Grand Hotel Bohemia
Králodvorská 4, Prague, Praha 110 00, Czech Republic
This art nouveau palais dominates a picturesque corner near the Prašná brána (Powder Tower) and Námĕstí Republiky. During the communist period the hotel was used as an exclusive residence for high-ranking party members--complete with bugs in the room--and wild parties took place in the basement while ordinary Czechs lived under oppression. The hotel's dark past hasn't left a hangover, though: the welcome is breezy and the rooms are bright.
Don't miss the hotel tour—there's an amazing surprise in the basement.
The property is comfortable and rooms are decked out in elegant cream linens and dark-wood furniture for a conservative tone (save for some whimsical carpeting). Although the location is central, the rooms are a bit overpriced when compared with others in the area. The upper-floor suites have amazing views of the Old Town.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel's old-world appeal tends to appeal to an older generation of guests, which is worth bearing in mind if you are a trendy young thing--you might feel a bit outnumbered at breakfast.
Even the standard room bathrooms feel luxurious, with deep bathtubs and massage showers, speakers, and digital scales (tip: it is not advised to try these after sampling Prague's beer-and-sausage-based cuisine for a few days).
The lobby has old-school appeal--perhaps a touch too old-school--but the welcome is courteous.
The nearby Fitness Kotva center can be used by guests of the hotel for a fee. It has a salt cave, saunas, and a whirlpool.
Fitness Kotva also has an aerobic and crosstraining room with up-to-date gym equipment.
The hotel has an opulent (and perhaps over-the-top) Mozart dinner in the beautiful basement ballroom. The Amadeus Ensemble (two opera singers, two instrumentalists) don historical costumes and perform some of Mozart's greatest opera hits while guests dine on classics like pea soup and apple strudel with vanilla sauce under the glittering lights of the ballroom. The restaurant Franz Josef is a more relaxed dinner option. The breakfast is good and often included in the room price.
The Franz Josef offers a lunch menu at 165Kc for two courses, which is not bad for high-end hotel dining. Drinks are 50% off at lunchtime too.
The hotel's bar, with its carpeted walls and swanky feel, can feel a little enclosed, and you would be unlikely to hang out there in summer. But in winter it's a cozy enough place for a Czech beer (on tap) or a fancier drink in line with the hotel's vibe.
Most of the sights of the Golden City are within walking distance, but the hotel is also close to the Metro and tram stops of Náměstí Republiky.
Au Gourmand (6-minute walk) is a sweet cafe for lunch. Or for great views over the Vltava, try floating pizza restaurant Grossetto Marina (13-minute walk).
Tretter's (6-minute walk) is a good choice for a sophisticated tipple; or try U Vejvodu (5-minute walk) for a more traditional beer-based experience.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Grand Hotel Bohemia oozes old-fashioned, slightly whimsical appeal--perhaps too much so (see: the carpets). But the Mozart dinner is fun, the breakfast is excellent, and the staff are polite and welcoming. For those who are interested in Prague's communist history, the building's past is also hard to resist. And its basement ballroom surprise is almost worth the room rate alone.
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