The Intercontinental life

The Prague Post

High-end hotel set to undergo renovations next year

Can something be quiet and classy yet bustling and lively at the same time? Yes if you lead “an Intercontinental life.” That’s the slogan for the worldwide Intercontinental hotel chain – and its Prague locale is doing its best to see that comfort and elegance are displayed here. Opened in 1974 the hotel’s building is historically listed and very little work has been done to its facade or structure. The interiors however have gone through a few renovations and reconstructions over the past 30 years – most recent was a lobby face-lift two years ago that saw the space opened and brightened. The hotel is again gearing up for another big renovation though not all the details have been ironed out yet.

“We’ll start the renovations with the public spaces restaurants and conference rooms then onto the guest rooms” says Petra Davídková the Intercontinental’s public relations manager. “We hope to begin in 2008 and end in 2011.”

The largest reconstruction occurred between 1990 and 1995 according to the hotel’s director of engineering Stanislav Adam. The back areas were all redone. A spa and health club was also added at that time along with some guest room refurbishments.

This latest renovation seems to have everyone excited.

“Plans and expectations are big!” Adam says. “Our regular guests have been waiting so long for these changes – guests like change!”

What the hotel offers its guests now in the way of interiors is a mix of classic and modern – a little old school but bright touches to keep the atmosphere from feeling dour. The lobby itself is basically one large room with a wall of windows. Small pockets of space with strategically placed furniture plants and sculptures give the illusion of separate rooms. This Davídková’s favorite spot.

“It’s the movement” she says. “If there’s no movement it’s a sad hotel but here you can see the people sitting there enjoying it and feeling good.”

To the right from the lobby is the conference and meeting rooms; to the left is the breakfast room an open space facing the street and the hotel bar Duke’s – a small cozy space offering upholstered chairs and small tables when it is time for an intimate drink.

The Primátor restaurant is also on the ground floor. Here the design is a classic-modern combo with wooden chairs brass lampposts and lovely antique-looking furniture. Moving into the second room you’ll see a unique wooden mosaic ceiling and a “greenhouse” dining space. With terrace-type furnishings and a patio feel it’s an excellent example of indoor-outdoor dining.

The hotel has two design elements produced just for them. The first are three large paintings by Czech artist František Ronovský.

In the conference rooms fascinating lighting by René Roubíček offers another interesting talking point. Looking a bit like Medusa’s head – glass tubing snakes around brass highlights – Davídková says each lamp is different. They are huge and add a definite touch of class to what are often dull spaces. The conference portion of the hotel is spacious and well-laid out. Many of the rooms have large windows facing the Vltava and Letná Park.

“There are blue highlights everywhere” Davídková notes. “It’s the color of Intercontinental the color of diplomacy and it’s like the sky. In the meeting rooms with the lighting they are like the sun.”

The hotel’s enviable location at the end of Pařížská Street right next to the river provides fantastic views of the city from all of its seven floors but the best panorama can be seen from the hotel’s Zlatá Praha restaurant.

The long narrow room is dominated by windows and a sweeping view of the Old Town. Round tables lightly touched with cream and melon highlights are arranged to take advantage of this scene. Simple decorations of gold-framed mirrors or paintings and brass-globe lighting quietly enhance.With big plans for some major renovations it will be interesting to see the next phase of this Intercontinental life.

“We want to promote a local experience” Davídková says. “Our standards are worldwide but each experience is local different and unique.”