Authentic design

The Prague Post

Crowne Plaza Prague Castle uses surroundings for an unforgettable experience

From a 16th-century monastery building to a communist-era gas station to a luxury hotel, the Crowne Plaza Prague Castle has certainly seen some changes over the years. Located next to Strahov Monastery, up above Prague Castle, the hotel boasts beautiful views and lush surroundings.

The process of turning this charming building into a hotel began in 1992 when a land use decision was first granted. The construction permit was issued in 1995 and, in 2001, following a variety of alterations and designs, the property was approved to become a hotel. Construction finally began in 2005, under the standards of the Intercontinental Hotels Group for the Crowne Plaza hotel chain, and the hotel opened last April.

“The majority of the construction issues had to do with the exterior look of the building,” says Ladislav Kučera, director of sales and marketing for the hotel. “Plus, we added and attached a second building that had to be identical to the original one.”

The original building is believed to have been the monastery’s stables. It now houses the lobby, reception area, lobby bar, restaurant and 30 guest rooms. The long, wide-open space is at once welcoming and comfortable. Cream walls, chandeliers and matching wall scones set the tone for a certain understated class. Warm colors dominate, burnt oranges, beiges and golds decorate the upholstered furniture and curtains. The front wall is lined with French doors, a decorating touch that adds both interest and natural light.

“I’ve seen a lot of hotel lobbies, and this lobby is very personal,” Kučera says. “It has charm and atmosphere. If I’m looking for privacy, I can find it [here], but it can also accommodate a large group of people.”

The lobby bar is located to the right of the reception area and offers a dark wood bar with high-backed chairs as well as couches and tables for a more intimate drinking experience. At the end of the long room is Senses Restaurant. Large stain glass butterflies hang from the ceiling, pale orange furnishing brighten the sponge-painted beige walls. Here again, the French doors add to the décor. In the summer, they open to allow for dining on the terrace.

The new building is attached in an L-shape to the original structure. Upon leaving the lobby, you enter the library. A small but comfortable space, Kučera says it acts as an extension to the lobby bar. A moss-colored mural of a forest dominates one wall, while book-lined shelves cover two others. A fireplace makes the space cozy in the winter, while a huge skylight and sunburst carpeting make sure the library is always brightened by warmth. The architects took the good idea of a skylight into the meeting rooms as well. Both are adorned with large skylights to let in natural light but have quick-closing curtains to block light for AV presentations. Much thought went into the chosen design and colors.

“We took a step back from the modern design hotels,” Kučera explains. “We thought of the area itself and how to fit the interiors with the sense and history of the monastery.”

Indeed, the Strahov Monastery is something the hotel can’t escape. The UNESCO-protected building is bordered on all three sides by the monastery’s property and bumps up against the Hunger Wall, which was built during the reign of Charles IV. The sense of peace surrounding the monastery extends into the hotel’s property. This emotion influenced the designers.

“We used warm colors throughout the hotel and original artwork in every guest room,” Kučera says. “We also used only natural products, from hardwood furniture to lots of glass and metal.”

The guest rooms are heavy on the oranges and beiges. The carpets have a fun daisy motif, and the lamp shades are red, an almost startling color compared to the muted background. The shades nicely pick up the bright red in the room’s artwork, which massively hangs over the bed. Each is an original. It took the Austrian artist commissioned to do the work about a year and a half to paint them all, according to Kučera.

The guests rooms, some of which come with their own terraces, are each slightly different as the structure could not be substantially changed. But this allows for the original ceiling beams to peek through.

Another unique feature is the hotel’s Aruyeda Spa. Kučera says this is the first actual Aruyeda Spa in the Czech Republic.

“When we thought of the whole hotel concept, we realized we have access to nature for those who want to exercise,” he explains. “We wanted more of a place to relax, a Zen atmosphere.”

The hotel brought a doctor and family from Sri Lanka to manage the spa. Kučera says it has become more interesting for the local population than for their guests. The space is comforting and welcoming. Equipped with massive carved wooden massage beds and a relaxation room, this natural spa has just about everything a stressed soul needs to unwind.

Warm colors, natural materials and a sense of history and peace from the neighborhood around, Crowne Plaza Prague Castle is a lovely property for a quiet and rejuvenating visit.