Scotland on Sunday, Do Not Disturb -
Czech out the chic decor
Once you’ve exhausted Prague’s galleries, museums and David Cerny’s sculptures, make your way to the artiest five star retreat in town, The Emblem – a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle Collection.
In conjunction with curatorial collective, Are, its corridors and communal spaces are lined by the work of local creatives, with paintings and prints that pop against the chic dark Art Deco-themed décor.
Along a street that’s studded with design shops and fancy restaurants, this hotel has a prime location near most of the top tourist sites in Prague’s Old Town. For example, it’s barely 30 seconds’ walk to the Old Town Square and the Prague Astronomical Clock.
As you’re in the centre of things, prepare to be jostled by selfie-stick wavers and chimney cake sellers. We were, so the cool modernism of the hotel lobby made us feel like doing a giant yogic exhale, or resting our heads on the swirling marble floors.
With 59 rooms, including suites, this is a mid-sized hotel, but you’ll be anything but anonymous. We were whisked to our room by a lovely and chatty Siberian concierge.
The hotel is designed so you don’t feel as if you’re confined to your room, as there’s an emphasis on communal spaces, with a lounge/library off the lobby, the basement level M Lounge, The M Spa, and the ground floor George Prime Steak restaurant and bar.
Budget or boutique?
The latter. It’s swanky and slick, the sort of hotel to suit those who love design and wear expensive glasses.
Rooms come in five sizes. There’s the Twin Key, with twin beds, Queen Dom, King Dom, Suite Pretender and full-sized Suites. We stayed in a 21-square-metre Queen Dom, decorated in soft greys and mauves, with an unusual print that appeared to feature soap bubbles. It also had a trampoline-soft king-sized bed, walk-in rain shower in the grey-marble-clad bathroom, a comfortable sitting area and a desk. There was a Nespresso machine with pods, tea bags, kettle, safe and lots of hanging space. For techie types, there was free wifi and guests could use one of the mobiles provided.
Wining and dining
If you’re already at peak dumpling (a Czech speciality), visit George Prime Steak, their American-style steakhouse, which also serves cocktails and Californian wines. Try the Bone-In Cowboy Style Rib Eye, which is cooked using their Montague Legend radiant steak broiler, or there’s always the Nova Scotia Lobster Two ways. Yee-ha.
Breakfast is also served in this gilded cigar box of a room, and it’s a goodie, with loads of fresh fruit, cereals, cheese, ham and a bakery’s worth of pastries and breads. Or, from the hot à la carte, you could order the best scrambled eggs in town. If you want to get out and about to eat, we had great meals at affordable independents Nota Bene (notabene-restaurant.cz) and Red Pif (redpif.cz).
Worth getting out of bed for
There’s Charles Bridge, Petrin Hill, Prague Castle and the Vltava river in one direction, and the Mucha Museum, upmarket shopping thoroughfare Parizska Street, the Old Town, the Franz Kafka Museum and, ahem, the Sex Machines Museum at the other side.
Visit the M Lounge for free coffee, tea and soft drinks all day, or gratis wine (!) between 6pm and 8pm.
After pounding the pavements all day long, we appreciated the Kneipp Path up in the M Spa. It involves walking on smooth pebbles in troughs of cold and hot water. Swollen trotters were completely de-puffed. This area also features a sauna, steam room, 24-hour fitness suite, showers, plus a relaxation area with complimentary herbal tea, nuts and fruits, as well as a rooftop terrace with outdoor Jacuzzi (available to hire).
The hotel has a superb location in the Old Town. Our room had a small balcony through French windows and that was fabulous. The service was excellent and we would stay here again.
Prices start from 260 euros per night per room. The Emblem Hotel, Platnersja 19, Prague (+420 226 202 500, www.emblemprague.com). The Emblem Prague is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle Collection, see www.preferredhotels.com