Where to stay: CZECHIA
A unique piece of architecture, Hotel Ještěd is part of the television tower built in the second half of the 1960s on top of the 1.012 metre high Ještěd mountain, overlooking Bohemia, Poland and Germany. Designed by architect K. Hubacek, the shape was chosen as it extends the silhouette of the hill and moreover resists the extreme climate conditions on the top of the hill.
Czech designer Daniela Hradilová is a wanderer between the times. At the foot of the Western Carpathian Mountains, she creates holiday retreats that combine tradition and modernity in a virtuoso way. Together with her husband Peter Hradil, she has added a fifth “room” to her Mezi Plutky boutique hotel: the holiday home called Mezi Lukami (Czech for “between meadows”), located within walking distance of the guesthouse.
In 2002 a British couple, Angie and Neil Harbury, commenced a reconstruction of this historic building and turned it into a luxurious, 22-room boutique hotel. The distinctive rooms feature original oil and acrylic artwork, antique furniture, fossils, etched or stained glass in doors, hand-blown glass lampshades and colourful mosaic borders to mirrors creating a unique atmosphere. There is a restaurant and bar.
An one hour's drive to Prague, in the heart of the Bohemian-Moravian highland, Chateau Herálec is a luxury boutique hotel situated in the village of the same name. The renovated castle kept all of its original details, but was complemented by a cutting-edge contemporary interior. Surrounding the castle is a landscaped English-style park housing many bird species.
Long Story Short is a casually hip hostel in the Czech city of Olomouc. Located in the old town, it is a short meander away from the main square and other ecclesiastical sights such as the Holy Trinity Column. The hostel is set in a 17th-century horseshoe-shaped building that was used for military purposes. Inside, the restored building shows original details combined with a mix of (mostly Czech) vintage furnishings and simple materials such as wood, metal and concrete.
Set within the Čeladná golf course is the Miura Hotel, an avantgarde design hotel with a world-class art collection, including works by Andy Warhol and Damien Hurst. Unique are the giant statues by Czech sculptor David Černý, which seem to crawl along the hotel’s walls. Designer furniture by Moroso, Kartell and Pedrali -and specially commisioned furniture by Czech designer Vladimír Ambroz- adorn the rooms.
A design boutique hotel located in Čeladná, among the bucolic forests and meadows and, against a backdrop of the looming Beskydy Mountains. Set in a 200-year old house the property has been restored by its owner creating a personal and authentic vibe. Original stone floors and timber-beamed ceilings set the tone for a simple, homey design of Scandinavian-style furnishings and free-standing bathtubs in natural materials and a low-key brown, grey and white colour palette.
The wide wooden staircase that leads up to reception is one of several original touches that have been preserved in the original UNESCO-listed building, which dates back to the 16th century (replacing a 13th-century one that previously burned down). Corridors are lined with black carpets and dotted with historic photos; decoration throughout is fairly minimal, though of a decent standard. The 10 rooms are ultra spacious.
A renovation and rebrand of the former Sheraton Hotel. Set in an original Art Nouveau building, the hotel preserves historic features while adding a modern finish to its interior. All 160 rooms and suites are beautifully appointed in a blend of elegant and contemporary design, dipped in a classical color palette of navy blue and grey tones with many copper and marble accents.
One of Prague's first design boutiques, Hotel Josef still holds its own amidst rampant competition. Come here for a good location on the edge of the pretty Josefov quarter and a slick interior by London-based architect Eva Jiricna, top-notch breakfast, an in-house bakery and bar, and warm, personable service. There's a lot of glass used throughout, with minimal design furnishings and neutral sandy tones throughout broken by comfortable furnishings (chairs, bedding) in punchy oranges and reds.
The core of the hotel dates from the 14th-century and is named after famous Czech writer, poet and art critic Jan Neruda, who actually lived in the building during the 19th-century. The tasteful and swanky interior was created by architect Borek Sipek and designer Barbora Skorpilova, who have carefully matched the building’s historic stone and wood elements with a mix of modern and antique furnishings that dot the hotel’s comely little nooks and crannies as well as the rooms.
The Three Storks is a luxury design hotel set in a former Augustinian brewery from the 14th-century. It is located in Prague’s Lesser Town, near the Valdštejn Palace. The famous Prague Castle is just a 5-minute walk up the hill. Contemporary rooms come with designer furniture, ultra-modern bathrooms and views over the city's red rooftops. The hotel's historic Wallenstein Restaurant serves fine wines and numerous gourmet Czech specialities.
Alongside the railway station park nicknamed Sherwood, on account of its former reputation for sheltering thieves, this new boutique hotel is part of a small chain (four in Prague, one in Olomouc). The design theme is retro chic – with rooms featuring custom-made furniture, an array of mirrors, lights and tiny red curtains – and conjures up the atmosphere of a theatre dressing room. It doesn’t yet have its own breakfast bar but organic teas and sweets on arrival make for a welcoming touch.
Fans of Prague’s Maximilian have long prized both its central location – opposite the Haštal church and within easy reach of the Old Town Square – and its quiet fusion of a decorative pile built in 1903 and a newer block in 1995 when the hotel first opened. The biggest changes have taken place in the ground floor with the insertion of a new café and bar, brasserie, library and courtyard.
Prague is a city that, for various world-historical reasons, sat out the heyday of Fifties and Sixties modernism. So when a hotel like the Vintage Design Hotel Sax ventures down the retro-modernist road, it does so with a special vigor. A couple of present-day Czech architects have transformed this centuries-old building into a boutique-hotel fantasy, almost a movie-set world full of vivid colors, bold prints, and classics of mid-century furniture design.
Buddha-Bar Hotel is a seductive, luxury boutique hotel located in the vibrant heart of Prague, close to Old Town Square and the fashionable Parizska shopping street. Rooms have dim lighting and sensual colour schemes, with hi-tech touches like bedside buttons to close the curtains. Red lacquer-ware closets, dragon murals and rich textiles create an Oriental feel, and the swish and spacious bathrooms have large bathtubs and Japanese toilets.