One of the cluster of excellent smaller hotels in the city’s romantic and serene Mala Strana district, the Alchymist stands atop the street that hosts the U.S. embassy so security’s certainly never an issue. It’s an ideal spot for strolls down the hill and across Charles Bridge to Old Town but the cobbled inclines don’t bode well for those not in reasonable shape. The calm surrounds, lovely facades and nearby courtyards are most appealing, though.
The theme of over-the-top poshness follows you right into bed. As is common in these hotels, ‘deluxe’ is the bottom category of room, and, naturally, these are loaded with black lacquer cabinets, gold gilt mirrors, lemon-tinted walls and deeply inviting beds that might have been designed for sumo wrestlers - though the floor plan may not have been. Junior suites feature more space, premium cable channels, DVD players, gorgeous baths and crystal chandeliers.
A scraffitoed patio serves as backdrop to your luncheon, while vaulted ceilings within are done up in champagne and saffron tones - hardly subtle but if grandeur is a priority, this is the place. Try not to get lost in the palatial surrounds.
Eating and drinking
The Aquarius restaurant, with its Mediterranean and seafood specialties, is, fittingly, out of a Kubrick film. If money's no object, the 1,490 Kc degustation menu's appealing enough...but at that rate you'd expect more imaginative entries than tuna tartar and New Zealand lamb. Being photographed with your sorbet might be a better use of the place.
A spiral stone staircase leading down to the Ecsotica Spa & Health Club might as well have been trucked in from St. Nicholas’ Cathedral a block over. The fitness facilities within, mainly treadmills and exercise bikes, don’t quite match the buildup, though the Asian massage treatments are thoroughly pedigreed. Still, at north of 2,000 Kc for an hour’s hot stone treatment, this is probably one more for expense accounts than a couple’s retreat.
The men-only steam room and smallish pool are photogenic but not overly practical.
Friendly and professional but not notably exceptional. In fairness, the Alchymist tries quite hard - and sets itself a mighty high bar (and displays five stars prominently) but several guests have found that Prague hotels in with this rating are rarely on the same playing field as those in Western capitals. The ability to anticipate and graciously meet guests' needs is still evolving in the Czech Republic.
Who stays there
Adventurous business types out to impress, Russians, honeymooners, couples in the mood to splash out for a treat.
Price is good compared with the city's other top-rated hotels. Breakfasts are not included but the VAT tax is. Package deals for weekend stays entice further.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Pets Allowed
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Culture vultures
- Great views / scenery
- Special occasions
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- In the heart of lovely Mala Strana
- Dining room splendor
- Impressive spa included
- Location a bit up a cobbled street
- Decor a bit intense for some