A hotel for all humors

The Prague Post

New hotel uses technology, lighting and color to set the mood

What’s your mood today? Fancy a pink-lit bedroom and breakfast at 2 p.m.? It can happen for guests at Moods, a new boutique hotel in Prague 1.

“It’s completely different,” says Nah-Dja Tien, general manager. “It’s one part interior design; the second part is service and the third part technology.”

The design is equal parts bold and soft, full of natural materials and memorable highlights. Moods is also totally “connected,” including having its own app you can download to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Service is 24-hour everything: reception, bar and breakfast.

“The idea behind Moods is moods – color, light, food and beverages,” Tien says. “We wanted to create a hotel people will remember.”

Entering through the huge glass doorway, guests are welcomed in the calming lobby area. Immediately to the left is a stone-and-moss covered wall, which the staff spent four days gluing together by hand. “We wanted a natural touch,” Tien explains. The floors and ceiling are a basic gray concrete, while the wall behind the reception area (a simple long wooden desk) is bamboo, cut at an angle and individually glued to the wall. The front wall is all glass windows, flooding the area with natural light. A simple series of brushed stainless-steel spotlights adds light around the perimeter.

Over the course of two years, the original building was reconstructed, and a new building was added. The original contains 30 guest rooms, reception, bar, conference room and massage rooms, while the new building consists of 21 more guest rooms. Heading back from the lobby, you enter a darker bar area that then opens onto a bright winter garden. Be sure to notice the interestingly styled lamp hanging over a small booth seating area; it matches the design of the front of the bar. Tien says they made them both out of squished paper. Artemide lights on the right side stretch out over individual tables. The side wall here is unique – a pattern sandblasted into the concrete. The back of the bar is the bamboo concept replicated from the lobby. The winter garden is replete with light, filling the gap between old and new buildings.

Going downstairs to the conference and massage rooms, you’ll notice printed words replicated on the stairway. They are from a book, The Three Golden Keys, by Czech author Petr Sís. The book tells the story of his childhood in Prague through beautiful illustrations and minimal text. Designers used the story throughout the hotel, Tien says, “to make the hotel memorable, give people something a little different.” The first few words of a sentence are written above each guest room door, and the phrase is continued in longer form above the bed. The final words are replicated on the shower screen in the bathroom. Tien says if you slept in rooms 1 through 51, you could read the entire book.

“To compete with the hundreds of other hotels in Prague, you have to do something special,” he says. “The book incorporates a bit of the traditional into the modern.”

Roman Vrtiška and Vladimír Žák, the architects charged with the project, are “two enormously creative guys who didn’t want to make anything the same, so you’ll see a lot of variation on the same concept,” Tien says.

The massage rooms are mixed, either stone or wood, with black walls and a wood floor. The conference room or conference “lounge,” as Tien prefers to call it, is simple and open with natural illumination from skylights. The ceiling is a series of overlapping circular disks, and the seating is a cubed concept. Ninety-degree-angled cloth-covered cushions can be fit and stacked against the wall or pulled out as needed for seating or other purposes.

While the public spaces of the hotel are fairly muted, the upstairs bursts into a riot of color. Each floor has a designated hue, from bright pink to sunshine yellow to vivid turquoise. Stepping into your room is a bit calmer; most of the colors here are natural: wood floors, white walls, chocolate-colored curtains and duvets. The headboard is a turquoise cushion, and guests have the opportunity to choose and change the lighting behind it. Furnishings are creamy plastic and modular; big windows let in lots of light. The overhead lamp isn’t fixed, but stretched and moveable. Technology is a given here – a set of ports is neatly hidden on the side of the desk where you can upload, download, recharge or whatever. Bathrooms are tiled in gorgeous gray Italian slate stone, with big mirrors and a handy counter connected to the free-standing square basin.

“We wanted to be as innovative as possible,” Tien says. “Hotels are basically all the same, we wanted a different way of doing things.”

Moods is different, indeed, right down to the room service. There’s a Post-it note printed with the menu which you simply stick on your door. Need a quiet night? Flick a switch and a small square panel outside your door lights up red and says “Do not disturb.” Turn it the other way and it glows green, letting the maid know the room is ready to be cleaned.

Tien says with all these idiosyncrasies, Moods is more than just a place to rest between sightseeing or business meetings.

“We really wanted people to have something to think about,” she says. “People are looking for an experience, not just somewhere to sleep.”