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the luxury hotels of Prague

the luxury hotels of Prague

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Old Oct 11, 13, 1:18 pm
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the luxury hotels of Prague

I last visited Prague 4 1/2 years ago and made site inspections of the Four Seasons and the Mandarin Oriental (as well as a couple of 4* properties). See that report here. I revisited these two hotels this week and additionally made a site inspection of The Augustine. Here are my impressions of these hotels. As always, these are my subjective opinions of the room product; others' aesthetic tastes may differ.


Four Seasons Prague

Four Seasons is the consummate luxury hotel in Prague. If you are a fan of Four Seasons, this is one of their very best properties. The lobby is large and impressive, guestrooms are comfortable with all the amenities you would associate with FS, the location is convenient to the Charles Bridge and to Prague's Old Town, and the views from Premier Rooms and Suites are astonishing, especially at night.

Four Seasons created the hotel by building a contemporary building to join together three traditional buildings — one Renaissance, one neoclassical, and one Baroque. While getting within the hotel from point A to point B may not be immediately be obviously, arriving guests are always escorted to their rooms, and guests can pretty quickly figure out how to get to where they want to go.

The hotel has undergone a soft goods renovation since my last visit, all to good effect. There are 161 total rooms, including 20 suites and rooms. Rooms in the Modern, Renaissance, Classical, and Baroque buildings now all reflect these styles in the interior design of their rooms. Modern Wing rooms are substantially improved. During my last visit in 2009, I felt these rooms were rather generic Four Seasons room product, but the renovated rooms are now quite visually interesting. The style is young and modern and comes in one of two color schemes: a more masculine black and white scheme or a more feminine red and white scheme. I would not hesitate to recommend the lead-in room product at the Four Seasons Prague.

I stayed in a renovated Renaissance room in 2009, and this continues to be my favorite wing at the hotel. High ceilinged with crystal chandeliers, the rooms are the largest in Prague with large windows, a lot of natural light, and views of historical buildings.

The WOW accommodations in the hotel are Premium River rooms and suites. These are available in either the Modern or Classical wings and offer some incredible nighttime river views of the Prague Castle lit up at night; the best panoramic views even offer a glimpse of the Charles Bridge. I prefer the fresh Modern design to the more formal Classical design, but others may have different preferences. There are only four Baroque rooms occupying the former 18th century Baroque villa — one Superior, one Deluxe, a Baroque Suite, and the Presidential Suite; Baroque rooms have a red velvet look.

We had a superb lunch at Four Seasons new restaurant, CottoCrudo, which replaces their Michelin one-star restaurant Allegro.


The Augustine

Formerly part of the Rocco Forte Collection, The Augustine is now an independent hotel, but it retains the design features of its Rocco Forte heritage — clean, contemporary interiors that harmonize well within the locally historical building in which they are housed. Housed in a 13th century monastery (and still adjacent to an active Augustinian monastery), this hotel opened 4 1/2 years ago in the "Lesser Town" of Prague (the castle side of the Charles Bridge). With just 101 rooms, every room of this boutique hotel is unique.

We loved this hotel and feel it is a quite successful adaptation of a monastery into a luxury hotel. Rooms are spacious, hallways are wide and attractive, and I loved the interior style of the guestrooms (hardwood floors and a color scheme using shades of green, olive, brown, and aubergine). We saw two Executive Rooms and liked them both. The bathroom in the first had a single vanity, step-in shower, and soaking tub ... while the other's bathroom had dual vanities and a shower in the tub ... so it's important to specify your preference when making reservations. The Classic Suite we saw was very large with its living room separated by closing doors from the bedroom; its bathroom had dual vanities, step-in shower, and soaking tub. With 28 lead-in Classic rooms and 42 second-category Executive Rooms, the chances of a Virtuoso upgrade would typically be very good at The Augustine.

We tried their restaurant, Elegantes, for dinner on Sunday night, and very much enjoyed our meal at this elegant, contemporary restaurant. Menu choices were healthy, beautifully prepared, and desserts were definitely worth the calories!


Mandarin Oriental Prague

We stayed at the Mandarin Oriental during this visit to Prague. This is a small hotel with only 99 rooms (including 20 suites), featuring the contemporary Asian styling that Mandarin Oriental is known for. The hotel is built in a former 14th century monastery with a very convenient location, just a two minute walk from the Charles Bridge.

