Prague Imperial Hotel

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Address: Na Porici 15, , PRAGUE, 11000, Czech Republic

Star rating:
4 star hotel

3.1

History and Art Deco style near Old Town

Built as an Art Deco showpiece in 1913-14, the Imperial originally featured Cubist touches, celebrating the high point of the latter movement in Prague. The clientele of swells, hoi-polloi and fast women made it the life of the party during the pre-WWII years, then the Nazis moved in, apparently also won over by the magisterial Imperial - though you won’t read about that on the official literature.

Communist party bigshots also enjoyed living large here before 1989 but it had been reduced to a dusty hostel with an improbably grand ground floor café by the time of the Velvet Revolution. Fortunately - though perhaps not for students - it was been lavishly restored to its former glory over two years and reopened in style in 2007.

Location
3.5
90%
Eating/drinking
4
90%
Leisure facilities
3
90%
Service
3.5
90%
Value for money
3.3
90%
Bedrooms
3.2
90%
Public areas
4
90%

Location

A 5-minute walk from Old Town, the Imperial stands on a corner that has always buzzed with activity (and a fair amount of tram rumble), on the same street where Kafka once toiled as an insurance company bureaucrat. Streetside windows don’t offer any particularly inspiring views and do overlook a noisy intersection but the Imperial’s bang in the centre of things for visitors who plan to party or want to roll out of bed and hit the sights.

Bedrooms

Rooms are comfortable and the designers have been set loose, resulting in pleasing mixes of Cubist touches, gold, crimson and velour accents, and a feeling of decadence that’s hard to resist. They’re certainly not roomy but the marble tiled baths, firm yet plush beds, satellite TVs, DVD players on request and triple-glazed windows do help dampen noise significantly.

Public areas

The stunning porcelain reliefs that cover the café’s high walls and run throughout the lobby and entrances, employing Egyptian motifs and Czech mythology, can’t help but remind you that you’re in a city of incredible architecture and you’re sleeping right in one of the best examples.

Eating and drinking

Café Imperial guests have lived the high life for decades and the airy establishment now features waiters straight out of a 1930s comedy (except that they rarely spill trays of drinks) and an appealing menu of Vienna-style schnitzels, duck confit and such - and, of course, intense, thick espressos and divine little cakes.

Leisure facilities

Sauna, steambath and treadmills await in the efficiency-sized, but mosaic-tiled wellness centre, gratis, along with the usual soothing treatments, which are certainly not.

Service

No free WiFi in rooms, alas, and some guests feel rates aren’t quite justified, nor is the five-star rating, although the Imperial’s certainly no slouch. Concierge service is adept at producing concert tickets and restaurant reservations, though, plus the usual guides to the city, again at a cost, while the desk staff is professional and helpful, clearly well trained at pleasing up-market guests. (Yet a surprising number of package tourists do stay here).

Who stays there

Culture vultures who want to soak in Prague's arty atmosphere, groups who've scored a discount but enjoy plush rooms, couples wanting the Old Europe experience.

Price advice

Group discounts bring in the parties and off-season rates are well below the peak ones. For WiFi, try a cafe in Old Town instead of the pricy connection in your room or use the PC stations in the lobby as an alternative.

Amenities

  • Fitness Centre
  • Restaurant
  • Room Service

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Culture vultures
  • Foodies
  • Nightlife
  • Sightseeing
  • Art
  • Design and architecture

Pros & Cons

  • Classy ground floor cafe
  • Exceptional history and design
  • Location a bit noisy
  • Rooms at back dark
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