Bright Dahlia

The Prague Post

New ‘design boutique’ hotel opens in Prague 2, offers sleek, modern style

When you stay at a hotel that describes itself as “design boutique,” you might feel like you are sleeping in a showroom — designed not for relaxation but, rather, to fulfill an architect’s fantasy. Dahlia Inn in Prague 2 opened in June with a very specific market group in mind.

“There are few design hotels catering to a niche clientele,” says Mark Rutland, the hotel’s operations manager. “We had a thought to have affordable accommodation with a design element.”

Dahlia Inn is a small family-run business — Rutland’s mother, Monika, is the owner — which allowed for lots of freedom when it came to designing the hotel.

“We want people to feel good. We say, ‘Four-star luxury for a three-star price,’ ” Monika Rutland says. “We knew something like this didn’t exist.”

The Dahlia is tiny — just eight rooms and a small reception area that is also the hotel’s lobby and breakfast room. But it’s this coziness that completes the family atmosphere the Rutland’s want to emphasize.

You may raise your eyebrows upon entering the hotel’s basic building in New Town. Dahlia Inn signs direct you up the flight of stairs, and the staff has placed black-and-white photos of Prague scenes to make the stark stairwell a bit more welcoming. Upon opening the front door, though, the whole atmosphere changes. You are now in a bright and welcoming space boldly decorated in green and purple. The hotel’s namesake flower is emblazoned everywhere, including a large one behind the green-lit reception desk.

“The reception area came out well. It sets a friendly tone,” Mark Rutland says.

His mother, who was heavily involved in the design of the rooms, agrees.

“We were aiming for modern colors, but with nature and plants,” she explains. “We wanted to have a natural, Zen element.”

The guest rooms are basic with interesting details that show the Dahlia’s claim of being a “design” hotel isn’t just marketing hype. The eight rooms are large and bright. Most have white walls with a huge, colorful dahlia flower to enhance the simplicity. Neutral dark and light beiges cover the beds — key elements here.

“The standard of the rooms is very high, but the beds are the most important,” Monika Rutland says.
“We invested in quality beds, because the guests are here to sleep.”

The floors are a basic wood, and the furnishings are done in a fun, colorful Plexiglas. Silver spotlights light the rooms, and flat-screen TVs adorn the walls — uncommon for a budget hotel. The bathrooms, too, are larger than expected, thanks to a corner shower. They are well lit, and the wall tile and flooring sport a woven-look design.

The lobby doubles as the breakfast room, and tea and coffee are available all day. Plants are strategically placed throughout the rooms and halls, adding to the natural feel Rutland desired.
And why the dahlia flower?

“I think it’s nice to have a flower as a symbol for a holiday,” Rutland says. “We wanted a fresh look, with a color combination of green, violet and white. Plus, it’s a very diverse flower, but we went through about 100 different ones.”

With prices starting at 49 euros a night for a double, guests will have a tough time finding a hotel of comparable quality in the Czech capital.

“I think the important thing is we wanted to create something different in Prague,” says Rutland. “Hotels don’t diverge much from each other, and we wanted a modern feel with a light design.”