PRAGUE

The Czech cap­i­tal is us­ing its il­lus­tri­ous his­tory to grow its meet­ings and events in­dus­try, writes Marisa Can­non

Business Traveller - - CONTENTS -

Dine like a king in the palaces, cas­tles and me­dieval halls of the cob­ble­stoned Czech Re­pub­lic cap­i­tal, one of Europe’s top meet­ings des­ti­na­tions

Look­ing out from the hill­top grounds that sur­round Prague Cas­tle, the Czech cap­i­tal is a sea of gabled ter­ra­cotta roofs and church spires, punc­tu­ated by flo­rets of bot­tle-green fo­liage pok­ing through the patch­work. The murky Vl­tava river cuts through the sprawl, pour­ing through the arches of the leg­endary Charles bridge (pic­tured), which, tourist­clogged dur­ing day, has con­nected Prague’s old town with the pic­turesque Mala Strana (Lit­tle Quar­ter) since the 14th cen­tury.

It looks as it might have done 200 years ago, when the city’s artis­tic re­vival was in full swing, and land­marks such as the stately Na­tional Theatre and Na­tional Mu­seum were first founded. Cap­i­tal­is­ing on its unique his­tory, many of Prague’s palaces, concert halls and cul­tural cen­tres have opened their doors to plan­ners, of­fer­ing a store of spec­tac­u­lar, beau­ti­fully pre­served venues for events.

The city has built a rep­u­ta­tion as a meet­ings des­ti­na­tion, earn­ing it 11th place in the 2016 In­ter­na­tional Congress and Con­ven­tions As­so­ci­a­tion rank­ings. It has tripled the number of events it has hosted in the past ten years. In­ter­na­tional ho­tels in­clude prop­er­ties from Hil­ton, Corinthia, In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal, Four Sea­sons, Man­darin Ori­en­tal and Radis­son Blu, which boast a number of el­e­gant din­ing out­lets and well-ap­pointed meet­ing rooms. But there are also re­mark­able venues that give a taste of Prague’s il­lus­tri­ous past.

The 16th-cen­tury Lobkow­icz Palace is the for­mer home of one of the era’s most wealthy and pow­er­ful fam­i­lies in cen­tral Europe. Noble­men from the coun­try’s Bo­hemia re­gion, the Lobkow­icz fam­ily’s run of pros­per­ity dried up when their prop­er­ties were seized – by the Nazis and Com­mu­nists – but they have since been re­stored to their full glory. Set within

Prague Cas­tle, the palace has 15 event spa­ces reg­u­larly put to use for pri­vate con­certs, cock­tails, sem­i­nars and con­fer­ences, along­side a mu­seum con­tain­ing the old­est and largest pri­vate art col­lec­tion in the Czech Re­pub­lic.

Spread across 22 gal­leries, the mu­seum con­tains key pieces by the likes of Ve­lazquez, Canaletto, Brueghel the El­der and Cranach, and guests are in­vited to browse the col­lec­tion with a free au­dio guide. Clas­si­cal mu­sic recitals take place at 1pm ev­ery day in the palace’s 17th-cen­tury baroque concert hall, but per­for­mances can also be tai­lored for pri­vate par­ties, fol­lowed by a drinks re­cep­tion and pri­vate din­ing catered by the in-house restau­rants. Five dis­tinct din­ing out­lets of­fer a mix of ca­sual and for­mal op­tions, al­though the cream

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