Steeped in history, this European city of a hundred spires, seems to have frozen in time. As one walks along the charming pebbled streets, one cannot help falling in love with the beautiful Gothic churches, the Baroque buildings and the red-roofed homes. With a special place in our hearts for this city, which has culture at its core, Laveena and I were lucky to have returned to Prague after a wonderful stay at Chateau Mcely (Pampered like Royals at Chateau Mcely).
Our hotel, The Mandarin Oriental, perfectly mirrored the endearing images and the architectural diversity of Prague. Located in a quiet and quaint part of Mala Strana, on the corner of two narrow cobblestone streets, the hotel is actually a 14th century monastery, which transports guests into an almost gentle spiritual past. The rooms are spacious and fascinate you with their mix of Renaissance and Baroque styles. Beams and arches which are typical of monasteries have been left as is, as part of the new design. At this address, a wonderful piece of preserved history, luxury stands out and makes guests feel relaxed and special.
The staff at The Mandarin Oriental understand hospitality, as they went far and beyond to make us feel welcome and comfortable at the hotel where period design and contemporary finishes work really well together. Our suite, located along a long corridor, reminisce of its ecclesiastical past, was one of 99 at the hotel. It was spacious with parquet flooring which we were told was several centuries old. The room was very well decorated and had elements of prestige and chic design. From our window, we had a lovely view of the Monastery gardens and of Prague Castle, the cities most visited monument. When we did step out for lunch, we realised how well located the hotel was, just a few minutes walk from the Vltava river and the famous Charles Bridge and not far from several other magnificent historical sights including The Saint Nicholas Church. The polished limestone bathrooms were grand with underfloor heating and soft comfortable bathrobes.
Before heading to the hotel bar that evening, Laveena and I stepped out for a walk around the lovely property. What caught our attention, the moment we walked into the tranquil spa at the Mandarin Oriental, was the glass floor beneath which are the remains of a renaissance chapel.
We were told that during restoration, the workers stumbled upon the ancient remains of a church and the designers decided to preserve the original look. We were fascinated and couldn’t resist booking a treatment for ourselves in this marvellous historical Gothic spa which stocked the wonderful Mcely range of products. After taking in more of this fabulous hotel property, we headed to the Spices Bar where we enjoyed a delicious Pinot Noir. When one sits back, in a relaxed frame of mind, one cannot help but appreciate the fact that you are in a former monastery which has been converted into an absolute gem of a luxury hotel right in the heart of a fairy tale city.
We headed out for dinner and were lucky to stumble upon a fine dining restaurant, less than a 100 meters down the road from our hotel. Restaurace U Marilu, is the oldest restaurant in the Czech Republic. Located in a quiet square, the restaurant, first opened its kitchen way back in 1543. The dining area is beautiful; the vaulted ceilings are painted with magnificent frescos, and the tables finely dressed and attended to by professional, attentive waiters. We loved the food, the presentation and the theatrics behind the experience. Emperor Rudolph II himself dined here on recommendation from his royal staff and Chef Miroslave Dolezal, made sure that we too feasted and were made to feel like royalty. For starters, I ordered that caviar beluga with creme fraiche, billed egg and potato pancake, while Laveena had the Lobster bisque. And for our mains, while Laveena had the Duck Duet – confit duck leg and grilled duck breast with red cabbage and potato dumpling, I had the grilled beef entrecôte with sauce bordeleaise. We shared the Chateaubriand which was excellent.
Given the location of our hotel and the cool autumn weather, we decided on a post-dinner walk across Charles Bridge to the Old Town square, before returning to our elegant and luxurious hotel for a good nights rest. The breakfast at The Mandarin Oriental, Prague is served at the Spices restaurant. It has a stunning Renaissance-style vaulted ceiling and arches and columns which gives one the feeling of being in a Dominican monastery and yet, it blends so well with the contemporary interior design.
Our stay at the Mandarin Oriental was more than luxurious. The fact that there was history attached to nearly every corner of every corridor, made the stay even more meaningful. But what stands out best, is the fact that this lovely hotel, has managed to retain many of its original flourishes which makes for an inspiring experience.