As one of the most highly regarded five-star properties in the Czech Republic, Prague’s palatial Carlo IV Hotel has always been a beacon for luxury travellers looking to explore one of Europe’s most romantic cities. Once a neo-Renaissance palace, the building was converted into a luxury hotel back in 2003, but closed recently to engage a substantial refurbishment following a new rebrand as the NH Collection Prague Carlo IV, the high-end expression for NH Hotel Group.
Positioned just a 10-minute walk from the very heart of Prague, the 152-room hotel has been sensitively shaped by both the city’s heritage office and an unnamed international architectural studio that has not been detailed online. The aim here was to bring as much of the hotel in line with contemporary tastes as possible without disrupting the heritage-listed features, very much maintaining the magic of the opulent lobby which is complemented by high ceilings and wooden floors.
The five-story palace originally opened in 1890 as the First Mortgage Bank and this history is very much what informs much of the thematic elements dotted throughout the Carlo IV Hotel, from the lobby now accentuating the original bank teller’s window to the rich-lister aesthetic that is embodied by elegant furniture, ceiling frescoes and those immense columns that remain unchanged.
After the bank closed, the palace became the headquarters of the local post office for a few years before then being converted into the Carlo IV when the building was extended under the guidance of Italian architects Maruizio Papiri and Adam T Tihany. That much explains the Italian-style panache this hotel is noted for, but there’s a tastefully local sensibility to the entire hotel that has seen the Carlo IV become one of the most highly sought in Central Europe.
Given Prague, much like other cities like Budapest and Vienna, is well-known for heritage-listed bathhouses, it seems silly to rave about the hotel’s wellness and spa facilities. And yet the 66-foot-long heated pool and two whirlwind pools, in addition to the massage facilities, have become known as some of the finest in the city. That’s no feat to be taken lightly in a city like Prague, and it’s no surprise that the spa remains relatively untouched by the refurbishment.
The hotel is also planning on adding sauna and steam rooms to the spa in the second phase of the renovation later, to be completed later this year. It may not be ready in time for that inevitable European summer trip, though.
Other modern changes include some co-working facilities, a mix of open spaces and intimate corners, and easy access to modern technology in both public spaces and guest rooms. The lobby bar is also a brand new addition to the hall, fashioned as a sophisticated cocktail bar with enough space for live music.
The hotel’s restaurant, 1890, is also located just off the lobby hall and has seen a few changes from the kitchen, serving up sharing platters with modern Czech cuisine which most likely means plenty of sirloin and schnitzel.
As for the rooms. Well, it looks like only some of the guest rooms have seen substantial changes, with most of those being located in the historical wing. The design update sports a similar gentle push towards modern comforts without disrupting the heritage features, which is what you’d want if you’re checking into a building as historic as this one anyway.
Nightly rates at the NH Collection Carlo IV Hotel Prague start at around €204 (~AU$312).
Check out more photos of the Carlo IV Hotel below, shot by Guido Pijper.