Boutique stay BoHo Hotel – a former art deco post office given a mod makeover – is the palate cleanser to the Baroque and Romanesque abundance of Prague’s Old Town (a pleasant five-minute stroll away). Aesthetes will swoon over the cleverly composed rooms, crisp design elements in marble and blonde wood, and cool palettes. No mere museum piece, the hotel’s convivial nature – bespoke cocktails, cosmopolitan dining, top-form staff – permeates its polished demeanour.
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Welcome drink on arrival, free entry to the spa and a gourmet gift (luxury biscuits, local ham or cheese, depending on the season)
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Luggage can be stored at reception.
Double rooms from £91.39 (€107), including tax at 15 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €0.60 per person per night on check-out.
Rates do not include breakfast (€18 a person).
The hotel’s library exudes warmth beneath its glossy veneer: plum and chartreuse sofas are scattered around a fireplace and a bookcase lined with intriguing tomes covers the back wall. Decoration in rooms may be discreet, but each has a unique photographic print of a different aspect of Prague, shot by artist Jordi Llorella on a pinhole camera over 57 days (one for each room).
At the hotel
Spa and gym, sauna, library and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, kettle with a selection of teas and a minibar. The Junior Suites and Family Room have a Nespresso machine too.
Our favourite rooms
Suites are generously sized and luxuriously dressed, with a few spice tints to liven up a pared-back palette, and a double day-bed to flop onto. Both have especially eye-catching bathrooms, where a slipper bath tubs are backed by gilded panels.
The spa’s chic, black, cuboid Jacuzzi adheres to the hotel’s geometrically alluring style. There are massage jets poised above, submerged lights and an in-built bench to rest on as you’re gently bubbled in soothing 30–35 degree water.
Gilded panels add a touch of glamour to the spa’s sultry main area (open 10am–8pm); a mini sauna sits to one side of the Jacuzzi, and Swedish, aromatherapy and deep-tissue massages are held in a solo treatment room. There’s also a state-of-the-art gym with cardio equipment.
The winter brings photogenic frost-tipped spires and bitterly cold winds; a full set of stylish woollens is essential. The city’s opera halls and theatres swarm with soigné Czechs; pack an ensemble that goes up to the nines for a cultured night out.
The hotel’s public areas and ground-floor room 002 are wheelchair accessible.
Children are welcome. There’s a sizeable Family Room, and Superior Rooms and higher categories have a sofa beds. Restaurant staff can rustle up high chairs and heat milk; however, the hotel has little baby kit or in-house entertainment.
Juniors and teens.
The dedicated Family Room comfortably sleeps four, and Suites have a comfy day-bed on which children can snooze.
No in-house entertainment, but Prague’s puppet shows, river cruises and bedtime-story architecture will keep little ones entranced.
The spa’s Jacuzzi is for grown-ups to unwind in.
Guests can borrow highchairs and the kitchen will happily heat milk and baby food.
The hotel has little in the way of baby kit, so pack any essentials if bringing a teeny tot.
The dove-grey banquettes running along the restaurant’s wall of windows get the most light, and overlook the courtyard.
Boho by name, a bit sleeker by nature. Keep your hippie chic haute.
Design devotees will be sated by the hotel's eatery, whether they’re cooing over the precisely cut marble counters or cascading light from the ceiling installation, or the creative concoctions on their plate. The menu has international picks, and a generous breakfast buffet is laid out on the bank of blonde-wood counters running along the interior wall, but guests can choose à la carte goodies too.
The bar languidly stretches out over the lobby; outfitted in cool greys and blues, with a strip of slim pendant lights, it’s quite the trendsetter; and a bevy of sofas set by street-facing windows allow you to people watch in relative privacy. It’s a place to be seen too, with frequent jazz nights and a highly competent team of cocktail crafters who’ll mix up a bespoke drink on (polite) demand.
The restaurant opens for breakfast from 7am–11am and dinner from 6pm–11pm.
Sandwiches, burgers, schnitzel and other light meals comprise the hotel’s in-room dining offering, available 7am–11pm.
The hotel is on a relaxed, partially cobbled street steps away from the Powder Tower, an 11th-century gate to Prague’s historic Old Town. Wenceslas Square is a 10-minute walk in the opposite direction, and the Charles Bridge is 20 minutes by foot.
Václav Havel Airport is roughly a 30-minute taxi ride from the hotel. Ryanair, Easyjet, British Airways, KLM and Air France fly direct from UK cities. From the US, Norwegian airline flies via Oslo, and flights across the Pacific arrive via Berlin or Moscow. For CZK700 one-way (for up to four guests), the hotel can arrange transfers by private car.
