Martin’s independent hotel reviews Part XI – Hotel Icon

Visit of the Christie hotel took only a few minutes. Because I still had some spare time, before I could go to the Icon hotel, I decided to make a stop at the Jama restaurant. One of my business friend Chris Wiseheart, who is also my taxi transfer competitor, visits Jama often. I wanted to see why.

The place offers many different beers, burgers and American and Mexican food. There were not many people yet, I suppose it gets busier later in the evening. The service was not bad, even though the waitresses were more noisy than the guests and one “forgot” to answer my greetings. The waitress that served me was kind and smiling, which I always appreciate. I had a quick non-alcoholic drink and needed to use the restrooms. I was surprised to find out in how bad condition the toilets were. Apart from the damaged restrooms the pub looks good and the atmosphere is nice.

Time to go to the Icon Hotel.

Reception desk at the hotel Icon; copyright Hotel Icon

Reception desk at the hotel Icon; copyright Hotel Icon

The entrance to the hotel is not marked well and one is not sure, if he is going to the hotel or the neighbors next door. The heavy entrance door does not provide a pleasant welcome and is followed by another glass door. I can imagine that coming in or out with baggage can be frustrating. When you get through the main door, you easily climb up to the hotel lobby.

Two sets of door - entrance to the hotel icon - photo copyright @ Icon

Two sets of door – entrance to the hotel icon – photo copyright @ Icon

The lobby is not very big, but there are a few seats, where you can sit down before or during the check in. The hotel has its own restaurant with bar and spa center. All is accessed from the hotel lobby. I was surprised that the staff at the design 4-star hotel do not follow any dressed code. I do not understand it as a failure, though I would definitely not expect both receptionists to wear jeans. The lobby also does not refer to the “design” features of the hotel. There is nothing special that would catch my eye.

I was welcomed by two smiling and very pleasant receptionists. My guide at the Icon was the hotel resident manager Renata Zizkovska. Very energetic, professional and welcoming.

We started the inspection tour of the design hotel Icon at the restaurant and bar. The tapas bar and restaurant is called the ROOM and according to the website it serves simple, tasty food. A very pleasant design reflects the “Design” attribute of the hotel, unlikely the hotel Icon lobby.

The Room, Tapas bar and restaurant; copyright @ Icon

The Room, Tapas bar and restaurant; copyright @ Icon

Only a few steps away from the Room is the Spa – Zen Studio. I really liked it, even though it is small. The smell, the atmosphere, the cleanliness – all flawless. Exactly what you expect from the relaxation area.

The hotel design Icon offers accommodation in 31 design rooms. The rooms are great. Stylish, trendy design, all usual 4-star features (safe, cosmetics, air condition, LCD satellite TV, etc.), great bath rooms and hand made Hastens beds. I especially liked the armchairs. The pictures show the rooms as they really are. The hotel Icon website is a little bit confusing and lacks updates. E.g. the picture gallery was last updated in July 2013.

Only part of the hotel where I felt strange were the halls. Very dark yet very colorful lightning made me feel like in old Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi movies e.g. Total Recall or The running man😀.

The hotel Icon is rated 8.9/10 on the booking.com; it has rating 95% and rank 60 out of 669based on 698!! reviews on the tripadvisor.

The design hotel Icon is definitely a true design hotel and offers good quality 4-star accommodation and services.

What I liked about the hotel: rooms, spa, location, tapas bar the ROOM, staff.

Please leave a comment or share the review, if you enjoyed reading it. Feel free to post on our Facebook too. Do not forget that if you like our Facebook page, you automatically get 5% off on all our transfer rates and 4 Euro off on all Prague airport transfers.

George’s Prime Steak House hits number 1 on the Tripadvisor

At the moment the George’s Prime steak House is the number 1 rated Prague restaurant on the tripadvisor.

However even though it has the top rating, there are a few very bad reviews. I am really thinking about giving it a try myself. Something is telling me, that this place can not be bad. Do you think it is a good idea to spend 80 Euro and thus be able to write a personal independent review?

Share or comment! Thank you.

 

Martin’s independent hotel reviews Part X – Hotel Christie

The hotel Christie is a 4-star hotel located in the New Town at Vladislavova street. The building of the hotel Christie used to be headquarters of one popular Czech commercial TV and later it was transformed into the hotel. I did not really intended to visit the hotel Christie in the beginning, but because I had an hour and half to spare, I added it to the hotel reviews series. There will not be any pictures, as it was already dark when I came to the hotel, and my camera is not very good without good light. The hotel staff told me not to use the pictures from the hotel website, if I was going to write anything bad about the hotel.

As I downgraded hotels from 5 stars to 4 stars in my previous reviews, it is fair to tell the Christie hotel does not reach the 4-star rating. It easily reaches the standards of 3-star hotel in my point of view.

When I made the appointment, I was approached with the same attitude like at the Alchymist Grand or the Charles Mostecka street hotel (reviews yet to come). Nobody expects a lot of business from a small transportation guy with a bit of experience in accommodation arrangements… Thus I happened to be guided by a doorman. He did a good job, however he only showed me around. I was not told anything extra, unless I asked specific question.

