Story & Photos by Professor Barry Goldsmith
Additional Photos provided by The Corinthia Hotel Prague and Barbara Angelakis
Corinthia Hotel Prague
Praha 4, 14069
What's the best way to take in the glories of Prague every day (and night); explore a terrific neighborhood overlooked by many tourists; and be pampered with old-world service?
A stay in the luxurious 5-star Corinthia Hotel Prague!
I’ve visited Prague many times -- even before the “Velvet Revolution” in 1989. And I’ve stayed at many hotels downtown. In the last decade, Prague has rightly become one of the world’s most popular tourist cities -- and downtown has become busy 24/7. So after a hectic day of exploring and sightseeing, returning to the peace and quiet at the Corinthia Hotel is a perfect way to balance a visit -- business or vacation -- in the delightful captial of the Czech Republic.
If you love Prague as much as I do – and intend on returning -- here’s advice I’ve given many times in my Been There, HAVEN’T Done That monthly travel column (soon to be a weekly radio show) try a different hotel in a different neighborhood. That way you’ll see many great new sites the minute you step foot out the door. And nowhere is that more relevant than the Vysehrad section of Prague – the Corinthia Hotel Prague’s wonderful neighborhood.
In fact all of Prague can be seen from Corinthia's top floors and a good way to orient yourself is from the 22 floor Executive Club where you can enjoy spectacular views of Prague including Europe’s largest palace complex – Prague Castle on the hill – as well as Prague’s Lesser Town and Old Town. Or, at the Apollo Day Spa & Pool on the 26th floor with its 360-degree views over the city.
Just a few blocks from the hotel is the oldest church in Prague – the well-preserved 1,000 year-old Rotunda of St. Martin. There’s also the church of St. Peter & St. Paul with the adjacent cemetery -- the final resting place of many illustrious Czechs such as Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetena, Alphonse Mucha.
There’s Cubist Painting, Cubist Sculpture and something found only in Prague – Cubist Architecture. The Cubism you can actually visit. And if you love unique culture, the Prague hotel that’s closest to Cubist Architecture – virtually surrounding it – is the Corinthia Hotel Prague.
And you’ll avoid the congestion of downtown traffic by taking the Metro – just steps outside the hotel’s front door – and in minutes you’ll be in the center of it all – Prague’s Wenceslas Square (only two stops away).
The location is not the only reason to stay at the Corinthia Hotel Prague; the minute you enter, you sense a combination of style – classical with modern -- beautifully realized by the recent redecoration of the lobby. The lobby’s chandeliers exemplify that trend-setting look. The chandeliers, a modern, inverted clean pyramidal shape, is composed of hundreds of individual Bohemian crystals. The lobby’s luxurious surfaces include rich marble flooring and abundant redwood paneling promoting an overall feeling of warmth with elegance.
Yet the Corinthia Hotel Prague is far from stuffy – literally or figuratively. It’s redesigned dining room on the second floor – where the sumptuous breakfast buffet is served – is named, ‘Let’s Eat.” An even more apropos name would have been, “Let’s Eat Well.” For that’s exactly what I did every day. The lavish buffet featured the usual breakfast foods plus much, much more and created a positive beginning to each day.
People who have traveled on my press trips and commercial tours know that I’m an expert in one type of cuisine – desserts. Kudos to award-winning Pastry Chef Krofta, his New York cheesecake is better than any cheesecake I ever ate in New York. Residing on the “executive floor” I was at once delighted by being regularly “desserted” in the Executive Club – and if it weren’t for burning off excess at the well-equipped gym, the Prague Hotel’s desserts would have been much more than a memory – permanently much, much more.
The main restaurant, Lounge 62, named after the year of the founding of the Corinthia Hotels in Malta, is a great place for lunch created by Chef Richard. Lounge 62 is renowned for its high-tea and its extensive wine list. And for other dessert-aficionados – the best dessert wines.
If you miss New York’s Four Seasons’ Grill Room – you’ll love the Corinthia Hotel Prague’s Grill Room. *
If you get a craving for Chinese cuisine there’s Rickshaw –the award-winning Eastern cuisine restaurant offering many tempting Asian dishes. And because room service is 24/7 you can get Chinese food delivered – (again) just as New Yorkers do.
Here’s an additional advantage to staying at the Corinthia Hotel Prague if you’re traveling alone for leisure – or on business (the hotel connects to Prague’s largest convention center) – you'll always find compatriots to talk to if you desire. The Corinthia Hotel Prague is a choice hotel of Viking Cruises a “proud sponsor” of PBS’s MASTERPIECE, a series of outstanding, hugely popular TV dramas. So there’s an opportunity for conversing with like-minded travelers while having breakfast or sitting in the lobby. https://www.vikingcruises.com/
And speaking of quality --the service at the Corinthia Hotel Prague is the best I have ever experienced in Prague – or anywhere else in Europe. Everyone from the porter to every concierge goes beyond expectations. They even anticipate your questions and requests. And that level of excellence comes from the top – General Manager Eric Pere, with whom I had the pleasure of meeting when he was GM of The Corinthia Hotel St. Petersburg when I organized and led a press trip there. GM Pere, personally replies to guests’ evaluations on TripAdvisor – a personal touch that extends to the entire staff.
I’ve compared the Corinthia Hotel Prague to other hotels and feel it stands alone in many respects. They offer a generous bonus plan for staying extra nights; for every night you spend at the Corinthia Hotel Prague, you get a free sightseeing tour. My favorite bonus complimentary tour was visiting the top of the Old Town Hall Tower – where you get great photos of the Old Town Square plus photos of crowds below watching the famous clock strike the hour.
Here’s one of my Been There, HAVEN’T Done That sightseeing tips. If you visit the Old Town Tower – make sure you’re up in the tower a few minutes before the clock strikes the hour – you’ll get to see the moving figures at lifesize – parading around on their drycleaner-like conveyor belt.
* EDITORS NOTE: On my recent visit to Prague I had the pleasure of dining at The Grill where, like Barry's cheesecake experience, I had the best steak tartar I ever had. It was a towering mound of succulent beef mixed with traditional ingredients and served on toasted sour dough bread rubbed with fresh garlic... outstanding! I continued with their House signature dish of porterhouse pork chop with garlic confit, creamy spinach, coleslaw and Lyonnaise potatoes, which was perfect for a man-sized appetite but was a bit overwhelming for me after that amazing steak tartar. Undaunted I moved on to a rubarb tart with blood orange ice cream. Kudo's to the kitchen.
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