Today (March , 2019): Review of Mandarin Oriental Prague Hotel (Czech Republic).
- Location: view on Google maps
- Hotel website: Mandarin Oriental Prague
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Built on the site of a former 14th century monastery, Mandarin Oriental Prague is both a five-star luxury hotel and a wonderfully preserved piece of history. Enjoying a peaceful location on a quiet cobbled street of picturesque Malá Strana on the left bank of the Vltava River, the hotel is a serene retreat infused with centuries of character and a style that blends contemporary design with period features. With 79 elegant rooms, 20 individually decorated suites, excellent dining and a luxurious spa (the only spa in the world located in a former Renaissance chapel!), the hotel marries the legendary hospitality of Mandarin Oriental with the inimitable charm that has made Prague one of Europe’s foremost travel destinations.
Have you ever stayed at Mandarin Oriental Prague? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Mandarin Oriental Prague is superbly located in a charming, quiet neighborhood of Prague’s oldest district, Lesser Quarter (Mala Strana). Picturesque alleys, historic palaces and hidden gardens make the area around the hotel the city’s most entrancing district. Here, you can meander through cobblestoned streets, marvel at romantic scenery, and stroll through galleries. The property is perfect for exploring the best of Prague since it’s within a short walking distance from all major tourist attractions, including the iconic 650-year-old Charles Bridge (5 min walk), the immensely popular Old Town Square (15 min walk) and the magnificent Prague Castle (15 min uphill walk). The Vltava river and lovely Kampa Park (with the Kampa Museum of abstract art) are both right around the corner.
- The hotel occupies a complex whose origins dates back to the 14th century. Part-Renaissance, part-Baroque and part-modern, the hotel’s distinctive set of buildings comprise eight centuries’ worth of architecture. Formerly a Dominican monastery, the structure incorporates a large part of the outer wall of St Mary Magdalene, one of the oldest churches in Prague that was built on the site around 1330. The hotel’s interiors pay homage to the monastery’s heritage, with original monk cells, Renaissance-era kitchens, a Baroque refectory and a cloister corridor with vaulted ceilings resting atop Baroque columns. The property’s most striking archeological feature is the remnant of a Gothic church, which is preserved under a glass floor in the spa, showcasing the hotel’s strong ties to Czech history and culture.
- Exuding a unique character and soothing charm, the beautiful hotel decor is a combination of historical ambience and contemporary design, sensitively complemented with the subtly opulent oriental touches for which the Mandarin Oriental brand is famous for. The hotel’s designers – Dům a Město Architects and British design studio Black Sheep – carefully preserved architectural features such as vaulted ceilings, archways and original staircases, creating a historically inspired backdrop for the hotel’s luxurious offerings. It all marries well with the more modern parts of the hotel, such as the understated lobby area – with a marble reception desk and white floral displays – and the adjoining food and beverage outlets – where you find vibrant modern artworks and sleek designer furnishings.
- Each of the 99 rooms and suites has been individually furnished and decorated to embrace the best of the destination whilst adding a touch of Asian flair. All rooms are spacious and exquisitely furnished, with high ceilings, often either vaulted or arched. During my stay, I was upgraded to a Deluxe Suite (6 categories above the room type I had originally booked!). With large windows and parquet floors, this suite featured a large sofa, Prague-inspired art works, and a Moser crystal chandelier in the living room. The separate bedroom came with two twin beds (as requested). The oversized bathroom was clad in polished limestone and featured heated floors, a walk-in shower, a bathtub and luxury bath products by Atelier Cologne.
- The hotel prides itself on five unique signature suites. The Moser Crystal Suite is distinctive for its crystal accessories and stunning decorations by Moser, the Czech Republic’s premier crystal manufacturer. The Oriental Suite is located at the top of a former Renaissance chapel and its curved walls and slightly mysterious atmosphere make it perfect for romantic escapes. Fit for rock stars or royalty, the Lazar Suite combines two luxury suites connected with an intimate foyer. The luxurious Lobkowicz Suite features an exclusive selection of lithograph facsimiles from The Lobkowicz collections, the largest private collection in the Czech Republic. Last, the Presidential Penthouse Suite features a large private roof terrace with stunning views of Prague Castle.
