Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and the historical capital of Bohemia, is often referred to as the City of a Hundred Spires. As a cultural and political hub of Central Europe, it’s rife with history, much of which is reflected in the variety of architectural styles in the historical center, a UNESCO Heritage site since 1992. Main landmarks include the Old Town Square with the “Orloj” astronomical clock, Wenceslas Square, National Museum, State Opera, Charles Bridge and the Jewish Quarter, with other landmarks such as Prague Castle or the Dancing House easily reachable by public transport.
In the heart of the UNESCO Heritage site is the five-star NH Collection Prague Carlo IV, housed in a heritage-protected neo-renaissance palace. It recently reopened to reveal a restoration and design overhaul to provide upgraded services and an ambience of a past splendor with all the mod cons. Under the creative eye of the heritage office and an international architectural studio, the 152-room hotel’s remastering pays respect to its rich history.
The majestic lobby is an homage to the former bank’s terminal hall, with refurbished wooden frames on the original bank teller’s windows. The ceiling regained its former appearance of square glass panes to emit light. Elegant seating in beige, light grey, and hues of brown and green mirror the earth colors of giant palm trees, which again adorn the lobby as they did when the hotel first opened in 2003. Together with the marble floor, ceiling frescoes and Ionic columns, it presents a timeless look.
The dining venues have also undergone a renaissance. A new lobby bar is a welcome addition to the opulent hall, creating a sophisticated space where guests can unwind while enjoying their favorite cocktails or afternoon coffee, some days with live music. The hotel’s multifunctional restaurant, aptly named “1890” after the year in which the neo-renaissance palace opened as the First Mortgage Bank in former Bohemia, is located just behind the lobby hall. It follows its full length and affords ample space for guests with different seating options and intimate corners. A new menu will concentrate on tasting plates, whereas the 1890 lobby bar menu will offer sharing platters and a new twist on Czech staples.
The top-rated Carlo IV Wellness & Spa facilities received new tiling for its 66-foot-long heated pool and two whirlpools. An updated look is planned this year for the sauna and steam room. And the guest rooms in the historical wing have received a design update while keeping their old-time attributes such as high ceilings, soft wooden floors and marble bathrooms. Tastefully appointed rooms in the modern wing exude casual elegance and the bathroom redesign uplifts the guest experience.
“We wanted to reimagine the place and put the needs of the modern traveler first while preserving the historical elements, making sure there is comfort regardless of whether the guest is travelling for leisure or business,” said Sander Creemers, the Regional Director of Operations, Northern Europe. “The hotel’s transformation was based on our long-term research into new travel trends introducing co-working spaces, gastronomical open spaces with intimate corners and easy access to modern conveniences, such as easy charging in public spaces and guest rooms.”
Maarten Markus, Managing Director Northern Europe at NH Hotel Group notes that the premium NH Collection brand is also embarking on similar renovation projects in their historic hotels in Central and Eastern Europe.
Based in Los Angeles, Vicki Arkoff is Editor at Large for Pursuitist and a founding editor for Holiday Goddess, the online destination for chic women travelers from the editors of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, Conde Nast Traveler, and BBC. Her travel and lifestyle reports can also be been seen in Atlas Obscura, The Awesomer, DaySpa, The Chicago Tribune, CNN Travel, JustLuxe, Lonely Planet, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Toronto Star, WellSpa 360, WestJet Magazine, Where Traveler, Where Guestbook, Yahoo News, and dozens more. She's co-author of the bestselling Holiday Goddess books (HarperCollins and iTunes) including 'The Holiday Goddess Guide to Paris, London, New York, Rome,' a travel Top 10 staple. As editor, Vicki's other books include 'Sinatra' (DK), 'Inside Mad' (Time-Life) and 'Virgin Los Angeles' (Virgin Books). She is one of the Usual Gang of Idiots for MAD Magazine, an entertainment reporter (Daily Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, CREEM), and authorized biographer for pop culture icons from the Beach Boys to Beastie Boys, Paul McCartney to MC Hammer.