The rooms, I was shown, were very used. The hotel is clean, but everything seems to be worn out. Parts of the wall paint were gone, some walls were damaged by number of hits by guests, who were dragging their bags around. Trust me,  the number was not small. Like if nobody cared about the wall paint, since the first time it was painted. The same feeling I had in the rooms. Old towels, furniture that could be modern back in 90’s, very odd bed linens and sofas’ upholstery.

The hotel Christie website looks good at the first sight. It has a simple and easy to use “availability check” and a booking form. The pictures on the website show the hotel in much better light than what I have seen myself. Unfortunately some of the pictures in the photo gallery are super old. You can even find pictures of rooms still equipped with CRT TV’s. I just hope that they do not use these anymore. There are several typos on the website (Just a statement, my writings are not flawless too :D).

The hotel does not offer any extra services apart from laundry, sightseeing arrangements and taxi services. There is however large conference area and restaurant which may be a plus point for business travelers. The restaurant was completely empty, when I was at the hotel Christie. The bellboy told me it was open for public and it was unusually empty. I think, it is not that popular, there are many better looking and more inviting restaurants all around in the neighborhood.

What I like about the hotel: conference area, number of rooms considering the location, the location

Booking.com rating of the Christie hotel is rated 8.1 out of 322 votes (honestly it surprised me, I was expecting lower rating), the tripadvisor rating is 69% ranked 265 out of 670 hotels.

If you are looking for accommodation in Prague, I am sure you can find better value in the same location. If you disagree with me, please feel free to comment below or post on my Facebook.

5000th Facebook fan contest

Be the 5000th fan who clicks the “LIKE” button on our Facebook and win a free transportation from/to Prague within 500 Km range worth 500 Euro!

The winner gets free transportation for up to 8 passengers. The winner chooses type of the vehicle: Mercedes Benz E class, BMW 5 series, BMW X3, Skoda Superb or Mercedes Benz VITO minibus. Cars are only available for up to 3 passengers.

The winner chooses the date, pick up time, pick up point and drop of point. Taxi service is door-to-door. The distance from pick up point to drop off point must be maximum 500 Km and at least one point has to be in Prague, Czech Republic.

There are no hidden ifs or buts. Be the 5000th fan and win.

 

Martin’s independent hotel reviews Part IX – Hotel Esplanade

Esplanade Hotel Prague

Esplanade Hotel Prague

The Esplanade hotel Prague is located in the same area as the Jalta and the Yasmin hotels. The Esplanade is a little closer to the Main Train Station than the other hotels and and a few more steps away from the Wenceslas Square. The hotel is facing a park adjacent to the Main Train station – funny called the Sherwood. Do not worry though, it is a safe area. In fact Prague is very safe city in general. Apart from the pickpockets and cheating taxi drivers there are not many threats tourist should worry about.

There are 74 rooms available at the Esplanade hotel and I believe I have seen all the room types. Some of the rooms were not my taste, but all were definitely at the level you expect at a hotel with such a history. The Esplanade hotel was founded in 1927.

I was 2 minutes late. I hate being late. My job as a driver to hire is to be on time – always. I was welcomed by a very communicative receptionist and also greeted with a smile from the doorman. The manager of the hotel Mrs. Kovacikova accepted my apology for being late and took me for another great hotel tour.

As I mentioned previously, Miroslava was one of the top-notch managers. Again she proved that the hotel management gives the face to the hotel. You can have 5-star amenities and huge rooms, but if you do not have good staff, you do not have a 5-star hotel. Even though I personally do not think that hotel Esplanade deserves 5-star rating on the international level, thanks to the staff and the way the hotel is maintained, it can be 5-star in Prague.

Copyright @ Esplanade; Restaurant adjacent to the lobby

Copyright @ Esplanade; Restaurant adjacent to the lobby

The lobby and the reception area are not too big and there are not many seats. The lobby is connected to the adjacent restaurant/café however. It is ideal for business meetings or just an afternoon coffee or tea time. The restaurant apart from regular operation is also used as a buffet breakfast hall. I had a chance to sit down and experience: “The quietly inviting and stylishly romantic atmosphere enhanced by the tunes of the twenties of 20th century.” (as per the hotel website.)

Copyright @ Esplanade; Cafe, Restaurant, Night bar

Copyright @ Esplanade; Cafe, Restaurant, Night bar

The hotel Esplanade is one of the few hotels, where you can still find the proper single rooms. The single rooms are in average 14m2 big/small. I found those very cozy and peaceful, even though the single rooms are really small. Deluxe singles are slightly bigger, but the difference is not noticeable.