- The award-winning holistic spa at Mandarin Oriental Prague is located inside a former Renaissance chapel and linked to the hotel by an underground passageway, allowing you to retreat to your room in complete privacy. The spa’s vast light-filled reception featues a glass floor displaying the remains of a 14th century Gothic church uncovered during the hotel’s reconstruction. Offering seven treatment rooms – including two for couples featuring private heat and water-based treatment facilities and a vitality pool – the spa offers holistic treatments from around the world whilst incorporating the historic spa culture of Central Europe. The hotel also offers a fully equipped gym with two saunas.
- In keeping with Mandarin Oriental’s innovative approach to food, the hotel offers stylish dining with culinary flair. Departing from the heavy Czech food (think dumplings and schnitzel) largely on offer elsewhere in the city, the hotel’s only restaurant, Spices Restaurant and Bar, serves an eclectic mix of sophisticated Asian food, based around three styles of cooking – Sri Lankan, Thai and Indian. The menu features fragrant dishes like beef randang with coconut, turmeric, lemongrass and rice, or steamed halibut fillet with ginger, garlic and coriander. Distributed across five Renaissance vaulted rooms, Spices is located next to the lobby and also has a stunning cellar, available for private events such as wine tastings, small cocktail parties or private dinners.
- Each morning, Spices is also the scene of an excellent, beautifully displayed breakfast buffet. Cereals, fresh fruits, home-baked pastries, fine cheeses, cold meats and several hot dishes (scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon and chicken sausages) are offered. There’s also a separate menu for ordering eggs and pancakes (included in the room rate).
- The property is managed by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Over the past 50 years, Mandarin Oriental has grown from a well-respected Asian hotel company into one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands, and has a rich and proud history which began with the opening of the brand’s flagship property, The Mandarin, in 1963 in Hong Kong. In 1974, The Oriental in Bangkok, which was already acknowledged as one of the world’s most legendary hotels was partially acquired by the group, making the company unique in the way that it has two flagship hotels whose names represented the very best in hospitality. Today, the group operates more than 30 hotels worldwide, with each property featuring a distinctive oriental design (reflecting its heritage) and a unique sense of place.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Since its opening in 2006, the Mandarin Oriental Prague has been the most exclusive and talked about 5-star hotel in the Czech Republic’s capital (with the Four Seasons Prague being its only real competitor). There’s little to say against the exclusive property but you need to know the following before considering a stay here:
- The hotel is built on the site of a former 14th century monastery, and this wonderfully preserved piece of history had to be respected throughout the renovation. Consequently, there’s a lot of variation in the space and design of the guest rooms and suites. Due to the historic charm of the property, some rooms don’t have a view and the lowest category rooms are a bit on the small side and don’t get a lot of natural light.
- Leisure facilities at the hotel are limited. There’s no pool, the lobby is rather small (with no real lounge areas), and the spa – while excellent – is more of a wellness center, where you can only come upon appointment (since it only features treatment rooms). That said, the luxurious hotel offers the perfect vibe for a city or business trip, and I highly recommend it when you visit Prague.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 9/10
- Pool: the property has no pool
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 9/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 9/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 9/10
- Overall experience: exceptional 9/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Mandarin Oriental Prague (and/or receive many free perks).
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, fruit basket and home-made chocolate pralines in room on arrival, and $100 USD hotel credit).
- Room tip: request or book a room facing into the hotel’s inner courtyard and garden, as the Mandarin Oriental’s central location implies a road with some (not a lot) local traffic. First floor rooms facing this patio also feature a large terrace, which – whether permitting – is great place to have a glass of wine
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
In general, your best chance of nice weather in Prague is in late spring and early fall, i.e. in the second half of May and the months of June and September. The weather is often quite pleasant then, with temperatures in the 20s°C/70s°F, sunny or partly sunny skies, and mild evenings. If you like it hot, you should visit in July and August, Prague’s warmest and statistically driest months. You may also want to consider the daylight hours, which are long in late spring and summer (it stays light till 9 p.m. in May, 10 p.m. in July) and shorter in the fall (8 p.m. in September). Prague’s low season is during the cold months of November, January, February, and into March, so if you don’t mind the cold and prefer fewer tourists, this would be a good time for you to travel to Prague. Prague also has a special magic during Christmas time and when covered with snow (although Christmas and snow rarely come together these days).
HOW TO GET THERE
Mandarin Oriental Prague is a 20 min drive from Vaclav Havel Airport Prague. Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Prague.