A step above the rest

The Prague Post

Metropol brings austere, modern style to a whole new level

If you’ve strolled right past the Metropol Hotel on Národní street without popping in, you’re forgiven. The lobby and entrance of this new venue are practically hidden behind its onsite café.

The reception desk is tucked away to the side; an interesting detail that was planned, not accidental.

The lobby isn’t divided as it usually is in most hotels, explains Marek Chalupa of Chalupa Architeki, the company that designed and decorated the hotel. “The reception, café and restaurant are an open plan,” he explains. “We did it to save space, to be open and to connect the ground floor to the outside.”

Opened in June, the hotel has 64 rooms spread out over eight floors, a conference room and a sun deck with arguably one of the best views in the whole city.

The Metropol has taken ultra-modern sleek to a new level. There are no paintings on any of the walls; no patterned fabric; not even a wardrobe in the guest rooms.

“It’s a very easy, clean design,” says the hotel’s general manager, Radoslav Dušek. “It’s trendy but not disturbing.”

The open space in the lobby-cum-restaurant is long and narrow. The front café-reception area is kept bright by floor-to-ceiling windows that also double as the entrance doors. Orange and black are the dominant colors here. Black molded plastic chairs coupled with orange-upholstered ones surround tiny stainless-steel tables. A staircase splits the middle of the room, portioning off the back restaurant and bar area. Hanging globe-shaped lamps help to brighten the area. And is that carpet on the walls? Yes, Chalupa says with a smile. The building formerly housed offices and was completely torn down and rebuilt.

“The design theme came from the fact there was not enough space to fulfill the builder’s and owner’s wishes,” Chalupa says. “So our solution was to use inspiration from transport.”

By looking at airplanes, trains, boats and cars, Chalupa realized transit designers had to solve the same problem he had: How does one organize and equip an area when there isn’t much space? Easy — use a lot of curved-shaped details, light colors, soft materials and lots of windows.

Ascending to the guest-room floors is like entering a new building. The hustle and bustle of the street and café are left behind, and you are transported to a calming oasis. Midnight-blue paint covers the walls, the staircase, encased in Plexiglas, dominates the center, with eight guest rooms laid out on either side of it. The dark primary colors continue. Plush carpets that beg for bare toes, bed duvet covers and the curtains enclosing the closet have all received the royal-red treatment. The rest of the cozy rooms’ décor is done up in varying shades of white, chrome and clear. The bedding is white, the chairs are clear Plexiglas and the bedside snake lamps are chrome. Chalupa says everything but the chairs was designed especially for the hotel.

The only “decoration” comes from the flat-screen television set hanging opposite the beds.

The far walls are basically floor-to-ceiling windows, features that highlight Chalupa’s commitment to make the hotel light and airy. The layout is compact and makes the most of its small space, much like a room on a cruise ship.

Another significant feature is the hotel’s sun deck.

“This panorama is one of the nicest views I’ve ever seen,” Dušek says. “There are no tall buildings [to block the view], and it’s so unique and quiet.”

Indeed, from Petrín Hill to Old Town Square’s famed Týn Church, pretty much everything of note on the Prague skyline can be admired from the Metropol terrace.

While Dušek can pick a favorite spot, it’s a little more difficult for the man who has been working on the hotel for more than three years to say what he’s most proud of.

“The whole hotel is one organism,” Chalupa says. “Each space needs the other spaces.”