A Wonderful Blend of Oriental Style and Prague History A review of Mandarin Oriental, Prague
As previous reviews have attested, the Mandarin Oriental Prague is certainly unique as it's housed in a converted 14th Century Monastery. There's no grand high-ceiling lobby here, or extravagant entrance. In fact if it weren't for the classic Mandarin Oriental fan symbols on the gates you might almost walk straight past.
When you step inside, however, you find a luxury hotel quite unlike any other. It feels like a daring blend of Oriental style and Prague history - and works wonderfully. You know it's a Mandarin Oriental by the warm, friendly service and plush surroundings. You also know it's Prague by the fabric of the building which gives away its history almost at every turn.
We stayed in a "Mandarin Deluxe King" room. This was very comfortable and had every expected luxury from a heated tiled floor in the bathroom to a plasma TV and DVD player. It was in the new wing of the building so lacked some of the historic architecture of other rooms, although benefited from being more spacious. We were shown some of the more historic rooms in case we wanted to move, although in the end we stayed in our original room.
Our mini-tour of the other rooms showed that no two rooms in this hotel are the same. In fact all of the hotel layout and design had to accommodate the original structure of the monastery so there is a wide variety of room formats; some with smaller bathrooms - but chandeliers in the entrance; others on a split-level; some even come with their own sweeping steps up to the door. You really don't know what you're going to get, which can be quite a refreshing refrain from the standard hotel room layout. A note on views, however - none of the rooms we saw had particularly impressive views - just overlooking the courtyard or side-streets. It seems only a few rooms and suites can see Prague Castle.
The restaurant and bar have vaulted ceilings and the food there was excellent, although pretty expensive even for a 5-star hotel. The hotel's location itself is in a small square minutes from the Charles Bridge.
The hotel may not be to everyone's taste as it's somewhat unconventional layout can be disconcerting at first. But if you're prepared to forgive the inevitable quirks a 14th Century monastery can throw up then you get the reward of unique surroundings fitted out to a first class standard, all with the unmistakable flair of Mandarin Oriental service.