Thursday 23rd January 2014
I started the day by a quick train ride from the Reporyje train station to the Smichovske nadrazi (train station) where I changed to tram number 12 and continued to Malostranske namesti. There I had a coffee at the Starbucks – Winter season’s special Grande Cinnamon Latte. It was delicious.
Then I crossed the river over the Charles Bridge, took a few pictures and went over to Annenske namesti where I had my first meeting at the Charles Bridge Palace Hotel.
I was welcomed by the manager Alex. I was a bit nervous, it was my first business meeting of such a kind after years. I found out that I forgot my visit cards thus the meeting start was not perfect. Alex asked me a simple question: “Who are you?”. I replied as simply: “Martin”. Alex was shocked as he probably expected me to praise my company and my business background. I do not need to impress anyone thus I stuck with the “Martin” reply and I added that I work for a travel and transportation company.
The Charles Bridge Palace hotel is ideally located hotel in the Prague city center. It is almost next to the Charles Bridge, only a few minutes walk from the Old Town Square. The hotel is furbished with antique furniture and walls are decorated with historical paintings (I have no idea which period it fits, to me it looked like baroque). Also the halls ceilings are decorated with paintings. In all hallways you can see surveillance cameras. I found that quite uncomfortable for guests, but Alex explained it is a security issue mostly welcomed by the guests. The hotel is clean and well kept. Unfortunately it does not smell nicely. Some of the hallways were in fact stinky.
Alex was informative, but he did not play his role of the sales manager. Maybe he thought I mean no business for the hotel as I mainly provide transportation services, which they do not need. He simply did not see any potential in me and thus he did not feel need to talk much about the bright sides of the hotel Charles Bridge Palace. There was also one funny moment when Alex could not get into the room and had to ask the maid to open the room for us.
The rooms are nice, but small. Even though I was shown two floors apartments, they were tiny. I felt very comfortable in the rooms though. The hotel website presents a lot different rooms than what I have seen. The Charles Bridge Palace hotel website is very polished and impression you get from it makes you expect a lot more than what you get at the hotel Charles Bridge Palace. The hallways are soulless, very cold (temperature was ok) and the paintings do not help. The cameras everywhere make you feel a bit like staying at Big Brother’s villa. The reception, breakfast room and restaurant downstairs is much better than the rest of the public area of the hotel.
The hotel definitely reaches the standard of the 4-star hotel, but after visiting other Prague hotels, I would stay somewhere else. Also I found couple of references and reviews online, some of them are very negative. E.g. Lehel Leszai refers: “Bugs, insects in room. Be aware!!!! DON’T COME HERE!!! Worst hotel ever. WiFi barely working. Airconditioner not working!!! Insect in room.” The hotel has rating 8.2 out of 10 points on booking.com, 74% positive on the tripadvisor and 4.1 out of 5 points on the hotels.com.
What I liked about the hotel:
Reception area, dining area, location, the building facing the Annenske Square, attic rooms, I actually liked Alex, even though he made an impression like he owned the hotel and was not really sales manager there (just my personal feeling)