Four Star Hotel with 2-star rooms A review of Hilton Prague
The short: Beautiful western-style hotel a few blocks off Old Town Prague with so-so rooms.
The long (ok, really long):
Your car door is opened by a smiling doorman in full coat and top-hat.
Not a bad way to start your trip.
Upon entering the hotel, you are greeted by 5-star staff...helpful, friendly, courteous to a fault, and all English-speaking (thank God or we lazy Americans would be in deep trouble). An expansive, towering atrium with a huge, hanging modern art piece is the heart of this hotel. You grab a ride up to your room on a glass-walled elevator to get a better look.
At this point, you're thinking, hmmm...maybe, despite all I've heard, 5-star in Europe really DOES mean 5-star! Then you open the hotel door.
Wah wah wah...suddenly this hotel drops a star or two. If you're lucky, you get a room right up there with your average Holiday Inn. If you're not, think Best Western.
To be fair, the rooms are very clean, the linens are above-average, and the beds are comfortable. In Europe (or anywhere else in the world, i suppose), that's about all you can ask for unless you're willing to spend your life savings. We had a view of Old Town and Prague castle, but other than that I gladly would have taken a bigger room that faced the atrium.
If you're a non-smoker, be very clear about getting a non-smoking room.
People smoke EVERYWHERE in Prague, and if you get a smoking room, you might as well start as well. We actually moved out of one spacious "non-smoking" room because it smelled like, well, smoke...and there was an ash-tray sitting on the table. Hmmm...Off to our final room, with no trace of smoke but, unfortunately, a lot less space as well.
You'll find a small casino with professional staff on the bottom floor, with a doorman that looks like he came straight out of a Guy Ritchie film. Free drinks, craps tables, poker and about 20 electronic slot/poker machines. Stays open late (4 or 6 am, i don't recall exactly). On the main floor, there's a small, Holiday-Inn-type bar with TVs, some nice sitting areas in the atrium, and a couple of quiet restaurants that charge typical hotel prices.
ONE BIG PLUS: A gorgeous, gorgeous fitness center and spa. Grab a full-body massage on the cheap (about 60-80 US/hour), but only after you sweat a little in the extra-large, modern gym.
The Hilton's location is above average. It sits in a not-so-attractive spot (you walk out the front door to a view of a major four-lane street), but it's right next to the river and a few minutes on foot (past the McDonald's) gets you into a central commercial area in Prague. Ten minutes walk gets you to the heart of Old Town. There are taxis, sanctioned by the hotel, on call outside 24/7, a definite plus in a city known for shady cab drivers.
All in all, we were very comfortable at the Hilton Prague. We passed by several "old-time European" hotels in Old Town that looked beautiful and much more "quaint", but I have no idea what the rooms are like.
By the way, if you want a great dining experience with the perfect view, hit U Slatne Zudne...or for more casual fare, try the rooftop deck on top of the U Prince Hotel across from the astrological clock.
Even in February, we were toasty warm under the ample heatlamps, while sipping hot wine and staring across the square.
You know, come to think of it, you won't spend much time in your hotel anyway...
Enjoy this beautiful city!!