A weekend at The Emblem - Prague
In Prague, I trust. It‘s actually a city that never disappoints, in terms of lifestyle, food and cultural highlights. When it comes to hotels, there has always been the one choice, however this time I wanted to changed the side of the River and check-in at the city‘s most luxurious design hotel. Personally, I think that The Emblem is the best located hotel in the entire city, being a few steps away from Staromestske Namesti (Old Town Square) and the Charles Bridge. Prague castle is a bit far away but do the walk over the world‘s oldest pedestrian bridge. Having talked about the location in general, let‘s proceed with the hotel in general. Arriving from Vienna is particularly convenient as they use a Railjet on the four-hour-ride which is the best way to travel on the Austrian and Czech railway system. In particular, you can score great deals on the website of the Czech railways and therefore I went to Prague for as low as 24 euros in first class.
An Uber ride later, I arrived in front of The Emblem and was immediately offered help by the kind receptionist. The hotel itself didn’t look too big, more intimate and private. We were shown to the lounge where we waited to do the check-in. Within a minute check-in began and the young receptionist asked me to do the paperwork. I like the idea to have the check-in done in a chair at the lounge rather than standing at a reception desk. Nearly 5 minutes later he offered to show me to the room, which was a Queen Dom on the first floor overlooking the street. During my stay, the hotel had some issues with the key cards and I therefore had to go down to the lobby more than once - I was very annoyed by this but turned out that the door lock didn’t open when leaving the room so once I paid attention to this matter all was fine.
In general the rooms have a very sexy appeal with cool wallpapers and wood floors. All interior furniture is by Italian designer Maxalto and really fits the total ambiance. With the bed being super comfy, the room size didn’t matter much. This was also because the entree felt like a walk-in wardrobe. I appreciated the small details such as the cool minibar that came along with a small in-room shop selling Happy Socks and Prague accessories along with a Nespresso coffee machine. Right between the entree and the bedroom was the bright bathroom. Even tough the entry-level category only comes with a shower-tub combo, I didn’t mind much as it was solved in a good way and the pressure of the shower was adorable. A single vanity, a toilet and one bath towel per person were waiting along a set of The White Company bath products. Unfortunately the shower came as a conditioning shampoo so there was no additional conditioner provided. I also missed essentials as a toothbrush and shaving kit, tough did not explicitly ask for it neither. Probably they bring this upon request.
Beside the beautiful room, I also very much loved the other common grounds such as the lobby lounge and the Maharal Club, the hotel's basement. It used to be a quite known private members club back then when I was living in Prague three years ago, however seems that today it is mainly used for in-house guests and events happening from time to time. It's also the place where the complimentary happy hour happens from 5 to 7 pm daily. This includes a bottle of white wine along a red one - both from Czech Republic and drinkable, sometimes the Concierge joins to have a chat and asks about the plans for the night. We had the pleasure to meet the concierge as well and told her that we planned to have dinner at the Aria Hotel's famous restaurant Coda overlooking the old town. She immediately told us that it would be a great idea but we wouldn't have any chance getting a table without a reservation. She said she will try to call the hotel but then disappeared with a group of other guests never coming back nor leaving a note if she called the restaurant or not. Well, thats one of the moments you - as a guest - have to realise you are staying at a mid-class five star hotel and not the Ritz Carlton or Rosewood.
The staff at least tries their very best to act like a five-star crew and we did enjoy it very much but it lacks a bit the difference. There was no wow-moment happening during my stay and even tough they were always helpful and friendly with the door problem, they never apologised for the inconveniences I had (one time I had to go down to the lobby in bathrobe with completely wet bath shorts and hair just to get a new key) - not mentioning the elevator which took minutes to arrive since there is only one going from the spa to the first floor.Luckily the room was on the first floor and this issue helped me staying active by taking the staircase. Something to say about the spa is that it is beautifully appointed (one of the nicest ones in Prague) with a sauna, steam room and showers along a huge relaxation room. The friendly at the spa desk wasn't the most welcoming person, tough managed to get me a 30 minute session in the rooftop jacuzzi - which is simply worth the splurge of about 38 euros for 30 minutes. I can understand that the Emblem is charging for the jacuzzi since it only seats two persons and if someone falls asleep in there, you don't have any chance to use the jacuzzi as well. While I am against paying for spa facilities (excluding treatments where staff has to actively spend time on you), this fee didn't seem to be disturbing to me.
The Emblem is actually a great spot for foodies being situated in an interesting area of Prague. Within the hotel, there is one of Prague's best steak houses called George Prime Steak. I have been there three years ago and already then it was fantastic (not cheap tough). On the same street a bit ahead you have the fine dining Italian La Finestra as well as the bistro-like La Bottega di Finestra, one of my all time favourite spots to have breakfast or lunch in Prague. So don't mind booking a room without breakfast, do the 50 meters walk and enjoy best coffee along extremely fresh orange juice, flawless eggs Benedict and fluffy homemade bread. Plus the atmosphere is so much more attractive than any hotel breakfast room. On Sunday, I didn't dare asking for a late check-out and stored my luggage at the front desk to do a bit of shopping until my train left for Vienna in the evening. And I mean who wants to be in a rush when enjoying a piece of Savoy Dort at the famous Cafe Savoy, Prague's most wonderful and best coffee house.
All in all, the Emblem is a great design hotel in a truly unique setting in the old town of Prague. With the main square being right next to the hotel and Charles Bridge within 5 minutes walking distance, it is simply the right place to stay for first-timers. The young crowd is attracted by the proximity to some of Europe's best clubs (tough you cannot hear or see the party crowds in the street passing by the hotel) as well as by the famous Hemingway Bar being not too far away - the best bar in Europe and quite sure the best in the world when it comes to authenticity and quality of the drinks. If my enthusiasm about that city doesn't make you wanna go to Prague now, enjoy the pictures and for sure The Emblem will do the rest. Enjoy the ride and take care!
I was guest of The Emblem Hotel for the weekend, tough paid for all extra expenses by myself. As usual, all above written expresses my personal opinion and has not been influenced.