In the U.S., when a hotelier wants to impress customers with the
famous guests that have stayed at the hotel you are likely to hear
about Madonna, or Britney or Brad and Jennifer. (Or should that be
Brad and Angelina?) In Prague, you might just find out a Czar slept
here as in the Czar. Now that’s star power.
In fact, because most of Prague was spared bombing during World
War II, the architecture and history of this European Capital is
well preserved. You could be walking down the street and come
across a concert hall where Mozart performed.
Unfortunately, while many of the city’s buildings survived WWII,
the influence of Soviet architecture is another story. The Soviet
era left a number of buildings, including some hotels, looking more
akin to grim office buildings. On the bright side, the Czech
tourism industry has been booming practically since the day the
Berlin Wall fell, so there has been ample time and motivation to
rebuild or renovate. Agents therefore should not judge a book by
its cover, and remember that fortunately, guests can’t see the
outside of the hotel while they are inside enjoying it.
Here then are a few hotels participating in ASTA’s International
Destination Expo. The organization reportedly has 1,000 rooms
blocked for the IDE and current registration was at 500 agents, so
there should be plenty of space for attendees. Check ASTA’s Web
site for negotiated room rates.
(Note: Another important fact to keep in mind is that Prague
officials have promised free public transportation via a commuter
pass for all IDE attendees. This makes all the hotels below even
more convenient to the Congress Centre.)
Probably the most ideal location for the IDE is either close to
the sights of Old Town Prague, or close to the Exhibition Center.
When it comes to the latter, you can’t beat the location of the
Holiday Inn Prague Congress Centre, as it is literally steps from
the center’s doors.
And this is not your typical Holiday Inn either.
Built in 1999 especially for the International Monetary Fund and
World Bank meetings, from the first moments in the lobby, guests
will be struck by a sophisticated design sense that seems more at
home with a boutique hotel than a Holiday Inn. In particular, the
hotel restaurant, Cafe Restaurant Esprit, is a striking setting for
meals and intimate cocktail parties especially the recently
finished summer garden room, which can either have glassed-in walls
or can open up to the outdoors.
The 251 guestrooms are well appointed and comfortable, with
modern decor. Amenities include satellite TV, a pillow menu, a
small complementary gym and more. High-tech security touches
include a special door-key-and-safe system with sensors that help
detect intruders. There are also 50 executive rooms and eight
suites in the six-floor hotel, but the added features here didn’t
seem especially worth the extra expense to us.
In addition to being next door to the Congress Centre, the hotel
is only two stops by metro to Prague Old Town area.
Located directly across a roadway from the Congress Centre, the
Corinthia Towers doesn’t look like much from the outside, but on
the inside this hotel has everything a guest could want from an
upscale business hotel.
Built in 1988, this 24-floor hotel has 544 rooms and 39 suites.
While the rooms and public spaces are all top-notch, the hotel has
two unique features that really make it stand out. First, is Level
25, the top-floor health and fitness center complete with an indoor
pool surrounded by windows that look out over the city (around $14
for a day pass for guests). The second special feature is the Beer
& Bowling restaurant on the lower level. This classic sports
bar features two, 10-pin bowling lanes right inside the bar, making
it a popular weekend hangout for locals.
A little farther from the congress hall, but within walking
distance of the city center, the 788-room Hilton Prague is the
largest five-star hotel in the Czech Republic. The Hilton has been
the home hotel for a string of major international events and has
hosted a wide range of foreign leaders, including President
While many of the hotel’s guestrooms are in need of an update,
Hilton is planning to renovate all the rooms by 2007. For now, the
best rooms in the hotel are on the Executive levels. These rooms
not only have separate check-ins and a well-appointed lounge solely
for Executive level guests, but the rooms themselves are very nice.
In fact, these rooms have the decor that will eventually be used in
the rest of the hotel after the renovation.
The Hilton has all the standard features guests would expect
from a premier property, including the Cybex health club and spa,
one of the most modern fitness centers in Prague.
The Hilton also has a Duty Manager on the premises 24 hours a
day whose job it is to handle any guest situations that may arise,
including medical, legal or security problems.
Prague's hotels offer something for everyone.
For those looking for a more intimate hotel, one full of
old-world charm, the Hotel Paris will not disappoint.
Originally built in 1904, the hotel has had only two owners in
its 100-plus-year history. The hotel’s 86 guestrooms were renovated
this year, and throughout the historic property, guests will find
unique Art Nouveau details.
Though the hotel is over 100 years old, rooms have all the
modern conveniences including satellite TV, high-speed Internet and
in-room heating and air conditioning. There is a small, but well
designed spa in the basement, and on the ground floor there is the
stylish Sarah Bernhardt Restaurant and a charming cafe and bar that
is great for coffee or cocktails.
One of the hotel’s greatest draw, however, is its location right
in the heart of historical Prague only minutes away from the Old
Town Square and other important sights.
Another hotel in the heart of the city center is the venerable
InterContinental Prague. Built in 1974, the exterior might seem a
bit dated, but inside, the hotel has all the upscale details one
would expect from an InterCon.
The hotel features 372 rooms, including 89 suites, each equipped
with all the standard amenities. Of special note are the
restaurants, with one of the best buffets in Prague as well as
several other eateries.
The real highlight of the hotel, however, is its Zlata Praha
restaurant on the top floor. This fine-dining restaurant features
incredible views of Old Town Prague from both inside, and outside
on the open-air terrace. The terrace is also a great place for
sunset cocktails. Even locals consider the view from the restaurant
one of the best in Prague.
Attendees to the IDE should be treated to some fine dining during
the expo courtesy of Sanjiv Suri, president of the Zatisi Catering
Group. Suri is in charge of catering at the Congress Centre, and is
also one of the hottest restaurateurs in Prague. He and his team
have prepared meals for a wide array of foreign dignitaries.