Best hotels in Prague
Even with the aid of Google Maps, finding U zlaté studně (or “At the Golden Well”) can prove a struggle. However in this case, the phrase “hidden gem” is well deserved. This 16th century building at the foot of Prague Castle boasts classic, tasteful décor rather than rococo kitsch, and a private entrance to the Royal Garden. Its restaurant is one of the swankiest in town thanks in part to its extraordinary terrace. Book at least a week ahead to secure an Instagram-worthy table al fresco.
The Dancing House—with rooms nicknamed Fred and Ginger after the Hollywood icons—is one of Prague’s most iconic landmarks. The thirty-one-room hotel occupies three floors; the lack of a gym or spa given its five star status is regrettable, but the Ginger Royal Suite is a stunner with an impressive 180-degree view of Prague’s most snapped fairy-tale vista. Rates vary wildly: while Ginger begins at an eye-watering 2,000 euro, standard rooms start at just 100 euro per night.
Staying at Emblem isn‘t about hanging out in your room: unless you have the cash for one of the generously proportioned suites, chances are it’s rather on the snug side anyway. Head instead to the fiercely bubbling rooftop Jacuzzi, part of the swanky M Spa: perfect for enjoying a bottle of champagne and soaking up the magnificent view of Petřín Hill. Creative folks can take advantage of the hotel’s artist-in-residence scheme: exchanging artworks for complimentary stays which are then displayed on site. Art buffs can also sign up for cultural walking tours of Prague led by local art students.
Of course, Hilton is a ubiquitous brand, but its Old Town branch, situated a stone’s throw from Namesti Republiky, largely manages to avoid feeling generic. The Art Deco themed décor in the lobby, bar and restaurant harks back to Prague’s interwar golden era of decadent hotels (see the fantastic Bohumil Hrabal novel I Served the King of England), and the breakfast buffet is heaving with goodies to sate your hunger before a day of sightseeing.
The wooden sign outside this renovated farm building announces that U Raka is ‘romantika,’ and the adjective is well merited. Ensconced at the end of a of cobbled lane in the picturesque Novy Svet district near Prague Castle, yet still inhabited by locals, this six-bedroom guest house really does feel as though it’s been airlifted whole from an eighteenth century Bohemian village. The courtyard is an oasis of calm; the abundance of original features means the whole venue oozes period charm.
Housed in one of Mala Straná’s former monasteries, Mandarin Oriental’s Prague hotel is replete with historic ambience: note, for example, the vaulted ceilings in the Spices restaurant chock-full of cosy nooks and crannies. Take a yoga class in the newly refurbished spa, once a chapel; admire the gothic foundations through the glass floor as you perfect your downward dog. The outstanding service will make you feel like a VIP even if you don’t opt for the Presidential suite with its sizable private terrace, offering both seclusion and jaw-dropping views.
If you’re only here for the beer, that’s frankly a shame, as the Czechs are also a nation of great wine producers. High up on a hill above Chateau Troja, Salabka is best known for its gourmet restaurant which features wine from its own adjacent vineyard. It also boasts six apartments with exposed beams and stylish décor. Lose the hoards at this chic, off-the-beaten track venue.
A relatively recent arrival on the Prague Hotel scene, the 57-room BoHo offers a discreet bolthole tucked away down a side street opposite the Czech National Bank, a mere stone’s throw from the Old Town’s sights. As a design hotel, understatement is the order of the day décor-wise with a colour palette comprised mostly of muted greys; this contributes to the chilled vibe in a venue which boasts a library as well as an impressively well-stocked bar.
During the dark days of Communism, Hotel Jalta was the place for foreign visitors to lay their heads—and as such the ideal site to install a Czech secret police listening post in the basement. This is now part of a fascinating museum which guests can access for free. Luckily, despite its past and unlike other hotels on Wenceslas Square, Hotel Jalta is not stuck in a Socialist time warp: the food at restaurant Como, for example, more than lives up to the discerning 21st century traveller‘s expectations.
Žižkov’s TV Tower, once nicknamed the Prague Prick by locals, doesn’t scream opulence. However, the entire top floor of this ugly but distinctive landmark has recently been transformed into an upscale exclusive hotel suite—exclusive because as the name suggests, there’s only one available. Admire the skyline from a unique vantage point in this luxury perch 70 metres above ground; come back down to earth for a beer in one of the neighbourhood’s nearby gritty pubs.