Prague’s main station Hlavní Nádraží is a 10-minute drive or 20-minute walk from the hotel. Deutsche Bahn runs several Intercity and Eurocity services from Cologne, Zurich and Frankfurt via Belin, and a high-speed sleeper train from Amsterdam once a day. Náměstí Republiky, a five-minute walk from the hotel, is the nearest Metro stop; a three-day ticket is CZK310.
Go on foot to admire Prague’s Bohemian splendour. If your legs tire, the city’s extensive tram and Metro system can pick up the slack. Excellent rail links make it easy to explore beyond Prague, but there’s an Avis booth at the airport if you prefer to drive to 13th-century city Ceský Krumlov, or take a day trip to Vienna (a three-hour drive).
Worth getting out of bed for
At the end of Senovážná street, next to the art nouveau Municipal House and Smetana concert hall, is the 11th-century Powder Tower, gateway to Prague’s Old Town. This historic neighbourhood resembles Disney's most charming fairytale set pieces gathered together on a cobbled mantelpiece. The Square showcases layers of history in fanciful architecture: ice-cream-coloured, shield-emblazoned town houses; spike-turreted Tÿn Church; Jugendstil wedding-cake, St Nicholas Church; and Rococo, blush-pink Kinskÿ Palace. On the hour Orioj (the Town Hall’s 14th-century astronomical clock) plays a mechanised show with rotating apostles and an hourglass-wielding figure of Death – riveting stuff. The hotel’s equidistant from the Old and so-called New Town (actually founded in the 14th century); Wenceslas Square is a 10-minute walk along Jindřišská Street. Clubs and restaurants in this quarter tend towards the touristy, but the National Museum and State Opera House are worthy stops; and the Museum of Communism on Na Příkopě is notable for its location, above a McDonalds. For swoonsome views, climb up to Prague Castle on the left bank of the Vltva river, then stroll past the timbered houses along Golden Lane inside the walls. The castle looks magical from the Charles Bridge after sundown, thanks to the Rolling Stones, who paid for its lighting rig – allegedly after a drunken night with then president Vàclav Havel. The Jewish Quarter is both beautiful and heartbreaking, with a crowded cemetery dating back to the 15th century and ancient synagogues (the elder of which is strangely dubbed the Old-New Synagogue). While wandering, look for sculptures by the enfant terrible of the Czech art world, David Cernÿ: alien babies scaling the Zižkov Television Tower, Freud hanging from a building on Na Perstyne, and a pissing match in front of the Franz Kafka Museum – they’re cheeky yet curiously endearing.
Prague’s cuisine has surpassed its reputation for stodgy dumplings and cabbage. Elegant tasting menus are offered at La Degustation and Alcron, where diners can assemble four-to-seven courses from the day’s hot-and-cold cartes. Triton Restaurant, close to Wenceslas Square, looks perfectly pleasant from the outside, but head downstairs and a grotto bedecked with gargoyles and bas reliefs awaits – a delightfully OTT nod to the city’s mediaeval heritage. Yugoslavian restaurant Luka Lu is one of Prague’s most colourful and celebrated eateries, for interiors painted like a flock of tropical birds and a meat-heavy menu. Hidden down 918 Kozi Street, behind some velvet curtains and down a staircase, is Kozička (‘little goat’ in Czech) a laid-back, local-luring kinda place, with reasonably priced steaks and excellent beers on tap.
Siddharta Café's (648–649 Jakubská) colonial-chic, neon-flecked interiors will appeal to those with an upmarket boho sensibility. Fragrant cocktails and chilli-flecked dishes resemble exotic gardens, and bespoke tea blends are served in glass vials.
Malt and hop aficionados will find their spiritual home in Prague – the city’s been brewing since the 12th-century, giving rise to the Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser Budvar and Staropramen brands among many more. The dark, caramelly pivo in 14th-century U Flekû (11 Křemencova) is an in-house exclusive, and evenings there are raucously good fun, with lederhosen-sporting tuba players and waiters with top-heavy trays roaming the eight timbered beer halls. If spirits and sparkling drinks are more your speed, head to Black Angel’s Bar (29 Staroměstské) – a backlit baroque mêlée of amber vials, statuettes of art nouveau-style ingénues and elaborate candelabra. Ringleader barmen dress in dapper fin de siècle style, and the cocktail, champagne and cigar menus are extensive. The Hemingway Bar is the kind of drinkery you'd find the writer in, living up to his hedonistic reputation. For more lit-themed libations try Bukowski's or pull up a stool at Bad Flash Bar for a pint of their home brew.
