A gorgeous former monastery, the Mandarin Oriental Prague is probably Prague's best large luxury hotel. Architects wisely chose to retain many of the Dominican monastery's original flourishes when it was restored, creating a peaceful, inspired backdrop for the hotel's luxurious offerings. One highlight is the spa, which incorporates local botanicals (like linden blossoms) in treatments. Another must is the restaurant, Spices, which serves Asian cuisine. The location, just off pretty Maltese Square, feels secluded and special, but is just a short, cobblestone-lined walk to sights like the Charles Bridge.
For such a swanky place, staff are keen on kids, and likely to welcome them with treats and appropriately-sized bathrobes.
The rooms, some with beamed or arched ceilings, are richly appointed and tastefully furnished with navy blue bedspreads and touches of velvet; many have panoramic views.
YOU SHOULD KNOW At less than 350 square feet, standard rooms can feel small.
Beautifully lit bathrooms with roomy tubs feel like a treat at the end of a long day, with plentiful sweet-smelling toiletries.
The lobby doesn't feel quite as historic as much of the rest of the hotel, with a more modern reception desk, but there is an attractive centrepiece and a friendly welcome.
The spa here is an absolute knock-out. Treatments are gorgeous, and the building itself is almost worth a visit just to gawp. The hotel says it is the only spa in the world located in a former chapel, and they've made the most of the location, with the foundations visible through a glass-panelled floor.
There is also a well-appointed fitness studio.
It might not be traditionally Czech, but the Mandarin Oriental's Asian restaurant, Spices, dishes up strikingly good food in a pleasant room.
You can sit outside for dinner or for a drink on warmer evenings (perhaps even the welcome drink the hotel staff are likely to offer), to make the most of the beautiful, secluded monastery environment.
The Spices restaurant doubles up as a bar, and is nice spot for a gentle drink before dinner.
There is a tram stop nearby (Hellichova), but in reality most of the places you will want to see will be within reach on foot.
If you want a break from the tourist hordes, head away from the castle to Ichnuga Botega Bistro (8-minute walk) for tasty Sardinian food. To keep it traditional, U Modré Kachničky (1-minute walk), is an authentically Czech special occasion kind of place, with good game dishes.
JazzDock (14-minute walk, 3 minutes in a taxi or Uber) is just along the river and delivers great live jazz aboard a floating structure on the Vltava itself. Just over the river, via the pretty most Legií (Legií bridge - there's a good view of the Charles Bridge from here too) is the Kristian Marco riverside bar (13-minute walk), open in the warmer months. Good Czech beer, unpretentious benches, live music and great views across the river.
WHY WE LIKE IT
You would expect nothing less than brilliance from one of the world's leading luxury hotel chains, but the Mandarin Oriental surpasses itself in Prague because of its gorgeous, secluded setting: a former monastery in a quiet corner of a beautiful district, with a serene spa in a chapel and a standout restaurant. It's expensive, of course, but if you are going to spend serious money on your hotel in Prague, we'd say spend it here.