A Slice of Heaven

The Prague Post

Sheraton finally opens its Karlovo namesti hotel

Like staying at the house of a sophisticated friend with very good taste, the new Sheraton near Karlovo namesti is a pleasing place.

“”The designers wanted a warm, welcoming atmosphere,”” says Michaela Karabcová, the hotel’s public relations manager.

A 21-month reconstruction of four buildings – previously a different hotel and apartments – gave way to 160 guest rooms, including 38 suites, as well as a bar, restaurant and a special for-guests-only rooftop terrace. The interior of three of the buildings had to be completely redone, while certain features of the fourth – the rooms and some mosaic tile flooring and wall moldings – were kept intact.

The beige exterior blends subtly into busy Žitná street, a strip not overpopulated by five-star hotels. Entering the lobby doors immediately seems to transport you far, far away from the hustle of the city center. A long hallway presents a large but not overwhelming space decorated in beige, red and gold, dominated by orchids, unique vases and other decorations. All the wall hangings and other works of art in the hotel’s public spaces are original pieces by German designer Mareile Hellwig.

A check-in with marble desks is available to the left, while the center of the room is comfortably furnished with couches and chairs. Thanks to a skylight, there is a lot of natural light. The hotel employs a slight Asian motif throughout. In the lobby, for example, large wooden-slated partitions break up the space, separating the general bustle of the lobby from a computer/work area.

“”It’s connecting. We don’t want guests to feel lost in the lobby,”” explains Karabcová about how the lobby can look large but still be intimate.

Heading to the right, you encounter a small seating area that extends into the bar. Here, tall cushions are matched with low tables, and a curving couch divides the space. Then you enter Diamonds Bar, a cool place that contrasts with the lobby’s soft scheme. A hot pink background highlights the black marble bar, which has red shades hanging over it. Grab one of the black leather-backed chairs at the counter, and order one of Diamonds’ signature drinks.

A French restaurant, Brasserie Délice, dominates the front of the building. It comprises three separate rooms, which Karabcová says are a bit nicer and more comfortable for guests. Brasserie Délice does indeed have a private feel to it, offering an intimate dining experience. You can get a bit confused passing through, though. There are entrances from the lobby, the bar and the street. Thanks to its street-side location, the restaurant is fronted by windows, offering a nice café feel. Simply decorated and highlighted in reds, the best feature is the lamps: sparkly, white globes swaying slightly from the ceiling.

Also on the ground floor is the Club Lounge for the hotel’s Club members. This is one of Karabcová’s favorite spaces.

“”It has a living-room feel,”” she says. “”I feel at home here.””

Indeed. A couple steps down from the entrance and you are in an inviting space. Creams, grays and browns blend well for a cozy atmosphere that the book-lined walls and comfy furniture only emphasize. For the career-driven, there are work stations with computers, and, for those who want to tune out, a television. The Club Lounge has its own small private breakfast room that’s done in soft greens and brightened by chairs with fun geometric patterns. The lounge also exits onto a private terrace within the courtyard, allowing patrons to enjoy some fresh air.

Being part of a chain, Karabcová says the design and atmosphere are all Sheraton, and everything was done especially for the hotel company, with lots of advice from headquarters. Previous Sheraton guests will be pleased to know, for instance, that their trademarked Sheraton Super Sleeper beds made the trip to Prague. All the beds have crisp white linen for a basic clean look, which belies their super softness.

The rooms themselves are tastefully understated. One junior suite is decorated in mauve shades with cream highlights. The wood is dark, and the furnishings are fun: high-backed chairs that are a bit unexpected for such a low-key design. All the furniture was designed for Sheraton by Jestico + Whiles, a UK company. Another fun element: All the doors have doorbells.

A normal room is done in shades of a restful gray-green, combined again with cream chairs and dark wood furnishings. The bathrooms have very cool sinks: big, square and white, sitting on black marble slabs. Huge mirrors span the wall. Guests on the eighth floor, depending on the angle, may have excellent views of Prague Castle, Petřín Hill and the National Theater.

High 8 is a rooftop terrace open only for guests. Karabcová says that, during warmer months, they will have a bar here and perhaps host special events.

One of the Sheraton’s highlights, in terms of design, is the fitness and spa area: not large, but a completely relaxing and appealing place. Nature seems to be the theme. The color scheme is simple light greens and creams, and the reception desk is fronted in stones. It’s here that Hellwig, the designer, really had some fun: Wooden blocks hold glass flowers, and one wall-hanging is composed of shells. The fitness area has windows to the outside, giving you the feeling you might actually be going somewhere on your stationary bike.

The hotel’s whole vibe is one of laid-black class, and Karabcová says that is the point.

“We hope when guests come to us, they feel welcomed – not by the receptionist, but by the atmosphere and design.”