We open on a fairy-tale scene: Mr Smith and I stand in the snow-sprinkled square of Prague’s romantic Old Town, stuffing carb-laden treats into our mouths. ‘You know, 15 minutes of shivering burns 100 calories.’ I tell Mr Smith through a mouthful of traditional, cinnamon- and sugar-dusted Czech trdelnik (a large cone of dough slathered in Nutella and filled with whipped cream). ‘So, the calories in this don’t count.’ He raises an incredulous eyebrow; in just 24 hours, we have munched our way through huge bowls of steaming, paprika-spiked goulash, bread dumplings of frightening density, spicy kielbasa sausages and plates of haluski (potato dumplings covered in cheese and bacon) – all washed down with lashings of local beer, of course. Throughout our stay, the city with a prevalent gastronomic reputation for soggy cabbage and stodgy stews had surpassed itself.
On arrival, the day before, we had ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the thickly falling snow. As the taxi from the airport stopped outside boutique stay BoHo Hotel, we pressed our noses up against the window so we could admire the sleek mahogany façade of the former post office. First built in art deco style, the hotel had been given a glossy modern makeover, creating a sophisticated, polished feel; it sat in stark contrast to the decorous mediaeval castles and Baroque buildings with frilly spires in the Old Town close by. ‘It creates a curious juxtaposition.’ said Mr Smith loudly, looking around to see if anyone else had heard him use a big word. After a short tour of the hotel we headed up to our room, which was a very sleek affair (unlike its occupants that weekend): all floor-to-ceiling mirrors, restful shades of blue and grey, and a sultry ebony bathroom with an extra-deep bath tub.
After settling in we took a not-so-quick trip to the hotel spa, a space so soothing that Mr Smith fell asleep in the sauna. After waking him up and cooling off, we went downstairs, where we were greeted with the offer of a Czech wine tasting in the library. Perhaps no-one else knew about it; perhaps they were too busy outside exploring Prague’s more cultured enclaves; or maybe Czech wine’s reputation is superseded by its pivo: whatever the reason, there were no other guests in attendance. ‘We can try as much as we want, right?’ I asked our charmingly bemused waiter. ‘For free?’ added Mr Smith, eyes widening in disbelief. ‘Of course.’ said our waiter, ‘what will you start with?’
Feeling very jolly, a couple of hours later we trundled out into the cold in search of dinner. We'd heard myriad tales of an old tavern in the outskirts of the city called Klášterní šenk, famed to have the best traditional dishes around. So we hopped in an Uber – apologising profusely for our lack of Czech – and sped off into the night. Half an hour later, Mr Smith and I were standing foot-deep in slush by the side of the motorway, subsumed into a thick blanket of fog, with absolutely no idea where we were. Too British to risk insulting the driver by asking if he was sure this was the right place, we had waved him off cheerily. ‘Right. Hmm. Don't be annoyed, but I think it might be down there…’ said Mr Smith, gesturing to a dark, dingy pathway, that seemed to lead into a boggy field. ‘It's not your fault’ I said benevolently (even though it was). And so, holding hands tightly, we ventured down into the abyss.
Moments later, it was as if we had stepped into Narnia from a muddy wardrobe: a majestic old monastery loomed into view, surrounded by pristine snow-covered fields that sparkled under the moonlight. At the end of a cobbled, tree-lined path, we saw the warm orange light of the tavern. Inside, it was decorated like a set from Game of Thrones: a huge open fire roared in the centre of room; antique farming tools and horseshoes hung from the stone walls; each table was littered with tankards; and a delicious smell of grilled meat filled the air. Dissuaded from ordering three courses by the waiter (the reason for his reticence: large portions, apparently. We scoffed showily – had he met us?), we ordered roasted pork knee with sour cherries and apple-horseradish sauce, and duck breast with red and white cabbage, bacon dumplings and potatoes. ‘You're going to turn into a dumpling soon.’ said Mr Smith, romantically.
Our meal was superb, despite our waiter’s ‘I told you so’ smirk when he cleared our not-quite-empty plates. Bellies bulging and cheeks flushed, resolving to be ‘less British’ about things, we jumped in a taxi and headed back to BoHo. We were tempted to stop for a nightcap in the gleaming lobby bar, with its comfy sofas and rainbow assortment of liqueur bottles, but the draw of our cloud-soft bed prevailed, so we raced upstairs to flop, face-down on the crisp, cool sheets.
It was time to Czech-out (boom boom), so – not quite ready to say goodbye – we lingered over BoHo's breakfast for as long as possible. Over a delectable array of pastries, freshly-baked bread, home-made gravadlax, cheese, ham, eggs-every -way and more, we reminisced about our time in Prague: the food, the drink, the people and places we saw, the food – again – and vowed that we would be back.