There is no destination more idyllic than Prague when it comes to taking a winter vacation. With its snow-capped castle and baroque rooftops, atmospheric Christmas markets and array of winter activities, the Czech capital makes the perfect seasonal getaway. And what better way to start your vacation than checking in at Hotel Paris Prague. This five-star accommodation has 86 welcoming rooms, as well as luxurious apartments and suites, all housed in a landmark 20th century building. With its renowned art nouveau facade, this sophisticated, yet cosy hotel also offers rejuvenating spa treatments and elegant in-house dining – it’s the ultimate retreat from the winter cold.
The Hotel Paris Prague’s city centre location is another great reason to stay. It’s minutes from Prague’s UNESCO listed Old Town Square and its host of seasonal markets, where roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, traditional handcrafts and festive cheer are the order of the day. Taking place from late November and continuing into the new year, the markets – especially the Old Town market, which was voted the world’s best in 2014 – are ideal for sampling Czech food, drink and entertainment in stunning surroundings. A smaller market at Náměstí Republiky, just metres from the hotel, has fewer crowds and visitors may even catch a glimpse of traditional carp vendors selling this Christmas delicacy straight from enormous tubs.
Hotel Paris Prague is within walking distance of yet another iconic Prague pastime – open-air ice skating. The area’s most popular rink is located on the site of a former medieval fruit market, Ovocný trh. Dating back to the 13th century, this quiet square is transformed into a winter wonderland from early December until the end of January. Complete with skate rentals and refreshments, it’s a great place for visitors and locals to mingle. Another, smaller rink, Na Františku, can be found on nearby Kozí street in the historic Jewish Quarter, also just a short stroll from the hotel. It’s an ideal place to escape the crowds and combine an outing with a visit to the neighbouring boutiques of Pařížská Street. Here, Prague’s most glittering shopping district is home to a host of leading fashion brands and independent Czech designers, so you can treat yourself to an early Christmas gift.
In from the cold
Want to know the best part of exploring snowy Prague? Warming up with a hot drink in one of Prague’s stylish cafes. Hotel Paris Prague is home to Café de Paris, a nod to the French cafes of the 1920s in both decor and cuisine – so enjoy a welcome break from the bustling city with cocktails and light bites. Indulge in the house speciality, Cappuccino Hotel Paris, made with thick whipped cream and a slice of Chocolate Paris Cake – the recipe is unchanged since 1904. Elsewhere, the splendid Obecní dům Café on the ground floor of the neighbouring Municipal House is among the loveliest in Prague. Here, you can enjoy decadent Sacher cake and hot chocolate with rum under the high ceilings and magnificent chandeliers of the Secession era.
In fact, it’s possible to devote an entire afternoon to exploring Municipal House. Regular exhibitions take place beneath the Alphonse Mucha murals amid the remarkable architecture of this historic space. Meanwhile, performances by the Prague Symphony Orchestra, including a roster of seasonal concerts in the magnificent Smetana Hall, will delight those with a passion for classical music. Another tip for culture lovers? The National Theatre should not be missed for its programme of opera, traditional Laterna magika theatre, and performances of The Nutcracker ballet throughout December.
When it’s time to turn in from Prague’s wintry delights, guests of Hotel Paris Prague can retreat to a stylish room, complete with replica art nouveau interiors and furnishings, as well as all modern amenities. Or maybe choose an artistically decorated suite – whether it’s the Mucha Suite, named after the renowned art nouveau painter, or the Tower Suite a unique residence nestled in the hotel’s tower with sweeping views of the Czech capital.
Guests are also invited to enjoy a gourmet winter meal at Sarah Bernhardt Restaurant, the hotel’s fine-dining venue. Led by Head Chef Karel Hynek, two forthcoming culinary events promise to fuse Czech traditions with French inspiration: a five-course Christmas menu (24-25 December) featuring grilled foie gras, tartar of king crab, and other seasonal delights, and the New Year’s Eve Gala (31 December) with roasted veal medallions or truffle gnocchi, a jazz band, and of course, plenty of champagne.
A visit to the hotel’s Wellness & Spa Centre is the perfect way to work off the festivities. So, unwind in the sauna or Jacuzzi, or indulge in one of the spa’s Thai-style treatments, such as warming hot oil therapy or a lavastone massage. What a way to spend a winter weekend.