The Corinthia Hotel Prague and Vyšehrad:
I’m something of a latecomer to the Czech Republic and Prague – I visited both for the first time a year ago and have been back three times since. It’s a love of history and of places that look as if they might just have escaped the pages of one of those fairy story books I used to hide under my pillow at night and read by torchlight after lights-out. Winning the Czech Tourist Board’s Travel Blogger of the Year award meant that I had a free flight to Prague via City Airport to use this year and since in my three previous trips I haven’t had time to see the Castle, it seemed obvious to take a short break with the intention of spending enough time to look around properly.
The catalyst for me was learning that 2018 is the 100 year anniversary of the Czech Republic and the 50th year since Prague Spring (a few months in 1968 when the reformist Alexander Dubček attempted to liberate the citizens of Czechoslovakia – although the result in August 1968 was occupation by the USSR to ensure his reforms were halted). There’s a promise of special exhibitions, concerts, shows and parades throughout the country, all culminating on October 28th. My home for this short break in Prague, the Corinthia Hotel, is also celebrating 20 years as a Corinthia branded hotel. Since on both previous stays in Prague I’ve been based right in the centre of town, each time in historic buildings, I wanted to see if this stunning, contemporary hotel on a hill looking out across the city offered a more relaxing experience.
The hotel is right by a metro station, Vyšehrad, just two stops from the Old Town – so travelling around is relatively easy. But, at 9 in the morning instead of walking out of the hotel lobby into a melee of tourists taking selfies, you’ll find yourself surrounded by workers travelling to the office and kids on their way to school. It’s an altogether more relaxing experience.
And then there’s the spa. On the very top floor of The Corinthia Prague is a well-equipped Spa with separate facilities for men and women (steam room, sauna, plunge pool and relaxation area) together with a beauty parlour, fitness centre and wonderful swimming pool with fabulous views out across the city. It’s somewhere to chill after a day sightseeing or to unwind after a business meeting at the nearby conference centre. Regular guests pay a small fee to use the facilities for the day while those in executive rooms and suites have unlimited access during their stay. And it’s open from early in the morning to late at night. I’m a sucker for a good pool and spent most of my free time there!
Rooms are all large and comfortable. My standard room had comfortable seating with a great view and the bathroom came with a full selection of ESPA toiletries.
I was particularly impressed that a small issue with the sink, which leaked once filled as it emptied was fixed quickly and efficiently at 8 pm at night with just 10 minutes to wait for the handyman. All too often if there is an issue with the room, I’ve ended up moving completely or having to wait until the next day to get things fixed. I was shown around the hotel and loved the spacious suites with comfortable living spaces.
I also enjoyed the facilities offered by the executive lounge, just a floor below on the 22nd level. Those same fabulous views can be enjoyed with a glass of Bohemian Sekt or the drink of your choice from the well-stocked bar and with food that goes beyond bar snacks to be enough for a light evening meal during happy hour from 6 pm to 8 pm.
On the two nights I stayed, there was a chicken dish, salmon, a vegetarian option and rice or quinoa together with canapes, crisps, olives and a range of cakes and pastries.
The executive lounge also offers a breakfast service for those visitors entitled to use the facilities (staying in executive rooms or suites) and there are snacks, tea, coffee and a range of cold drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) available throughout the day.
It was quite hard to tear myself away from the lounge and try one of the ground floor restaurants for dinner, but I am pleased that I did experience Rickshaw, the smallest of the three restaurants, which serves pan Asian cuisine.
It’s an elegant setting with perfect service. Crackers, wasabi peas and edamame to nibble on while I worked my way through the menu were complemented with a Jasmine tea.
I thoroughly enjoyed my tom yum soup which was packed with plump, juicy prawns, fresh coriander and that hot-sour chilli and fish sauce flavour. And, beef Penang was deliciously laced with peanuts and spice with wonderfully tender meat.
The Corinthia Prague is just two metro stations from Prague city centre and the old town, or a half hour walk. But, if you do want to get a feel for old Prague, then you are within walking distance of one of the oldest parts of the city!
Vyšehrad is a historic fort which was probably built in the 10th century. Less than 15 minutes walk from the hotel, it’s a popular place for local people and there are cafes and restaurants. You can also enjoy fabulous views across the Vltava River from ramparts of the original fort.
During the 11th century, Vyšehrad competed with Prague castle, housing royalty. But, as Prague Castle grew, Vyšehrad was abandoned.
Renovated by the Hapsburg Monarchy, there’s a mixture of architectural styles at Vyšehrad but an undeniable grandeur in the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul.
The stunning Romanesque rotunda of St Martins dates from the second half of the 11th century, while the Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul originates from the 11th century but was remodelled several times, in the 14th century and again in 1885 and 1997 in neo-gothic style.
So, for me, the Corinthia Hotel, Prague offers the best of everything Prague has to offer. While the hotel is peaceful and well equipped with all the comforts of a modern 5-star hotel, it’s very, very easy to get into the centre of Prague by metro. And, if you want to find a hidden corner of old Prague with real historical significance, Vyšehrad is an easy walk.
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CORINTHIA HOTEL PRAGUE FACT BOX
Location: Kongresova 1, Prague 4, 14069
Tel No: +420 261 191111
Number of rooms: 539 including 66 executive rooms and 22 suites
Rates: Lead-in rate for a double and a suite: prices from €180/night with breakfast included for a double room and from €250/night with breakfast included for a suite.
Restaurants – Rickshaw, Let’s Eat and the Grill; Lounge 62
Other facilities: Top floor Apollo Day Spa with modern-equipped gym, indoor swimming pool with panoramic city views, sauna, steam room, solarium, massage and beauty parlour