I noted four years ago that only 75% of the bathrooms provide a separate step-in shower and neglected to read my own notes when making my own reservation. It is essential to make your preference known so that you can be blocked in the appropriate room. (I was blocked in a room with a shower in the tub that was difficult to use as the slope of the tub prevented one from standing directly beneath the rainshower).

I would not book a Superior or Deluxe room at the MO. These rooms are quite small. Our Deluxe had no sitting area. While our bathroom had dual vanities, the shower was in the tub and was not well designed. (All Deluxe rooms and up have dual vanities in the bathroom).

On the other hand, I can highly recommend the Deluxe Garden and Deluxe Terrace rooms categories. These rooms are in the new wing, 40 sqm in area, and have a lot of natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows. Bathrooms all have dual vanities, step-in showers, and soaking tub.

Here’s a tip for getting free internet at the MO Prague. The internet is free in the lobby, bar, and business center. Just ask for an access code... and enter it in your browser. With the code entered, you’ll also have free WiFi access in your room!

Last edited by DavidO; Oct 11, 13 at 1:30 pm
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Old Aug 6, 14, 9:08 am
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Just found this review - very helpful. Thanks. We're debating between the three hotels you mention and an apartment.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 10:58 am
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Originally Posted by dutyfree View Post
Just found this review - very helpful. Thanks. We're debating between the three hotels you mention and an apartment.
I faced the same debate for my anniversary trip (really it was between the MO and the FS).. After initially picking the MO, I researched this further and changed my mind and went with the FS. I'll let you know how things turned out in October...

FDW
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Old Aug 6, 14, 3:23 pm
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Stayed at the Augustine last and really enjoyed it. The dinner at the restaurant was superb but the best thing was the locally brewed beer which in my opinion is the best beer in the world and I have tasted quite a few.
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Old Aug 6, 14, 3:27 pm
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check out http://www.citystyleandliving.com/destinations/page/2/
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Old Aug 6, 14, 3:29 pm
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If you are interested check out http://www.citystyleandliving.com/destinations/page/2/

http://www.citystyleandliving.com/20...zech-republic/

Thanks.
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Old Mar 5, 17, 2:45 pm
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This seems to be the thread for Prague, so will dump in some FS thoughts after a 3 night stay, with a 3rd night cheapest deal. FHR were not able to get the same deal, so I ended up just booking it directly with the hotel. We booked a Renaissance Room, yet upon getting there and not being in love with the room, asked for anything better and were up sold to a River Suite.

Some observations:
  • There was no email address on the website, so my girlfriend used the contact form to send our preference list. Rather than emailing back, someone phoned her and noted it down. All of it was ignored on arrival. Ignoring that, the included amenities were non-existent and just included 2 very small bottles of water.
  • Upon speaking to reception the next day about everything being missed and wanting to move, they showed us the River Suite and we agreed to pay to upgrade it. The natural light coming in and the spectacular views were worth the additional price.
  • Perhaps the only negative is the lack of plugs anywhere, including those by the desk needing you to move the desk to actually plug anything in.
  • They certainly took the complaint of a lack of water seriously, as once moving to our new suite, there was enough water to have prevented the Californian droughts.
  • The reason for choosing FS over Mandarin was simply due to the vitality pool. Yet in a worlds first, the vitality pool was 32C, which was simply far too cold - they should be 35C and above. Leonardo DiCaprio suffered less at the end of Titanic. Making sure this wasn't some freak accident, like I experienced only a few days prior at Whatley Manor, I asked if it was always this temperature and they said yes. Next day I went down and asked someone else and they said it was 28C. All the same, from my large survey of 4 people, we all agreed it was too cold and it made it pointless.
  • The spa is truly beautiful though, even if it serves no purpose beyond being an architectural masterpiece.
  • Whilst out touring Prague, we coincidentally walked past the MO, so went in for lunch and also saw 5 of their rooms, including the penthouse. Even before realising the vitality pool at the FS made the spa area pointless, we both agreed that the MO was a more spectacular hotel, with better rooms, better cuisine and a more modern feel, albeit one without the river views. The penthouse was advertised as €2600/n and with a stay 3, pay 2 offer on, 3 nights here would still be about a 3rd of the price for a similar sized suite in London.
  • Breakfast was ok, without being spectacular
  • Dinner was ok, yet we all felt overpriced compared to other offerings in Prague. George, a steak restaurant, is just 2 minutes walk away and was far superior.
  • Service was completely professional, but they were ~50% occupied and we were in their 3rd best suite, so perhaps some better recognition would have been nice.
  • After checking out, I realised the bill was wrong and emailed them, to which they replied almost immediately that they agreed it was too, so waiting for them to refund it and confirm what it should be. However, the most annoying departure gift was that I paid for a connecting room for my girlfriends parents and even though we stressed 3 times that we were checking out and they were not, they sent a porter up at 5:30am to the wrong room and woke them up.

