We boarded tram #12 from Holešovice station in Prague. Before coming to Europe we had already decided to use only public transport as one of the ways of experiencing the life as locals do. We were super excited at the prospect of staying in a 14th Century Monastery, now converted into the luxurious Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
The tram snaked its way through the streets of Malá Strana, the second oldest urban settlement in Prague, erstwhile capital of Bohemia. The roads were filled with tourists on various forms of transport including roofless vintage cars!
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In time we reached our destination and enter the gates of Mandarin Oriental hotel which opened into a cobbled courtyard. We already felt the first sign of monastery. As if by magic, the street noise was not to be heard and it was already quiet inside the premises. The story goes that grounds was home to a Dominican monastery which over time passed into oblivion till MO hotels group acquired the property to build a 99 room hotel in 2006. It is another story how the hotel was built in conjunction with the Heritage Conservation Authority of Prague and eventually was awarded the building of the year in 2007!
The architects had made sure that much of the original atmosphere was retained, at the same time the frills of a modern luxurious hotel was carefully woven into the heritage site to produce a well-orchestrated fusion of the monastic and the spiritual with the modern comfort and facilities.
The décor at places were minimalist by choice in deference to the historical values of the monastery.
The Mandarin Oriental signature fan, which is also its logo, is different for each of its hotels. The fan in Prague hotel is inspired by Alfons Mucha’s designs from the Landmark Municipal House.
The room was quite modern and elegantly furnished and generally well appointed. In fact we found that it was tad bigger than some of the other similar hotels in Europe, which was a big plus. The TV had a welcome message for us and on the table some welcome goodies, which we polished off in no time. 🙂
Bathrobes and slippers were of superior quality, keeping in line with MOs practice worldwide. We were told that the floors were heated however we did not feel the need for it as we were in the middle of a warm summer. In the bathroom, the marble tiles, bathtub and other shining fixtures beckoned me to take a bath ASAP.
Bathroom had two wash basins, Him and Her, this was again a quintessentially MO design element.
The breakfast spread was quite elaborate and very continental in nature. The service was superb and the staff impressed us by remembering our preferences of eggs and our beverages. We especially had additional helpings from the cakes and dessert counter.
The Spice restaurant connected to the breakfast rooms was already buzzing with activity when we reached in the evening. Spice restaurant specialty is anything Asian. Whether it is Indian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Korean, Sri Lankan or even Sushi (Whew!). There were also some original cocktails and a collection of good wine from the region.
The lighting and decor was in keeping with monastic ambience.
There also was a fully stocked cellar that had some of the rarest vintage and for those who wanted a private dinner there was a secluded cave underground. It is absolutely exclusive. Only the previous week a gentleman had proposed to his fiancée right here!
With all the calories tucked in, it was time for us to check out the gym. The well-equipped gym was located in the basement. Just the thing to help maintain continuity for those who are regular with their workout regime.
I am normally more regular when I am back home but after having a look at the gym I had to have a go for some time.
There was once a chapel during the renaissance period, in the premises. Mandarin Oriental’s award winning Spa is built over the remnants of this old chapel. It was probably the right thing to do too. The whole spa area had a spiritual ambiance to it. The aroma, of massage oils wafting through our nostrils to energize our tired touristy selves, was distinctly Mandarin Oriental!
Access to the spa is via a long underground tunnel leading from the basement of the hotel to the chapel area. It looks like a walk in a museum with many artifacts collected during excavation on display here. We could even see the original foundations carefully preserved under a glass floor.
The Spa had an outside entrance for walk-in customers too.
There are four areas that are fully equipped to host meetings, official banquets, private dinners and even weddings. Out of that, 3 rooms can be combined to create a huge 150 SqM grand ballroom with vaulted ceiling.
We loved the way they had named the halls after various types of tea like Jasmine, Oolong, Darjeeling and Ginseng!
As bloggers we were interested in the WiFi speed and we were not disappointed with the free WiFi service that helped us to work into the night after returning from our jaunts.
Evening service or turndown service as it is also called, was excellent with bottles of water, slippers by the side of the bed, removing the bedcover and placing sleep spray tubes near the pillows, if we needed it.
Concierge knew his city very well and was very helpful in guiding us about the city. The best part was we could also buy public transport tickets from him ! So you have your tickets ready before you step out of the hotel.
Another plus point was, there was an in-house ATM in the basement to withdraw money should you require some in a hurry and we think it is a great idea.
This goes a long way to make the customer satisfied. ‘Atithi Devo Bhava‘ seems to be their motto as well!
Mandarin Oriental Hotel is located in Malá Strana or the lesser town. This town was originally built in 13th century just after the construction of old town on the opposite bank of the river Vltava (also called River Moldau).
It is only few minutes’ walk to the famed Charles Bridge and well connected to the Prague Castle and the rest of Prague by tram.
So all in all, we found that it was just the place to return to after a tiring sightseeing to enjoy a relaxed evening and a blissful sleep.
You may want to read our review of Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Macau.
Disclaimer We stayed at Mandarin Oriental Prague at their invitation but the opinions, as always, are our own.