New jewel shines in Old Town

The Prague Post

Shimmering Hotel Perla opened its doors to the public in August

Hotel Perla is not just a name — it’s a design inspiration. Originally named for its location on Perlová street in the middle of Old Town, designers from the Mimolimit architecture and design studio took the little jewel to heart and built a contemporary hotel based on its color, shape and the feelings it invokes.

“The basic idea is pearls and their connection with exotic destinations,” says Ondřej Vilímec, Perla’s sales manager. Indeed, practically everything in the newly opened hotel can be traced back to the gem. The reception and lobby area, immediately off to the right upon entering the building, is tiny. Most notable is the reception desk, fronted with huge silver billiard balls. Correction: pearls.

“We don’t have a front desk. We have front pearls,” Vilímec jokes.

Indeed, they do dominate the space but make for an attractive forecourt to a back glass wall, decorated with Asian calligraphy. Mustard yellow and black are the dominating colors, while light is brought in from the street through a large front window, supplemented by cylinder ceiling lamps. Back in the hallway, startling lime green walls escort you on your way to the guest rooms. Burnt red marble takes over, but not in an aggressive way.

The hotel actually comprises two buildings. Building one houses the lobby and reception area, as well as guest rooms and the café. The second building stretches down Perlová, and guest rooms comprise the upper floors with non-related retail space below. The Financia company, which owns the buildings, decided to completely renovate the property and turn it into a hotel. Construction took less than two years, and the Perla opened its doors this past August.

Asian motifs accent the spaces throughout the interiors and the color scheme is a menu of curry, chili, green cardamom, white pepper, ginger and vanilla. Slightly quirky touches are also present, such as the room numbers, which are written in giant script next to the doors. The walls are yellow, the doors are black and the carpet is a swirl of browns, blacks and reds. Dimly lit by pearl-shaped lamps, a consistent design scheme is apparent throughout.

Entering the guest rooms, your eyes are immediately drawn to the pearl mural above the bed. Replicated in each room, there isn’t much need for any other adornment. Silver-balled bedside wall lamps and module-designed furniture are there for necessity, not necessarily decoration. Another consistent feature in every room is a red chair with a weaved bottom. Much more comfortable than it looks, Vilímec says Mimolimit based the design on an ancient Chinese emperor’s throne. Wooden floors contribute to the austere look and also serve a second purpose of making all Perla’s rooms 100 percent anti-allergen.

The café-bar is Vilímec’s favorite space, and the unique decoration dominating the room is why. Based on Chinese parasols, these huge yellow creations are like sun rays beaming down on relaxing guests.

“There are lights inside them, so at night it is warm and cozy,” he says.

Grey-suede-covered couchettes and a mix of black emperor chairs and white upholstered ones are clustered around round tables. The room sits at the corner of the building, offering two walls of large windows.

Even though they’ve been open only for a very short time, Vilímec says the comments from guests on the interiors have been positive.

“And the breakfast,” he adds. “People like the breakfast, but I also think it’s because of the café space. It’s a very pleasant place to start the day.”

Indeed, everything is pleasant and restful, with just a hint of whimsy to keep guests smiling.

“It’s a modern design, but livable with a cozy touch,” Vilímec says. “Sometimes ‘new design hotel’ is a turn-off because it could be cold, but the Perla is warm and cozy.”