Prague Hotel Theatrino
Bořivojova 53, Prague, Praha 130 00, Czech Republic
This colorful, art nouveau hotel is big on character, but short on real luxury, making it a decent budget choice if you're looking for something original. The building dates from the early 20th century and functioned as Žižkov's city hall and then a theater. It was rebuilt in 2000 and remains the nicest spot in a rapidly gentrifying but still gritty neighborhood. The rooms retain some of the original art nouveau design. There is no Metro station nearby; the best way to get here by public transportation is to take Tram No. 5, 9, or 26 from Hlavní nádraží.
Particularly for those on a second or third visit to Prague, staying out of the old center can make for a much more interesting and real trip, and Žižkov is a fantastically interesting district to explore, with new cafes, bars, and galleries popping up almost daily. Plus the tram ride into town is only about 20 minutes.
With their cheerful red carpets and wooden beams, the rooms are comfortable and original, and despite the age of the building, the owners manage to keep them warm in Prague's winter chill.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The Wi-Fi can be very slow, and some rooms are in need of a bit of love.
Bathrooms are functional if not beautiful, with a choice between a shower or a bath in many rooms.
The hotel's communal areas all win points because of the care taken in the restoration of this fantastic old building--the antique details on the walls and ceilings are really pretty.
It's not a fully appointed spa, but there's a sauna guests can use for a small fee.
A hot and cold buffet breakfast is served in the splendor of the former theater's main auditorium, making for a pleasingly dramatic start to the day.
The bar is less impressive than the dining hall, but some of the building's character still shines through amid some slightly garish lighting.
If you're in Prague for a special occasion, like a birthday or anniversary, tell the friendly staff. A bottle of wine or two will likely pop up in your room or at some other point during your stay.
There's no metro, but taxis can deliver you into the center fairly cheaply (and the friendly staff at the hotel will help you book them). Alternatively the tram is both convenient and an authentic Prague experience. The hotel sells tickets and you can take the Nos. 5, 9, 15, 26, 95, or 98 from the Lipanská stop or Hlavní nádraží.
Sample arguably the city's best burgers at The Tavern (9-minute walk). For competitively priced sushi and other Asian specialities, Hanil (8-minute walk) is a good bet.
On a warm summer's day, join the Czech masses at the beer gardens of Riegrovy Sady (12-minute walk), a park with good views of the city. Or for even more spectacular views, head to the Žižkov Television Tower (6-minute walk). Once a weird communist landmark, it now has a fancy cocktail bar at the top of the tower, and huge sculptures of space-age babies crawling up the sides, courtesy of Czech artist David Černý.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Great value for money and a chance to see a more normal neighborhood in Prague, which is increasingly becoming the hippest part of town.
The Prague Hotel Theatrino is a solid choice for those on a budget or for visitors returning to the city who need a comfortable place to crash, with friendly staff and a bit more character than a standard chain hotel.
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