Copyright @ Esplanade; Deluxe single room

Copyright @ Esplanade; Deluxe single room

All rooms have the standard 4/5-star features: air-condition, LCD TV, work desk with a lamp, safety box, hairdryer, minibar and telephone. Biggest difference in the room types is as usually the room size. Junior suites e.g. are over 30 square meters and have two separate rooms. The specialty of the Esplanade hotel accommodation are the historical suites. They are furbished with original period furniture, paintings and there are glass cabinets which have historical tea sets on display. The historical suites are good for romantic stays, but they were not my personal taste – too princess-like.

The hotel Esplanade offers conference areas and meeting rooms on their website. I do not think these rooms are ideal for conferences. I found them great for weddings or celebrations though.

There is not swimming pool, whirlpool, spa or gym. That is another reason not to rate Esplanade 5-star hotel. Regular services e.g. laundry, concierge, 24/7 reception, car park are available. There is also a small shop at the hotel lobby. Hairdresser or nail studio is within walking distance from the hotel, but the services are not available at the hotel.

The Esplanade hotel is rated 8.4 out of 10 based on 322 reviews on the booking.com; on the tripadvisor it has rating 76% and rank 180 out of 670 hotels; hotels.com rate the Esplanade 3.8 / 5, but based only on 5 reviews.

What I liked about the hotel: restaurant, original wooden floors in the rooms, decent room designs, staff, exterior of the building, antique furniture in the rooms and public hotel areas.

The hotel has its own contracted transportation partner, but I will be more than happy to organize the airport transfer or international transportation for you. Should you want to comment the hotel Esplanade review, do so below in comments section, or join our Facebook page.

Martin’s independent hotel reviews Part VIII – Hotel Yasmin

Entrance of the Design Hotel Yasmin - Politickych Veznu street

Entrance of the Design Hotel Yasmin – Politickych Veznu street

Hotel Yasmin is located near the Wenceslas Square. In fact it is connected to the Square via the shopping passage. Thus literally the Design Hotel Yasmin is as located as the previously reviewed hotel Jalta. However the area is less busy with nightlife and traffic. The hotel is 4-star and offers accommodation in unique original designed rooms.

The lobby of the hotel looks very fancy and also a bit crazy. The number of different colors and shiny design features may not be sympathetic to some guests, but for me it was great. There are plenty of seats, the lobby is large with a few private corners and one feels privacy even when going to the reception desk to check-in. My guide at the hotel Yasmin was Mrs. Lenka Darázs – Senior Sales Manager. Mrs. Darázs’ approach was exactly what you expect from a person, who is dedicated to her job. She was professional first of all, but also very friendly, informative and even personal. I should make this clear. She was personal in the meaning that she really cared, why I actually came to the hotel, what was my job and my background. The most managers I dealt with, were not really interested (and I do not blame them), because I do not work for any big companies. But when someone cares, it is necessary to appreciate it.

We started the tour of the Yasmin hotel by walking through the lobby bar towards the Noodles restaurant. Even the restaurant is tailor made and originally designed. I did not mention any part of the furbishing or decorations in the hotel that would be standard. Everything is custom made, which gives the Yasmin hotel the unique look and feel. The restaurant was occupied by tourists as well as regular Prague residents. Prices are very reasonable considering it is a hotel restaurant.

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In the summer it is possible to sit outside in the inner courtyard, which changes into a summer terrace. It has a similar concept as the summer terrace at the Iron Gate hotel, but naturally the Yasmin summer terrace is much more modern. This is especially appreciated by Czech people, who work in office buildings in the hotel neighbourhood.

The hotel has a few conference areas as it is used a lot for conferences and business meetings. I was not able to see them, because there were ongoing meetings. It is possible to see the pictures at the Yasmin hotel website. Speaking of the website it is modern, shiny and very accurate. What you see, is what you get.

There are 196 rooms available at the hotel Yasmin. All equipped with nowadays standard 4-star features such as: free wifi, safety box, LCD satellite TV, air condition, bath cosmetics, coffee and tea making facility, water, minibar etc. Some of the hotel rooms allow smoking. Most of the rooms face the inner quiet courtyard. As I mentioned above, the hotel furniture and design is unique and custom made, which allows much more space efficiency. There is nothing I could really complain about. Maybe the black & white design of the bathroom did not follow the light and harmonic hotel design, but for me it was not a problem.

All the pictures below are under hotel Yasmin copyright:

In addition to above mentioned services the hotel offers 24/7 reception, laundry service, and there is a gym, sauna and underground parking. Coaches can stop in front of the hotel for limited time. Parking in public areas is almost impossible like in the rest of the Prague 1 district.

The hotel Yasmin is rated 8.5 out of 10 based on 211 reviews on the booking.com; it has rating 86% and rank 143 out of 670 hotels on the tripadvisor.com; the hotels.com rate the Yasmin design hotel 4.3 out of 5 based on 129 votes.

What I liked about the hotel: unique extravagant design, room space efficiency, option to park indoor, reasonable restaurant, excellent staff approach.

The hotel does not have any contracted limousine service or transfer company. Feel free to book our airport transfers to/from the hotel Yasmin.

If you have any comments, feel free to post below or on our Facebook page.