Just like home A review of Hotel Duo

Hotel Duo, Prague.

With architectural features strongly reminiscent of urban 1960s high-rise 'brutalism' overlain with unremittingly, cold-war utilitarianism, the Hotel Duo is best appreciated from a single perspective: namely, from over one's shoulder.

This is not an expensive place to stay, and for those whose principal objective in visiting Prague is to over-indulge on the city's famous brews, then it has to be allowed the Duo is a better place to lay one's intoxicated head than say, in the doorway of some street in a less salubrious part of town. On reflection though, you might actually get a better night's sleep with the latter option, as the Duo is little more than a 24-7 international transit camp where, it seems, very few customers - either arriving or departing, particularly in the small hours - seem able to converse in its echoing corridors in volumes of less than 120 decibels, other that is, save our German cousins, whose unmatched 180 dbs could even make aspiring town criers weep with envy. (And here I must especially thank Gunter and Wolfgang from Heidelberg, whose illuminating exchange of Teutonic epithets at 3am one night during our stay did much to broaden my grasp of conversational Deutsch.).

There's not much I can say about the food in the hotel's Galerie restaurant, though I'm sure Gordon Ramsey might have a word for it. In truth, it's edible and filling and, in some instances, actually quite palatable - although identifying some of the cuts of meat on offer could present a real challenge to those whose name doesn't happen to be Tarzan.

On the plus side: the lounge and bar area is comfortably furnished; there's a good swimming pool, bowling bar, fitness centre, internet café and a free hotel shuttle bus to and from the local metro station.

On the minus side: the views from the hotel are uniformly depressing; the beds feel as though they are hewn from local stone; the rooms are decorated and furnished in a style hovering somewhere between Lubyanka and San Quentin, and the staff are all graduates of the Joseph Stalin Charm School.

But then, you're only here for the beer, aren't you?

(English Mick, December 2004)

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Hotel Duo
762 reviews