View from bedroom at night


View


Lobby


View from lobby


View from living room


Water supply


Bedroom


Bedroom


Bedroom


Bedroom


Living room



Living room



Bathroom



Shower


Spa


Spa


Spa


Spa
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Old Mar 5, 17, 2:54 pm
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Sorry you couldn't get FHR amenities with 3rd night free. Just a reminder to all that FSPP amenities do attach to Experience More rates such as 3rd or 4th night free or Resort/Hotel credit.

MO rooms are nice beginning with the Deluxe Garden category and up. I was not impressed with lead-in Superior or Deluxe rooms — smaller, low ceilings, and I remember a shower/tub combo in my Superior room.
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Old Mar 5, 17, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
Sorry you couldn't get FHR amenities with 3rd night free. Just a reminder to all that FSPP amenities do attach to Experience More rates such as 3rd or 4th night free or Resort/Hotel credit.
I didn't even think of that at the time - thanks for the info. It was a last minute booking, so I just asked AMEX to match it the day before arrival. As I booked it one day before going, FS also wouldn't let me add any preferences on the website and instead it gave the wonderful error of "something has gone wrong" and no other info. On the plus side, we arrived late, left early and it included free breakfast, so the main loss was the €85 credit.

MO rooms are nice beginning with the Deluxe Garden category and up. I was not impressed with lead-in Superior or Deluxe rooms — smaller, low ceilings, and I remember a shower/tub combo in my Superior room.
We only saw their top suites and a Deluxe Garden Suite, which I thought were all fantastic. I would be very tempted by their penthouse, although Moser Crystal Suite felt excellent value. The River Suite at the FS truly is a beautiful suite, but you're paying a massive premium for, well, the river view - unsurprisingly. It was typical that we decided to upgrade, as we then spent such little time in the room that it probably wasn't worth it, but I'm still glad we did it and would recommend it.
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Old Mar 5, 17, 5:34 pm
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We must have missed each other by a couple of days. I just came back from FS Prague as well, about a week ago. Sadly when I was there, the vitality pool was closed for 3 days for maintenance. The hotel did not, however, inform me of this detail when I made the booking. To their credit -- the GM, René Beauchamp, mentioned it before arrival.

I am surprised you didn't seem to like FS Prague as much as I did. I thought it was a sublime hotel. But to be frank, your suite - especially the bathroom - gives me an idea as to why. The spa is a jewel, classic Pierre Yves-Rochon, very intimate but of such high quality. I was stunned by both treatments and facilities. My therapist was from FS Ritz Lisbon and executed my treatment to perfection. Would have loved to try the pool, shame it was closed. Did you visit after the maintenance closure? Since the pool is so small, it should be warmer. Not really a lap pool. Odd encounter though with their new spa manager, who just started in January: was in email contact with her and she was hoping to meet or indicated that, but after my treatment she went hiding behind her desk, showing stuff on her smartphone to the team and just wished a good day. Hm, same to you?

I'm a bit disappointed you didn't like the hotel more. I felt so well cared for, the team there seemed great, and I heard many good things about Cotto Crudo but the cuisine is really special there.

It is a typical old-generation FS, but I felt it was a quintessential experience representative of the core values of the group. Despite its age, everything was well maintained. It was quiet during my visit and they carried out works in the lobby around the chandelier, etc.

Had dinner at MO in their Spices restaurant... nothing to write home about. Sampled dishes from all regions of the menu but nothing really stood out, except for the Korean BBQ. It is a former monastery but FS does these better. Felt service was lacking, the staff uniforms were comical and ceilings just too low. Couldn't see where all investment went, also lighting concept should be entirely re-thought. Lobby not my type of place. Blueprint typical MO with the courtyard and protected driveway, same as Milan and Marrakech, etc. Separate spa entrance was nice.

