A Gem for All Seasons: The Four Seasons Prague

Visiting Prague you easily see why it is often called, “The Golden City of 100 Spires” — it is lustrous by day and radiant at night with a myriad of spires prominent on the city’s many churches and towers. It would be a treat to visit this historic city any time of year, but I’ve now been there twice – each time in winter. Even on those cold, brisk days, I was captivated by Prague’s beauty and fairytale ambiance.

"Prague, often called the Golden City of 100 Spires"

Prague, the “Golden City of 100 Spires”

On our first visit to Prague in 2011, we loved the Christmas markets at Old Town Square and Wenceslaus Square and were eager to repeat the experience. Since we also felt that there was more of Prague to see than we were able to cover on that short trip, we put it on our itinerary for December 2013, making it our final destination following visits to Budapest and Bratislava.

This time, we selected the Four Seasons Prague to be our base and it proved to be a gem for many reasons.

First Impressions

The moment we entered the hotel, we got a sense of the kind of stay we were about to experience. On the cold winter’s night after a short walk from the Metro station, it felt cozy arriving at the hotel to warm welcomes in the lovely lobby, elegantly decorated with holiday touches.

"Tasteful and elegant holiday decorations in the lobby of Four Seasons Prague"

Four Seasons Prague lobby with holiday flowers and decorations by a cozy fireplace

I seem to make a habit of arriving at Four Seasons hotels tired, hungry and disheveled from the journey. Friendly staff like those at reception in the photo below make me feel like an old friend and frequent visitor. I particularly remember Eleni (not in the photo) who checked us in and then enthusiastically escorted us to our room, insisting on taking my large and heavy computer bag which I often have strapped over my shoulder.

"Friendly reception staff at Four Seasons Prague"

Smiling staff at Four Seasons Prague

We had a nice time talking with her about the hotel and she seemed genuinely interested in hearing a bit about us and our travels. Entering the room, she smiled and asked, “How do you like your room?” eagerly awaiting our response which was that it was absolutely lovely. That was our first impression,  and I grew to like it even more the longer we stayed.

Location

"Four Seasons Prague from across the Vltava (to the left of the Charles Bridge)"

For perspective, the Four Seasons Prague as viewed from across the Vltava (just a short distance to the left of the Charles Bridge)

Just a five minute walk from the Staroměstská Metro, right on the Vltava River near Old Town Square, the Charles Bridge, and many other key sites, the Four Seasons is ideal for enjoying a visit to Prague. It’s less than a 10 minute walk to Old Town Square and one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. Actually, Mr. TWS is of the opinion that there is no question about that. It’s also a short 25 minute scenic walk from Prague Castle on the other side of the Vltava.

"Four Seasons Neo-Renaissance building seen from Křižovnická Street, Prague"

Four Seasons Neo-Renaissance building seen from Křižovnická Street

We spent a good part of our days walking around the city seeing the sites, taking in the gorgeous vistas, and getting our share of Czech food and drink. It was nice to get back into the hotel at the end of the day to freshen up before heading back out to capture the magical night scenes of Prague and stroll through the Christmas markets.

Beauty, style and comfort

The architecture of Four Seasons Prague has wonderful distinctive historical details that I feel exude the character of the city.

"Four Seasons Prague buildings along the Vltava"

Four Seasons Prague buildings

The property consists of four buildings, three from the 18th and 19th centuries and a modern building connecting them. The oldest is the Baroque House built in 1737 (the lower building on the right above).The Neo-Classical House (4-level building shown on the left), was originally a factory, later apartments, then offices in the 1960s. The Neo-Renaissance House was originally designed in 1883 for apartments and is not quite visible in the photo above beyond the Modern Building connecting them all.  My dream would be to stay in the Presidential Suite which takes up the entire second floor of the Baroque House and has stunning views across the river of Prague Castle and Malá Strana (Little Quarter).

"Renaissance Room at Four Seasons Prague"

Renaissance Room at Four Seasons Prague

We stayed in a Renaissance Room which I thought exuded a soothing elegance with the light blue color scheme and finely-crafted paneling and molding. I was particularly taken with the Bohemian crystal chandelier and the ceiling designs that were hand-painted by local artists.

I’m always happy when I’m in a room with lots of windows that actually open. Yes, even in the winter, I like to open them, listen to the sounds of the city and breathe in the fresh air for a bit. Our room overlooked Křižovnická Street (some rooms overlook the Vltava), which although it is a fairly busy street  our room was very quiet.

