We expected the hotel to be in the centre of the city as a “City Break” but it is quite a way out – around 3 miles to walk or 3 stops on the Metro (station about 10-minute walk from hotel). The hotel is on a main road, but the area behind it is a bit run-down although there are a couple of bars nearby. However, just 10-15 minutes walk down from the front of the hotel brings you to the river with lots of bridges and riverside paths to explore.
First impression of the hotel is that staff are good, rooms are clean and comfortable, especially the large bed. Note that currency is not Euros as we expected, so we had to use the cash machine in hotel lobby to get CZK, approximately 25 to £1 sterling. The machine would only accept my HSBC Visa debit card not any of my other similar ones – have no idea why!
It was evening when we arrived, so dinner was available in the lobby bar.
Mediterranean salad starter was good, then pork goulash for the main. Actually, it was really two pork medallions in a rich gravy rather than what we expected as a goulash – stew. Plus a very substantial dessert, it was definitely filling! We strolled out afterwards and had our first Czech beer (lager).
An excellent choice for breakfast until 10.00am, then off for a walk to find the river past tall, majestic buildings dating from 19th century, some lovingly restored others still bearing signs of war damage or general neglect. Past the Boat Hotel and a short walk across the bridge into the southern part of town. We had booked an evening River Cruise dinner this evening, so just strolled to the next bridge to get back to hotel for lunch.
Nearer the city centre, it is much more interesting, heaving with tourists in very large groups, many shops and sights to see. Directly opposite this bridge is a set of steep steps and a haunting tribute to those who suffered during the aftermath of WWII, statues of broken bodies on each step.
The evening boat trip is a good option if you only have a short stay here as the mini-bus picks you up and drops you back at the hotel, has a tour guide to give a potted history of the city on the way to the boat for dinner. Wonderful views of the city lit up as light fades, and a choice of eating your buffet-style meal inside the restaurant or on deck listening to a local jazz band. Not cheap, but a very pleasant evening. We spent the next two days just walking into town and exploring narrow, uneven streets as well as landmarks such as The Charles Bridge.
The river is the focal point of the city and an ideal way to get your bearings and find your way back to the hotel. We walked around 7 miles every day, but the weather was glorious and we are able to cope – this would be a difficult hotel location if you struggle to walk any distance, but was fine for us in the end. Next time we plan a short city break, we would make sure our hotel is actually in the “city” rather than the outskirts. Just a note about Thomas Cook – they are notoriously difficult to get hold of on this sort of break – no Rep in the hotel – and the transfer to take us to Prague airport didn’t turn up so the hotel had to book us a taxi, so we would not book through them again.