The perks of having a travel writer for a mother! I first checked into the Mandarin Oriental in Prague five years ago with my parents when mum was invited to stay for a night and review the experience. Unsurprisingly, a faultless and incredibly enjoyable stay. When I found myself back there on a work trip recently, I was interested to see if I’d have a similar experience as a ‘regular’ guest.
Tucked away in a quiet back street, you’d be forgiven for not realising the noteworthy location of the hotel. Not only is the Mandarin Oriental a pleasant, five-minute stroll from the famous and beautiful Charles Bridge but, as we later found out, it’s in an area where many locals choose to live themselves – always a good sign!
With a large, walled courtyard at the front, doorman are on hand to help with bags and welcome you to check in. From here the staff are all too happy to personally escort you to your room following a short tour of all the facilities including a bar, restaurant, gym, spa and…ballroom.
Housed in an old monastery, the hotel is immaculately decorated, has long cream corridors, an abundance of fresh oriental flowers and the original, arched ceilings synonymous with Czech design. While even the best hotels can often look a little tired or dated after some time, I’m slightly surprised to find this one in pristine condition, much the way I remember it from five years ago.
The rooms are embarrassingly big. We have been upgraded to a deluxe room with a garden view that, even with two twin beds, a desk, TV unit, wardrobe and armchair still has enough space to host a small party (please note we did not test this theory out). The ceilings are also impressively high – as you’d expect with old buildings – and the floor to ceiling windows open out over a picturesque, inner-rooftop courtyard.
And then there’s the bathroom. With individual basins, a huge shower, separate bath with a TV above it, naturally, and the mandatory bathrobes, it’s everything you could want and more.
Decorated in tasteful blues and oranges, it’s the attention to detail that sets the rooms apart from other hotels – leather finishes on furniture, large oak coat hangers that aren’t locked in assuming you’re going to steal them…welcome fruit on arrival, free bottled water, slippers and even a beautiful sleep spray with your nightly turndown service.
Downstairs the gold bar makes for a great place to sit and rest your weary legs after a long day on the cobblestones. The noticeably cute bartenders are all too happy to help you select a drink and keep your complimentary popcorn and bread sticks coming. We also shared two mains – a chicken wrap and the ravioli. Both delicious, the final bill was far more reasonable than you may expect too.
Breakfast the next morning – served in the Spices Restaurant & Bar – offered everything you could hope for. There were fresh pancakes, eggs, quiche, cold cuts, cheese, cereals, thick, fresh local bread, fruit and an impressive spread of pastries and sweets. Afterwards, we staggered back to our room ready to face the day ahead with full tummies.
With service that goes above and beyond, the staff seem genuinely happy to be at work – a refreshing change from some customer service experiences. The only part of the whole experience I could have done without with was the emergency alarm that woke us from our slumber at 6:30am – thankfully a false alarm as we were informed a minute later – as I don’t think anyone fancied standing in their Mandarin Oriental bathrobe in the courtyard at that hour of the day!
With the room coming in at €375 for a twin including breakfast, if you’re travelling with a companion and looking to treat yourself in Prague, the Mandarin Oriental will definitely not disappoint.