There’s something slightly worrying about finding a new favorite hotel. You want to share the news with the world, but you worry that once everyone discovers it, you’ll never be able to book a room again due to its growing popularity. That’s how I feel about the five-star Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa in Prague.
It was my first trip to Prague and I had no idea what to expect. The photos of the hotel looked interesting, but sometimes those paint a false picture. Not the case here! It was better than it looked online!
As the taxi travelled up the hill to the hotel, we were stopped by security. Guards checked the undercarriage, under the hood, and in the trunk. Why was security so tight? Because the hotel is across from the American Embassy. You’ll feel extra safe here.
The imposing hotel stands on a corner in Lesser Town, or Malá Strana. The hotel itself is magical and brimming with history. The building dates back to 1517. Formerly “Dum u Jeziska,” the Baroque house is from the era of Rudolf II, whose court was filled with alchemists struggling to turn base metal to gold. You can almost picture them at work here.
Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa provides an ideal location for discovering Prague. The Charles Bridge is just minutes away and you can easily walk through the historic old city on the other side of the bridge. Just forget your heels. Cobblestones can be rough on your shoes and ankles.
Arrive in Style
So, you’ve arrived. You’ll feel like royalty as walk up the stone stairs and through the hotel’s airy, Italian-style courtyard with its colorful vases and flowers. Hotel staff will greet you warmly and accompany you to an ornate waiting area. Within minutes, cool towels and a welcome drink — a refreshing, sparkling wine bottled exclusively for the hotel — arrives. Check-in is painless! Can you say luxury?
The walk to your room is impressive with the Aquarius Restaurant on your right, a Baroque style bar area and a second lobby area where complimentary wine and cheese is served to guests each evening.
You’ll feel a sense of history as you walk through the hotel. Be sure to take a look at the spiral stone staircase leading to rooms and the tranquil spa area. The hotel also has a business center, health club and gym — and many hidden spots to relax before and after spa treatments or a swim in a tiny pool with stone walls and Roman statues. I especially liked the post-massage mint tea served with plump, dried cranberries.
The Royal Suites
There were only four rooms on the third floor. Our room was exquisite. The Royal Suite features an oversized bedroom with a walk-in closet, a marble bath, a huge living room with a pull-out sofa bed, a separate seating area a few steps below, and a kitchenette. We had a closet area in the entry hall, complete with a safe. We skipped the mini-bar. Like most hotels, prices were exorbitant. There was complimentary water, coffee and tea, though, and delicious turn-down service chocolates.
With record temperatures pounding the city during our visit, our two, high-power air-conditioning units provided a welcome respite from the heat. As my office colleagues in New York used to say when talking about my office, “You could refrigerate meat in here.” I guess I spent too many years in Minnesota. I really appreciated the option to turn the room into an Arctic zone.
With dozens of restaurants like Cafe Savoy and trendy Eska luring you, you may not take advantage of Aquarius Restaurant. Don’t miss it, even if only for the delicious breakfast buffet. The atmosphere reminds you that you are in Europe with elegant chandeliers and furnishings, all designed to take you back in time. The service is also very good and friendly.
Tiny Suggestions for Improvement
While our room was magnificent, it did not get a perfect score. It was luxurious and comfortable, but had some minor faults. The high-speed Internet must have been napping during our visit as the connection seemed slow and irregular. A large plasma television also seemed to suffer from connection problems with CNN International constantly breaking up. Other stations didn’t suffer the same fate.
While the copper and beige marble bathroom screamed elegance, it did have its drawbacks. There was a large skylight over the tub. It took us a day to realize that there was a window shade that could be lowered. Not a biggie. What was more troubling was other tub features.
The tub is located in an area with a dormer roof, so the designers were not able to mount a shower head. We had to use the handheld shower to rinse our hair. Also, the glass partition doesn’t swing open so you have to walk to the back of the tub to exit. A grab bar would have been a welcome addition.
Other features like the luxury bath amenities, high-power hairdryer and bidet were appreciated.
Just a word of caution. If you get up in the middle of the night or after a few glasses of champagne, be careful. You have to walk down a few marble steps to get to the toilet and bath. When the steps are wet, they seem treacherous.
Still, the tiny inconveniences were so trivial when the hotel itself was so delightful. So, now that I’ve shared my Prague secret with you, I hope I can still book a room there when I return!