Hospitality landscape of Prague is quite nice, but if I were to return to either hotel, it would be FS. Only thing they could improve is their tea culture. Both spa and F&B outlets including room service have these cheap tea bags. Not even higher quality sachets. That's not tea for me and they should know better. Also, the interior design of Cotto Crudo is a bit disjointed. Design is contemporary and looked Italian to me, although I think both chairs and the dividers were not part of the original design and were an afterthought to bring more structure to the dining room. Needs a bit more investment. What they need is a more secluded lounge, maybe with a Piano. Something that is not part of Cotto Crudo, or maybe even a FS Geneva rooftop style venue. But even now in its current form, I really enjoyed this hotel so much! Must go back there in summer.

Last edited by scented; Mar 5, 17 at 5:44 pm
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Old Mar 5, 17, 9:06 pm
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IIRC there's now a Starwood LC property in Prague. Does anyone know it? Could it be the Augustine? [However, I vaguely had the impression that it was close to the train station and up the hill from the main square and historic center.]
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Old Mar 5, 17, 9:17 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
IIRC there's now a Starwood LC property in Prague. Does anyone know it? Could it be the Augustine? [However, I vaguely had the impression that it was close to the train station and up the hill from the main square and historic center.]
The Augustine is reviewed at the beginning of this thread! Once Rocco Forte, it became independent and is now under Starwood management with the Luxury Collection brand. It's a short walk to the main square of the Lesser Town in Prague.
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Old Mar 5, 17, 9:26 pm
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augustine became starwood jun 2015. since LC, may be franchise, i dont remember if i checked

great reports! at FS wonder if maintenance related to temperature, or it thats just temperature

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Mar 5, 17 at 11:01 pm
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Old Mar 6, 17, 6:20 am
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Originally Posted by scented View Post
We must have missed each other by a couple of days. I just came back from FS Prague as well, about a week ago. Sadly when I was there, the vitality pool was closed for 3 days for maintenance. The hotel did not, however, inform me of this detail when I made the booking. To their credit -- the GM, René Beauchamp, mentioned it before arrival.

I am surprised you didn't seem to like FS Prague as much as I did. I thought it was a sublime hotel. But to be frank, your suite - especially the bathroom - gives me an idea as to why.

I'm a bit disappointed you didn't like the hotel more. I felt so well cared for, the team there seemed great, and I heard many good things about Cotto Crudo but the cuisine is really special there.
I came back yesterday, so we were a mere whisker away from meeting. My feedback is mostly centered around the disappointment of the vitality pool, plus some of the service mishaps. It's always hard to recover from that initial disappointment of getting to a hotel late at night, only to find nothing is setup as you asked. I know a lot of people won't care about a vitality pool in their hotel choice, but we love using them, especially after a long day of walking around the city. We always preferred the look of the MO, so had it down as our preference, but upon finding out they didn't have a pool whereas FS did, we changed our mind. To then go to the MO and feel it was superior cemented that view even more. You live and learn. First I go to Fullerton Bay and order a Jacuzzi room, only for the jacuzzi to be a non-heated bath with bubbles, so I learnt to ask if the jacuzzi can be heated going forward; now I know to ask if the hydrotherapy pool/vitality pool is heated too. As you say, it's not a swimming pool, so I had never thought to ask before as the point of it is to relax, which is surprisingly difficult when you're shivering.

In terms of other feedback, I actually really liked the suite and was very happy with it. The location is unbeatable, the staff took the complaint about lack of amenities very seriously, the level of English from the staff was incredible - better than we have experienced in Paris, and the bathroom amenities were good. I can even live without a city hotel offering amazing food, as there is always choice nearby, although an amazing breakfast never hurt. So it was a good stay, not a great stay. The first impression of them missing everything on arrival and the last of them screwing up the bill and waking up my girlfriends parents probably swayed my view slightly, as did us landing back in London and heading to The Beaumont, where we stayed in their presidential suite. Hard life.
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Old Mar 6, 17, 11:31 am
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maybe check temperatures with management like some here check AC

i'm with you on 'requiring' warmer pool temperatures than most prefer
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