Quarter, a five-minute walk from Prague Castle's front gates. The hotel's restaurant, serving Czech classics, is good, and perhaps more well-known than the hotel itself. But a workout is included in visiting either: it's a long walk uphill from the tram stop to get here, and once you arrive there is no elevator and the stairs are steep.
In English, the hotel is called The Red Lion (as is the restaurant). Tourist guides and information offices will know the hotel by this name too--and even taxi drivers might, if your Czech isn't up to the pronunciation (something like "duuum oo cherven-e-ho luh-va"--said quite fast--good luck!).
Guest rooms have parquet floors and 17th-century painted-beam ceilings. There's a safe deposit box in all rooms, free Wi-Fi, and twin or double beds in standard rooms. The rugs and bedspreads are old-fashioned and richly patterned, and sometimes in slightly clashing reds and blues.
The attic quadruple rooms are good for groups, and have great views of the Royal Route, Prague Castle, or Petřín hill.
Bathrooms in the standard rooms come with toiletries and a bath or shower and are fairly standard: white, with golden taps, and spotlessly clean.
Arrange check-in in advance, since there's no permanent reception at the hotel, although you can arrive 24/7 and get access if you've sorted this out ahead of time.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If you go to the hotel's restaurant and ask for help or look a bit lost, they will arrange for someone to come and get you, but it might take a few minutes.
There's no gym, but the hotel can arrange fun bike tours around Prague and further afield, with reputable local guides.
The hotel's restaurant also boasts glorious painted ceilings, and serves good traditional Czech food in pleasingly traditional surroundings.
The bar is in its limestone cellar, with vaulted ceilings. Astonishingly, the room dates back to 1350--you can marvel on that as you sip your Pilsner.
The delights of Hradčany, Prague's castle district, are on your doorstep, and likewise with Mala Strana. Old Town and New Town aren't far, but taxis can take you over the river in about 15 minutes if you don't fancy the walk (around 25-35 minutes, depending on your destination). Or various trams stop at Malostranské náměstí, a 6-minute walk away.
The ground floor cafe/restaurant in the Malostranská beseda (8-minute walk) building, on Mala Strana's main square, dishes up reliable Czech cooking. Or Kampa Park (14-minute walk) is a beautiful, pricey date-night style affair, down by the Vltava.
Try the Strahov Monastery (10-minute walk); it's a historic site anyway, but you can sample home-brewed beers there, too. Atmospheric, authentic old Czech pub U Hrocha (7-minute walk) is close too.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Dům U Červeného Lva has attractive, historic rooms at a good price, right by Prague Castle. Yes, it's a steep walk to get there, but at some point, you're hiking up that hill (or taking the tram to the other side) anyway. The hotel is small and intimate, and the gorgeous painted ceilings are really special, with a unique sense of Prague. For groups of four or families, the attic suites are particularly good options, with great views.
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