Rivaling the best design hotels in capital cities around the world, this unique retreat goes toe to toe with many of the city's grande dame hotels; it's smart, fresh, and funky, with a modern art deco theme created by a host of top-notch designers. There's an art tour, a private club, a spa, fast Wi-Fi, and gorgeous decor throughout the public areas, though the rooms are perhaps a little plain considering the thought put into the other areas of the hotel--and it ain't cheap.
From the hotel's snazzy triangular logo onwards, someone has thought deeply about the Emblem's look. The small-ish rooms aren't exactly an exception to this--all clean lines and sleek furnishings, with duck feather blankets and Nespresso machines--but they are perhaps a little plain, considering the opulence of some of the rest of the hotel. There are nice touches though, like the retro Anglepoise lamps.
Standard rooms can differ, so if you prefer a larger room, a small balcony, or a bath-tub rather than a shower, tell the staff when you book and they'll see what they can do.
Bathrooms are marble, including marble sinks, and there are raindrop showers in every room. But the marble isn't your traditional Prague frill; it's grey and shot through with straight lines, giving the bathrooms a modern look.
There's a small welcome desk, then reception proper is in a cozy nook to your right. The entrance to the hotel, under an illuminated art-deco portico, feels suitably swanky, and the high ceilings and multi-level, no expense-spared lobby, continue the theme. Dark marble floors, interesting artworks, and mirrored tile curtains complete the look.
The hotel's rooftop M spa, by Pure Altitude, is quite the retreat. Only the stunning rooftop views remind you that you're still in central Prague as you soak in the outdoor jacuzzi; other facilities include an ice fountain, steam bath, small hot and cold plunge pools, and a sauna. Massages and face and body treatments, plus manicures, pedicures, and hair styling (on request) are also available. The attic relaxation room is airy and pleasant.
The hotel's rooftop spa also includes a fitness studio with cardio machines and free weights, and a personal trainer on request.
The hotel's restaurant is gorgeous, with quite a macho vibe: an American steakhouse called George Prime Steak, there's huge chandeliers, gold panelling, dark leather chairs and metal stags heads on the wall. More importantly, the food--obviously, particularly the steaks--is great. Separately, the hotel breakfast is a good offering, and included in the room price.
YOU SHOULD KNOW George Prime Steak is quite pricey for Prague, but you are paying for top quality steak and other meats, cooked perfectly.
The Emblem's bar is a bit special: designed as a private members' club-cum-lounge for guests and located in the basement, the Maharal Club aims to be a living room for guests, as the hotel admits its rooms are not the largest. The space includes the Pantry (also known as The Kitchen), the Salon, the Games Room, and the Drawing Room, all quite dark, luxe spaces (think leather, velvet, deep rich tones), and there are regular special events or--as the hotel calls them--"house parties."
Brilliantly located in an otherwise slightly uninspiring part of Old Town (on a wide road, near a KFC), the hotel is steps from Old Town Square and other sights, and is also on the right side for quick access to Mala Strana and the castle. Otherwise, trams and the Metro go from Staroměstská, a 4-minute walk away.
Mistral Cafe (3-minute walk) is a cool, laid-back restaurant for international-style food and wine. Or go big at the Four Seasons hotel's Cotto Crudo (5-minute walk) Italian restaurant, with good views of the river and castle.
Reliable Czech food and good beer are on offer at the nearby branch of the Potrefena Husa (2-minute walk) chain--the name literally means "Wounded Goose" and the beers are provided by the local Staropramen brewery.
Or do as other in-the-know visitors and Czechs do, and head for the Grosseto Marina (5-minute walk) boat. It's a pretty good pizza restaurant, but in the top floor bar, you can sup traditional Czech drinks (try a Beton--Becherovka and tonic) with a jawdropping view of Mala Strana and Prague Castle, all lit-up at night.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Cool and comfortable, the Emblem would hold its own with design hotels the world over. Its rooftop spa is seriously special, and its basement bar is snug and exclusive. Rooms are a little less "wow," but are still good-looking and elegant. And best of all, all of this style and substance comes only steps away from Old Town Square.