Discover the delights of Prague from the Marriott’s prime 5* location
By SARAH HENTON
I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that Prague is a destination for those that just want to go on a stag do. I’ve always had this preconceived idea that the place would be overrun by groups of young Englishmen with the simple aim of filling their bellies with as much beer as possible.
Maybe I’m being unfair, but my thoughts of said were compounded when I found ‘Bob’ on my plane avec cohorts, dressed in a small skirt and a bridesmaid headdress, and a pink t-shirt with ‘Bobs Pub Crawl’ emblazoned across in big white letters. My heart sank. My hopes of only experiencing the enchanting aspects of the city were rapidly diminishing…
What if Bob was staying at the same hotel as me? What if I met Bob in a Prague drinking tavern, and he made me drink lots of beer with him and his mates, and I ended up in a crumpled mess in some backstreet? Thankfully, after I disembarked from the plane, I never saw Bob or his crew again.
Although Prague remains a popular destination for pre-wedding celebrations, it is easy to avoid the obvious areas hosting such frivolity and spend a weekend absorbing the city’s rich history and impressive culture. The historic centre is listed as a world heritage site and highlights among the attractions include the famous Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and the Lennon Wall.
While it may be a less obvious (but no less satisfying) option for a city break than the likes of Rome and Paris, the capital of the Czech Republic is still an inspiring choice. Once I had collected my luggage and left the memories of ‘Bob’ with the luggage carousel, I caught a taxi to my place of stay: The Prague Marriott Hotel, which is about a half hour drive from the airport.
I discovered the 5* hotel through Great Hotels of the World, which is a very useful directory for finding and booking luxury hotels around the globe. The Prague Marriott Hotel has a relaxed feel with welcoming staff and a wonderful manager. The manager has great ideas for continually improving customer satisfaction and encourages suggestions from guests.
The hotel is vast with beautiful rooms, some of which offer great views. For those fitness enthusiasts there is a well equipped gym and even on-hand personal trainers and a great little pool if you fancy a splash. This is particularly appealing in the hot summer months (I had a wonderful late May heatwave which further lit up the city’s castles and river – more of that later).
My room was an executive suite hosting a pleasant sight of the courtyard. It was spotless, peaceful and wonderfully spacious. It included a private sitting room and an excellent selection of food and drink from the mini bar. Chambermaids were amongst some of the friendliest staff in the hotel; not imposing and seemingly very happy.
With the room I had access to the executive lounge located at the top floor of the hotel, with complimentary food and drink. It provides a great way to have a brief afternoon relax and regenerate ahead of planning a long walk across the buzzing historical city.
I spent the afternoons of my stay exploring some of the main sites and the best thing about the hotel is its convenient location. It is only a five minute walk to the main square and then a further ten minutes to the trademark romantic riverbanks and the famous Charles Bridge. The Metro is also a mere two minutes away and this will take you anywhere you wish to go in the city limits.
The Charles Bridge is an iconic structure and one of the essential sites to visit. It is the oldest bridge in the city (dating to 1357) and was named after its founder King Charles IV. It connects Old Town with Malá Strana. The Astronomical Clock, which is built into the façade of the Old Town Hall on Old Town Square, is another popular attraction and many visitors gather to see the hourly chiming of the imposing mechanical structure that dates to 1410. Visiting the key historical sites will give you a good background of the city; however, to enjoy a panoramic view of Prague, it is worth climbing to the top of the Old Town Hall tower.
Great meals can be found off the beaten track around the main square. Researching the best ones before venturing out is advised as there are many hidden gems that allow you to escape the main tourist area. These offer a more peaceful atmosphere with delicious local cuisine.
All in all, this is a city that I will certainly visit again. Although it lends itself well to a weekend break, I left wanting more. The prime location of the Marriott made it easy to explore and I am eager to return and discover more of many delights that Prague has to offer.
Prague Marriott Hotel is a member of Great Hotels of the World Luxury Collection. For more information or to book, please visit http://www.ghotw.com/prague-marriott-hotel or call 020 7380 3658.