The Pachtuv Palace Hotel
comprises two Prague palaces.
It might be a bit more difficult to find
bargains in Prague today than it was a decade ago, when the city
still reveled in the flush of post-Soviet freedom, but the Czech
capital remains an incredible repository of fairy-tale architecture
and quaint cobblestone streets. Along with the charm, a number of
excellent hotels are on hand to serve the meeting attendee.
But the Czech Republic encompasses more than this showcase
city, and since the country joined the European Union in January
2004 (though for now the currency remains the Czech koruna),
increasing numbers of visitors are discovering other areas as
In the Capital
Early next year will see the opening of the 98-room
Mandarin Oriental, Prague. Near the Vltava River
and the historic Charles Bridge, the property began life as a
14th-century monastery. On site will be a spa, a gym, a restaurant,
an elegant ballroom for 100 people and two meeting rooms, each
Another interesting and intimate property is the 50-room
Pachtuv PalaceHotel, which
opened late last year and comprises two palaces, one from the 18th
century that surrounds a courtyard (and once hosted Mozart) and a
later building that faces the Vltava River. The property is adorned
with restored fireplaces, frescos, wooden beams and vaulted
In Prague’s Old Town, the Maximilian Hotel
reopened early this year following a renovation. The vintage 1904
property now looks sleek and modern and offers 71 guest rooms and a
small spa. One meeting room accommodates up to 50 people. Also on
site: a library and a drawing room.
A small and sybaritic spot is the new Residence Hotel
Alchymist, which occupies another of Prague’s opulent,
baroque palaces the U Jezisek. Nine guest rooms opened last
September, while this month will see the debut of an additional 36.
Events can be held in some very ornate public spaces, including an
outdoor courtyard with a fountain.
The country’s western region of Bohemia has long been a mecca for
those seeking the “water cure,” and the legendary spa towns of
Jachymov, Karlovy Vary and Marianske Lazne (better known by its
German name, Marienbad) remain popular.
Following a major renovation, the 168-room
Falkensteiner Grand Spa Hotel Marienbad reopened
in 2004. The art nouveau property dates from 1875 and contains a
25,000-square-foot spa, two luxurious indoor pools and exquisite
event space, including an orangerie and the marble-columned Emperor
Room, which accommodates up to 100 people.
In the east, toward the Slovak Republic in the region known as
Moravia, Brno gives Prague a run for its money as a center of
cultural appeal. The 364-room Hotel Voronez is
ideal for meetings; the property is connected to a congress center
that hosts events of up to 1,000 people.
Access to the city greatly improved in March, when Irish
carrier Ryanair began a daily direct flight from London’s Stanstead
Airport, an initiative that has helped open up some other
interesting Moravian destinations.
Ostrava is one such up-and-coming city, featuring some
wonderful modernist architecture and a trendy nightlife area called
Stodolni, while Olomouc is a medieval town with a thriving
university. Moravia is the country’s main wine region.
Also noteworthy: By 2007, as the Czech Republic melds into the
European Union, the country will have no passport checkpoints
outside of its international airports.