Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic, is bisected by the Vltava River. Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” it’s known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the medieval Astronomical Clock, which gives an animated hourly show. Completed in 1402, pedestrian Charles Bridge is lined with statues of Catholic saints
Located in the heart of Malá Strana, halfway up to the castle, the hotel has taken over the abandoned buildings of a monastery. Some of its rooms have been built along a 15th-century cloister; they are reached via a hallway of impressive arches that once led to the monks’ cells. There’s a bar in the former monastery brewery, also under high stone arches, which serves beer brewed in Prague exclusively for hotel guests. One suite is available in the tower, from where the monks would observe the sky; it offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the castle. The lobby and restaurant are the only additions made by the London architectural firm RDD, which, under the artistic direction of Olga Polizzi, managed to transform the place without excising its distinctive character, even keeping the period iron work on the doors. The rough wooden floors, simply designed furniture inspired by Czech cubism, and tapestries in the rooms all blend in perfectly with the historic setting, making it hard to leave this haven of harmony. There’s a strong temptation to spend the summer in the garden and take up winter quarters in the ground-floor café, with its painted vaulted ceiling in the purest Czech tradition (formerly the monks’ refectory). The Rocco Forte group managed this hotel when it opened but was taken over by Starwood in 2015.
Hana Stocklassová started her womenswear label Bohème in 1991 in Sweden. After finishing her master’s degree in Prague, she spent one year at the School of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg and then opened her first Bohème boutique in Stockholm. In 2002, she left the space and opened Bohème here on Dušní Street, in the city’s hub for high-end Czech designer labels. A Swedish aesthetic comes through in her distinctive, twice-yearly collections, which are based on knitwear: most notably, beautifully cut and constructed sweaters. Four years ago, she introduced pieces from the Swedish brand Hope into her shop, and has since expanded the selection further. Working between Prague and Sweden, Stocklassová has resided in the latter for over ten years. In addition to Bohème, she is also head designer for Swedish label Heart of Lovikka and works with Swedish shoe brand Calou, which offers a collection of scarves that she designed and produced at her manufactory in Moravia. Bohème’s current endeavour is a collaboration with interior textile designer Bemz.
Bright and airy with a stripped-down interior replete with charming touches such as a pot of fresh herbs on each table, Mistral Café is the place to head if you want international and Czech cuisine in a super-convenient location: smack bang next to the only metro station in Prague’s Old Town (Staroměstská). The daily lunch specials, written on the chalkboard in Czech, pull in a local crowd of university lecturers (the Faculty of Arts is on the opposite side of the street), officials from nearby Prague City Hall and the occasional student: the approachable English speaking staff will happily translate the options but do expect to wait for a table should you hit the midday rush. The friendly, efficient service, modern, contemporary setting, diverse menu with everything from hearty breakfasts to tapas, and the overall laidback vibe make this place a hit with Praguers and visitors alike. Mistral is also child-friendly with a kids’ menu and a wendy house to keep little ones occupied; come the evening it remains buzzing with a young crowd who come to relax over good food and a glass of Moravian wine.
David Černý, the enfant terrible of the Czech art scene, is known for such works as a statue of King Wenceslas riding the belly of his upside-down horse, shown hanging from the ceiling of Lucerna Passage, and giant babies crawling up the Žižkov TV Tower. In 2001, he took over an industrial wasteland in the Holešovice district, which he intended to turn into a huge platform for all the arts, until the floods in the summer 2002 put an end to the project. In 2007, he tried again in the Smíchov district, setting his sights on a large abandoned Czech Railways’ building located between a railway and a motorway bridge. It now houses artists’ studios, exhibition halls, recording studios and a theatre. You can’t miss the MeetFactory: red-painted carcasses of Skoda cars dating from the communist era hang from its facade. There are also three galleries on the site, one of them outdoors, where graffiti artists can give free rein to their inspirations on a huge wall. MeetFactory also hosts artists in residence and gives them carte blanche to display their installations in the building’s maze-like interior. The most popular spot, upstairs, is reached by the outdoor metal staircase. The volumes of the space are particularly suited to performance, while video artists can take advantage of every imaginable light situation
Download our App to learn more