Travelling around the Czech Republic, until recently, brought joy primarily to lovers of beautiful landscape and well-maintained original architecture. In recent years, however, it has been worth going to the regions so that you can stay at wonderful, unique hotels. They are going up one after another and their common denominator is an enlightened owner, an imaginative, but considerate architect and a specific atmosphere that makes you want to come back soon. Presenting our best of list.
GRANARY OF JOY
The Pálava region, due to its specific genius loci supported by excellent wine, has been attracting tourists for a long time. Mikulov and the neighbouring vineyards were always top dog. It’s true that Velké Pavlovice is also a symbol of South Moravia, but until recently it was dominated primarily by the massive building of the Vinium group and the distasteful panorama of the Drunk Cellars. Now, however, the situation has fundamentally changed thanks to the opening of the hotel Lotrinský. The grand building of the former local granary was in disrepair for years. A few years ago it was hit by a fire, during which it even occurred to the locals that it would be good if the whole thing burned down. It survived. And that’s more than a good thing. Today, you can sleep in it, eat in it and admire what a good job the owners made of the refurbishment. The generous and precise alterations to the building, which was built in the 18th century by Stephen of Lorraine, husband of Maria Theresa, took 2.5 years. The architect Zdeněk Eichler and his studio EA architekti, who managed the work, bet not only on the ability of local craftsmen, but also on Czech brand accessories. So the rooms are dominated by chandeliers from Lasvit and the solid wood furniture was supplied by Toka Brno. Everything is naturally harmonised and works well. Old with new, original with modern. The hotel Lotrinský is a great example of sensitive renovation that lets the character of a historical building stand out, although it imprints the best of today onto it. Zdeněk Eichler, settled in Moravia, can award himself top marks. This job deserves ten out of ten!
Another region and a similar story. Within sight of Sněžka, a couple of steps from Poland, stands the brand new Trautenberk brewery. Even though it isn’t completely new. This was originally the site of Tipplet’s Chalet, a classic mountain chalet where more than one generation of mountain-men laid their heads, it was later the hotel Družba (in English: the Friendly Relations Hotel) and socialist youth came here to enjoy friendly relations with each other. After the revolution it was hit by the fate of the majority of over-sized accommodation facilities in the mountains. It fell into decline and decay. A local entrepreneur from Malá Úpa, Martin Kulík, decided to turn it around and now he can give himself a round of applause. Thanks to a design by the ADR studio, Trautenberk became a successful example of how functioning, straightforward, but stylish living in the mountains should look. The stark, functionalist interior resigns itself to not having any decorative elements. Despite this, thanks to the standout paint on the load-bearing columns or the touchingly cute curtains with dots, it has a cosy, friendly atmosphere. Don’t expect luxury here, you’re in the mountains where there is no room for it. And that’s right. The facade and the internal space do not give an inappropriate impression after the refurbishment, they use hardy materials and sturdy classics. The chandeliers in the restaurant, which hark back to first-republic era lights made of antlers, are playful elements that break up the straightforwardness. They are original and build a notional bridge between the past and the future. Thanks to this the Trautenberk brewery has a specific sprit that is worth experiencing. And the beer brewed in house is the bitter-sweet cherry on top.
PERFECT MANOR HOUSE
Homuta Manor House stands in a beautiful area around Kokořín and stood here even at the time the emperor ruled the land. In the 19th century, the farmer Josef Homuta gave his manor a form that has basically survived until today. The is due to the sensitive and aware approach by the current owners, Mr. and Mrs. Lorenc. They bought the manor house not long ago and have pulled off a masterstroke in just a couple of years. They renewed the atmosphere of a village farm, but remained firmly standing in the second decade of the 21st century. They bet on details, original craft procedures, thought-out colour combinations and respect for the traditional character of the building; all this made Homuta Manor House an example of a successful refurbishment. It is interesting that it is linked to the Trautenberk brewery in the Krkonoše by the optimistic light-green/turquiose colour used in the interiors. The same that was happily used by our forefathers and that we often forget. The same as the fact that it isn’t necessary to keep building new buildings, but that it pays to take care of the old ones. The atmosphere of Homuta Manor House is evidence of this.
THE ENERGY OF A ROOM
Not even Prague has a reason to be sad. Not every hotel here is today reminiscent of an over-sweetened Baroque theatre. In Josefov, a couple of steps from the Jewish cemetery, you can find an Art Nouveau building that today serves guests of the hotel Emerald. What awaits you inside are rooms steeped in a mysterious atmosphere that don’t lack good ideas or an overview. The unique eclecticism that the owners embraced when furnishing the place makes the Emerald a little star of the city. Each nook will surprise you with a funny or unusual accessory, the design of the wallpaper or plaster that has clearly fallen off. No current trends are used here, all sorts of elements are mixed and combined and the result is surprisingly clean and timeless. Perhaps the ever-present Kafka would even feel at home here.
Our fifth and last tip is in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Olomouc attracts tourists not only to the famous, well-maintained column on the square, but also to its booming gastro scene and the quality exhibition programme at the local gallery. You don’t have to sleep only in the popular Long Story Short Hostel, which we wrote about last time. You can gather your strength in the cosy Sophie‘s hotel in the very heart of the city. Its aesthetics are very close to the Emerald in Prague. Don’t expect anything minimalistic or stark here. The hotel, in a 13th century building, breathes friendliness and historicising lightness. It is not by chance that in 2017 it won the title of Olomouc Region heritage monument. The refurbishment of the building, where several styles are mixed together, is the work of the TEK TEK studio, which is an expert on hotels. Its portfolio includes, for example, the Hotel Golf and the Mosaic House in Prague. At Sophie’s they managed to create a functional mix of old and new. Earthy tones, lots of wood and even more light. A regional jewel that is worth sleeping in.