Fine Dining

The hotel restaurant, CottoCrudo, met our expectations of fine cuisine and comfortable ambiance as we’ve experienced in other Four Seasons hotels. I loved the bright, open space of the restaurant with ample windows letting in natural light. Each morning, we were lucky to get a table by the windows facing the Vltava River with a glimpse of the Charles Bridge and Malá Strana. Although the weather was partly cloudy during much of our time in Prague, on our first day, we were treated to glorious sunshine and a bright clear day.

"View from CottoCrudo restaurant, Four Seasons Prague"

View from CottoCrudo restaurant

Breakfast has many choices of pastries, fruit, breads, cheese and meats as well a selection of an entree. I’m very selective about ordering Eggs Benedict — it can be so disappointing in restaurants — but I order it without hesitation in the Fours Seasons and have never been disappointed. Mr. TWS, who doesn’t eat meat, also was able to enjoy it with salmon instead of ham.

"Dinner at CottoCrudo, Four Seasons Prague"

Left: Black pork chop, Casteluccio lentils, roasted onion, pancetta Top right: seared scallops, grilled zucchini, citrus caviar Bottom right: Beetroot salad, Ricotta Affumicata, Piemontese croccantino

A special treat was dinner at CottoCrudo (Italian for “Cooked, Raw”) where, under the direction of executive chef Richard Fuchs, “urban Italian” dishes are served. The restaurant has a raw bar (Crudo Bar) with traditional sashimi, mozzarella, salami, prosciutto and other fresh food. The nighttime setting of the restaurant is stylish, but not pretentious. It was quite romantic sitting in a booth along the side of the restaurant, while we indulged in a few courses of beautifully presented and delicious antipasti, entrees and dessert.

"Amedei chocolate Lingotto and Bronte pistachio, Karlovarská Becherovka at CottoCrudo, Four Seasons Prague"

Amedei chocolate Lingotto and Bronte pistachio, Karlovarská Becherovka

To cap off the meal, we each had a nice glass of Karlovarská Becherovka, traditional Czech spirit with a unique taste that has been produced since 1807 in Karlovy Vary. It is produced from a secret recipe mixture of herbs and spices and is said to be good for stomach aches. It made me feel quite warm and satisfied — enough so that we decided to go back out and for a walk across the Charles Bridge in the moonlight.

Art and artistic touches

You probably know that I appreciate the artistic touches of places I visit. The art collection exhibited throughout the hotel and in the rooms, includes old lithographs of Prague as well as modern abstract paintings displayed tastefully throughout. I particularly enjoyed the sculptures and beautiful glass objects created by prominent Czech artists. The art, floral arrangements and Christmas decorations tastefully complemented one another.

"Holiday decor and glass artwork by Czech artists in Four Seasons lobby"

Art and artistic touches: Holiday decor and glass artwork by Czech artists in Four Seasons lobby

While admiring the sculpture by Lea Vivot of the young couple (shown below) at the entrance of the Four Seasons, Mr. TWS thought that I looked like I was offering them relationship tips. Me? Offer advice?

"Sculpture of a young couple outside of Four Seasons Prague"

Offering my advice? Sculpture outside of Four Seasons Prague

So this was our base — our elegant, quiet place to plan our days, indulge in fine cuisine and relax in our rooms. From here, we took in as much of Prague as we could, up early and back late — even though it would be so tempting to stay in and luxuriate in our Renaissance Room. But time always seems to go by extra fast when we’re traveling, and before we knew it, we were reluctantly leaving the Four Seasons before sunrise and being whisked away by taxi to the airport.

"Four Seasons Prague entrance on Veleslavinova Street"

Four Seasons Prague entrance on Veleslavinova Street

Now I’m wondering — in which season should I return to Prague?

Disclosure: A portion of our visit was hosted by the Four Seasons Prague, but our opinions are based on the quality of service, comfort and amenities that we personally experienced.

29 thoughts on “A Gem for All Seasons: The Four Seasons Prague

  1. Leigh

    Cathy this looks like a superb spot to stay but I think I’d have a problem leaving my room. Sounds like you walked and then walked some more. I find when visiting European cities that you walk so much you can indulge in all the good food.

    I would not go to Prague in the summer because of the crowds – perhaps in spring just as the cities trees leaf out.

