GOLDEN CITY

Breathtaking every season, there’s almost no down time for Prague

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Prague is not short of illustrious descriptions: honeymooners’ haven; the city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped domes and spirals. Prague is the celebrated centre of medieval architecture – so much that the entire historical centre of Prague itself is inscribed in the World Heritage List. It’s also served for centuries as the capital of the historical region of Bohemia, the birthplace for where today’s flower crown–wearing Coachella-goers get their fashion inspiration.

Today, it’s one of the most popular cities for tourists, seeing more than seven million visitors in 2017, according to City Tourism’s latest statistics. And with distinguishable, photogenic seasons, there’s almost no down time for the capital. Yet, at the same time, there’s so much to see in the city that the crowds almost don’t matter, so long as you know where to go.

STAY

With overnight stays steadily growing at an average rate of 7 per cent year-on-year, Prague is packed with hotels ranging from budget motels and chic boutiques to recognisable hospitality giants. Since Prague is a walking-friendly city, location shouldn’t be a big priority in selecting your accommodations. Still, opt for hotels West of the river – like The Mandarin Oriental – for more serene evenings; or better yet, options on the castle hill for an even quieter respite. Night owls, on the other hand, should stick to the Old City Centre; but that’s not to say they can’t have their own slice of me-time.

Tucked in around the corner from the Powder Tower, Century Old Town Prague lets you stay in the office where famous novelist Franz Kafka used to work as an insurance clerk from 1908 to 1922 in what was then a Workers’ Accident Insurance building. The Neo-baroque property still retains a lot of the 19th century furnishings on the facade: the spectacular staircase, marble steps and a wrought-iron banister. If you look closely, the hotel – now a part of the design-savvy Sofitel Mgallery collection – has scattered clever hints of the famed author everywhere, such as the calligraphy K – for his surname – above the beds; his love for random cubic patterns and lines is replicated in the hallways; ink-splattered wallpaper and carpets; as well as framed manuscripts dotted around the hotel.

Standard rooms are boldly dressed in denim blue, white and a bright yellow – symbolic of the city’s golden spires – while the Kafka Suite embraces a darker palette. For a truly unique experience, La Dome duplex suite is nestled right under the spherical roof and looks out to the property’s ridges and gutters in front of a breathtaking skyline.

Those yearning for a cuppa can head to the Restaurant, where a glass veranda veils the space of sober lines and marble parquet with sunlight. For something more heavy-duty, the hotel’s Hedgehog Bar pays tribute to the legendary Czech conundrum – a story of plans for constructing a flying bicycle hidden inside a caged hedgehog. Though we don’t know how

much of the legend bears truth, guests who can solve the puzzle before finishing their Flying Bicycle cocktail will be bequeathed the drink’s secret recipe.

To further escape the crowd, stay two blocks down from Mgallery at Hotel Boho but still remain just a stone’s throw away from major sights.

Also a 20th century building refurbished from what was a city newspaper office, the sleek retreat takes a more minimalistic approach to design. The lobby greets with an expansive yet intimate bar, where the bartender will happily serve everything from bubbly Proseccos to neon-coloured cocktails. Natural light and simple lines are also the theme of Boho’s Restaurant in Prague, where wine tasting takes place at 4 p.m. daily to offer shoppers and travellers a much-needed break. If even that’s not enough, the hotel also houses a wellness area equipped with tranquility pool and gym for both quick dips and full-body workouts.

Opposite Page: The Restaurant at Century Old Town Prague hotel对页:世紀古城布拉格酒店的餐厅This page: Hotel Boho

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