Reviewing Prague

Reviewing Prague - Prague, Czech Republic

Ever wonder what goes on in the head of a EuroCheapo editor during a research trip? Wonder no longer. Following a recent trip to Prague, Listings Editor Vivien Kim Thorp paused to ask herself a few questions about the Czech Republic's most popular city.

Hradcany neighborhood Prague

Nestled around the Prague Castle, the Hradcany neighborhood's hotels live up to their classy environs. Photo: Michel27.

1. Favorite hotels?

Hands down, Hradcany is my favorite neighborhood, and I would sleep in a potato sack to stay here. If I were traveling with my mother and in the mood to splash out, I'd check into The Golden Star (Zlata Hvezda) at the foot of Prague Castle for elegant rooms and lovely views.

For modern ambience in easy walking distance of the sites, I'd sleep at the Hotel Atlantic, which is around the corner from the Municipal House. I loved its lounge and the funky, retro lighting in the rooms. Additionally, the Unitas Hotel, which has reasonably priced rooms, great amenities, a convenient location and a fascinating political history to boot.

2. Favorite thing about working in the city?

The beer.

3. What surprised you about Prague?

I was surprised by how many tourists there were. That sounds silly, but I have several friends who'd studied or lived in Prague a few years back. The Prague they spoke of was a path much less traveled, at least by foreign tourists.

4. Funny story.

I was in the National Museum just before closing hours and thought I'd run to the bathroom before they kicked me out. Now this is a really quirky place. It looks as if it were frozen in a Warsaw Pact ice block, with dreary interiors, dusty displays, and creepy stuffed animals. Stout old ladies are posted in many of the rooms to watch over the displays. One of these ladies was in the bathroom with me and started changing out of her uniform and into a flower print shirt right then and there, as if we were in the locker room of a gym or a dressing room. It's something I won't forget for years to come.

5. City secret.

OK, it's not exactly a charming secret, but many of Prague's guesthouses, which are situated in sleepy old homes, are run by large agencies. These companies kit the places out with a hodgepodge of furniture pieces, making them feel like genuine family-run sorts of places. In actuality, agencies run a dozen of these places apiece. This fact reduces the charm factor a little bit.

Prague Beer

The architecture is stunning, to be sure, but the thing that keeps people coming back to Prague may just be the beer. Photo: pablo_marx.

6. Local food item.

Pivo = Beer. It's cold and readily available.

7. Highlights of trip/reviewing period.

It's not exactly a "highlight," but my absinthe hangover is certainly seared in my brain for eternity. It led me to seek quiet solace in the grounds around Vysehrad. The cemetery is stunning, studded with Prague history, not to mention some very creative headstones. I witnessed a wedding while there. Picture perfect, indeed.

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