Bartolomějská 9, Prague, Praha 110 00, Czech Republic
The large rooms in this former convent once served as interrogation cells for the communist secret police and the late president Václav Havel was once even a guest here. Fortunately, the lobby and rooms betray nothing of this gloomy past. Cozy twin, doubles, and suites are airy, light, and modern and the central location is good. Although it's no longer the great value it was when the Christian charity Unitas ran it as a hostel, the historical wow-factor makes up for it.
Cozy, spacious, and comfortable, if a little plain, the real draw of the rooms at the Unitas--and indeed, the whole hotel--is their history. Once the nuns' rooms at the Convent of the Grey Sisters, the secret police brutally commandeered the convent in 1950, sending all the sisters to detention camps and setting up headquarters--with a shooting range next door--on the site. They added detention cells in the basement.
Cell no P6 is the room where future Czech president, Václav Havel, was once quizzed by the communist secret police.
Some of these crisp, modern bathrooms have showers, and others have baths.
An imposing exterior and hallway lead to a pleasant lobby with historical charm. Rooms face into an inner courtyard.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The Wi-Fi signal can be poor--blame the convent's thick stone walls.
No on-site restaurant.
No on-site bar--the nuns probably wouldn't have approved--but you are near plenty of good drinking options.
Very close to tram stops on Národní třída, which is also a metro stop on Line B. Many of the attractions of both Old and New Town are within walking distance.
Try U Medvidku (3-minute walk), a traditional (and popular) Czech beer hall, brewery and restaurant that's bursting with historical charm - it's been open since 1466. Or head to New Town for Cafe Louvre (4-minute walk), a great example of Czech cafe culture, with a sophisticated atmosphere and good lunch deals.
For cocktail connoisseurs, there's Bon Vivant's (1-minute walk), an attractive tapas and cocktail bar with some amusing tongue-in-cheek house rules. Or a few steps in the other direction is gay-friendly party bar Friends (1-minute walk), which boasts a dance floor and weekly karaoke session.
WHY WE LIKE IT
You want historical Prague, warts and all? At Unitas, you've got it: a unique chance to sleep comfortably in a pleasant hotel that is still chillingly haunted by its dark communist past.
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