IT WAS way beyond what I expected a hotel in an old square to be. I pictured a place imbibed with the old world flair, ancient-like even, in its interiors— stone walling and wood dark with age, opulent detailing with crystal chandeliers and sconces as sources of illumination. Praha 1, after all, is the oldest section of the Czech Republic rich with history well preserved.
But The Emblem Hotel is nothing like it. This Agoda partner boutique hotel worked from the outside in, kept the box-like shell in its original state, a building erected, perhaps, during the rebuilding of the republic in the 20th century.
From the exterior, Emblem’s façade blends with the architectural landscape of its area tinted in hues of taupe, beige or pale gray. Its frontage embellished to a minimum—a few balconies with slim wrought iron framing jutting out of the edifice and windows mounted in white moldings. The look is balanced and clean.
The discipline is carried on to the interiors but on a warmer color palate that’s very welcoming. The look is an evident contrast to the old world expression of Prague’s historic square—sleek and modern with a play on textures and materials, and tastefully appointed with minimal ornaments. Chic is a good description, a look and feel inspired by the Art Deco movement but fused in with new world essentials.
No lobby. The doorman immediately directs all the hotel guests to the “living room” where a member of the Emblem family will greet you with an equally warm smile. The reception is very personal, just like how one is welcomed to a home—the pleasantries and an offering of refreshments— and over casual chitchat the process of checking in is transpiring.
Nothing is lost in translation in this hotel. The Emblem is manned by a team of young, vibrant personalities of different nationalities—Spanish, British, Vietnamese, Romanian were the few I’ve encountered—that certainly is a feather on the hospitality establishment’s cap when dealing with guests from any part of the globe.
Each of the 59 rooms is divine, dressed in white, very subdued tones of grey and wood; a bed wrapped in crisp, high count linen that you would not want to leave; a gorgeous bathroom in marble you can spend hours in; and a sprinkling of modern implements—a coffee machine, mini bar, 40-inch flatscreen TV with the home channel showing the city’s must-visit areas, internet connection. It all added up to a creating a stylish lair of comfort and convenience for both leisure and corporate traveler.
I was lucky for my nest for this leg of the European sojourn was on the upper floors, a Pied-a-Terre, fitted with a Queen sized bed and the luxury of a small French balcony that opens up to a view of the government building, the Platnerska street below and from the rooftops of the neighboring structures, the spires of the Church of Our Lady before Týn at the Old Town Square.
My days in Prague always started with waking up to bright sunlight streaming through the glass windows and sheer curtains (I always draw the blackout curtains open) and having coffee on the balcony while scanning the panorama and making a mental plan what area to explore on foot.
After a brief visit to the rest of the Emblem’s living spaces, all bearing glossy magazine-worthy looks—the Pantry; Fumoir, the only smoking space in the hotel; The Salon and the Drawing Room where guests can enjoy coffee and light snacks during the day, and cocktails in the evening; and on the top floor, the in-house Spa and accessible for free to all hotel guests are the gym, sauna, steam room and an outdoor Jacuzzi with a view of the castle—I was off to explore the enchanting city of Prague.
The Emblem Hotel is at Platnerska 111/19, Prague 01, Prague, Czech Republic. Visit their website at emblemprague.com.
For bookings: http://www.agoda.com/the-emblem-hotel/hotel/prague-cz.html
For more travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/