Czech Republic: The Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa

The Alchymist Hotel and Spa is one of Prague’s premier hotels, and I cannot speak more highly of it. On my first visit to Prague, I checked in with my partner for a flying visit.

The hotel is in an elegant old building, made up of four mansions combined in a golden romantic rococo style. The regal decor is enchanting and magnificent throughout, to say it was opulent would be an understatement. It is a fairy-tale hotel, in the best possible sense.

Brocade, gold and crystal set the frame for this exceptional experience. Architecture, soft furnishings and sparkling chandeliers combine with a fit-for-royalty welcome give a real Bohemian experience.

We were due to spend two nights in Prague. It was our first visit, so we were unfamiliar with neighbourhoods and accommodation but based on our research, we decided to give the Alchymist a try and I am so glad that we did.

Quietly tucked away in Mala Strana, it’s conveniently located but in a quiet and sophisticated neighbourhood, neighbouring the US embassy. The burly guardsman on the door made you feel extra safe, even if there was the slight annoyance of your taxi being searched on each journey. This by no means affected the majesty and experience, however.

 

Arriving mid-morning, we were greeted with champagne and had a swift, professional check-in, then shown to our beautiful room and settled in. The room had all the facilities you would expect: instant hot water, plenty of quality toiletries, great wi-fi, a good tv, a comfortable, high quality mattress, mini-bar, safe, good wardrobe space, blackout curtains, robes, slippers, plenty of towels, wooden hangers. To top this, in the central European winter, it was very warm indeed. The room was cleaned every day, with a turndown service including chocolates at night. Alongside this, a bottle of house champagne was delivered to our room later that evening.

There was an extensive choice of hot and cold breakfasts including cereals, homemade yoghurt and jam, fruit and vegetables, the full English and variations thereof and juices, coffee or tea. We were spoilt for choice. The staff were very polite and attentive to our needs. Nothing was too much trouble for them, making our stay very special.

The evening meal at the hotel’s Aquarius restaurant was where the experience really came into its own. The 55-seat restaurant is well known for delicious Mediterranean and Italian cuisine and mediocre is not in executive chef Tomáš Sysel’s repertoire. If you really need to impress, bring your guests here.

There is a feast of five-star dishes and I was particularly impressed by the vast wine list which featured more than 160 wines from the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Spain and Chile. All 160 were rather tasty, or so I believe. You can find the full menu at www.aquarius-prague.com.

There is a breathtaking spa in the cavern-like wine cellars downstairs, “Prague’s finest luxury Spa,” according to the hotel’s website. Not having been to any others, who am I to judge, but if any of the others match the Ecsotica Spa and Health Club for its ambience, personal care and attention, then I would like to see those reviews.

The spa offers all the treatments to be expected, including Thai, Swedish and the Alchymist’s own massage. I went for a combination of the three and I think my snoring paid testament to a splendid, relaxing, experience.

Every afternoon there was a free wine tasting event, with cheeses and other products from the Czech Republic, all very tasty and of high quality. This proved a wonderful way to network and meet some of the other guests staying at the hotel.

The hotel is in a fantastic location, just a few steps from Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge and honestly, a refreshing departure from the big-name chain hotels. The hospitality truly raises the bar and the staff were consistently friendly.

Take a short walk down the hill and you are in the centre of Prague, with its quaint shops, cafes, churches and museums. You’re also right next door to St. Nicholas’ church, which has been described as the most impressive example of Prague baroque. I also recommend the Lichtenstein Palace, on the Vltava river just upstream of the Charles Bridge, where I recommend you go to an ensemble concert.

All in all, The Alychimist was an unexpected delight and we can’t wait to go back.

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