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      It’s so true about walking and eating. I like to do lots of both! I keep telling myself that I’m going to try to add in an extra day or two when I travel, so I can just luxuriate in the room, but any extra time always go to seeing and doing more in the destination. Not complaining! 🙂

  2. Mary {The World Is A Book}

    What a great hotel and I love all the little local touches. This was such a great location compared to the Hilton we stayed at last summer. I love your Renaissance Room and how glorious would it be to wake up to that Bohemian crystal chandelier. It was so crowded during the summer that I’d love to go back and visit the Christmas markets.

  3. Marcia

    Spring came to mind first but then I wondered what early fall, with all the colors, would be like. Summer would be great too…why not do three more visits and see the city in all seasons?

    That is a sumptuous room! It’s not quite 7 a.m. and I haven’t had breakfast and my mouth watered when I saw the food. My, everything looks delicious! I love hotels that make you feel like you’ve been a regular visitor. Eleni sounds very proud of her city.
    Thanks for the tour, Cathy!

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      I like the way you think, Marcia — a visit to Prague in all seasons would be perfect. Eleni was so very nice. I wish I had a photo of her, too.

  4. Michele Peterson

    Too funny that you arrived at the Four Seasons hotel tired, hungry and disheveled … that’s often the way I arrive as well! It’s the sign of a great hotel that they roll out the red carpet no matter how one appears!

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      That is so true, Michele. You would have thought that I was dressed in Prada and escorted by an entourage by the gracious way in which I was greeted.

  5. Lisa Goodmurphy

    The Four Seasons Prague looks gorgeous and I love that it’s within walking distance of both Old Town Square and the Prague Castle – I prefer hotels that are within walking distance of nearly everything that I want to do! Will definitely keep this in mind when we visit Prague – hopefully soon! I agree with Marcia – you should try to visit Prague in all four seasons so that you can make an informed decision on the best time of year for a visit.

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      Yes, I think you and Marcia are on to something there! The location of the hotel would be perfect for you, Lisa. Within walking distance to all the main sites and the Metro is so close, too.

  6. Jeff Titelius

    I loved this piece Cathy! The hotel was amazing but the city itself is quite stunning!! Truly, it is the city of 100 spires!! Prague has been high on my list for quite some time and now you’ve bumped it up to the top 3. Of all the fabulous photos, my favorite is the one of you sitting next to the young lovers!! It looks so natural!!

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      I really like sculptures that pop up in places like that and kind of take you by surprise because they’re ordinary scenes in ordinary settings. The Four Seasons Dublin has an interesting sculpture that I liked in their garden of a guy resting on a bench.

  7. Mike

    Oh my gosh, this was so elegant and regal, Cathy! When I was married we stayed in some high end suites and couple of times. That was due to her airline discount on top of an available upgrade at the time making it affordable. It was so much fun to escape and be treated like “royalty”! Thank you for the fantastic memory here 🙂

    1. Catherine Sweeney Post author

      We all deserve to be pampered and treated like royalty once in a while, don’t we? Glad that I could bring back a nice memory for you.

  8. Neva

    I enjoyed the beautiful season you showed in your inspiring pictures. I know exactly what advise you gave the girl statue – “ladies sit with their knees together,” by demonstrating proper sitting yourself.

  9. Freya

    Prague is such a beautiful city and I’m sure staying in such a gorgeous hotel adds even to that. Looks like you had an amazing stay. Staying in the Four Seasons is high on my list now 🙂

  10. Charu

    This sounds like a place I’d love to visit. I’ve never been to Prague, but have often wondered what the city of spires would be like, and thanks to you…I have a lovely glimpse. What a gem of a stay indeed.

  11. Rob's Prague and Czech Folk Architecture Tour

    If you visit Prague with Viking River Cruises, its worth exploring the local historical architecture.
    For me walking through the streets of historical Prague, is like walking a gallery of all major European architectural styles, spanning a thousand years of architectural history in enchanting colors and shapes and, it is interesting to discover how these splendid buildings shaped the history of the Czech Republic and in contrast, how history shaped the designs of many of these buildings and what they came to symbolize in an historical context.

    In the historical center of Prague you can walk past the Municipal House, the Art Nouveau jewel of Prague, that is covered in floral motives, guilded wroth iron curved around beautifully shaded stain glass.

    And continue through the Gothic and neo-Gothic styled powder tower going to the Celetna street , covered with Baroque palaces with Gothic interiors and Renaissance courts yards. On the way you encounter the unique Cubist house at the Black Madonna with its straight angular lines, then continues on to the medieval Ungelt compound with its Renaissance palace , past the heavily Baroque St, James Church and into the Old town Square with its legendary Astronomical clock. Which is followed by the Art Nouveau Jewish Quarters with its ancient synagogues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.