CSL’s Favourite Hotels | The Augustine Prague

By Kailash Maharaj
February 16, 2013

 

Photography K&S Media

Part of the Rocco Forte Hotel Collection, the 101 bedroom property was created from several buildings, including the 13th Century Augustinian St. Thomas Monastery. The elegant and modern rooms have distinctive views of Prague castle (for up close views of Prague castle choose the tower suite). Lichfield restaurant serves stellar award winning food from chef Miroslav Grusz. Lichfield Cafe & Bar serves the renowned St. Thomas beer (a must) and cocktails including several unique “angel cocktails.” Look out for the two peacocks kept on site. The hotel also has a spa.

“The sun is but a red orb rising over rust coloured roofs, illuminating Prague castle and obliterating the artificial lights that keep it glowing hypnotically at night. I am high above the city here in the tower suite at the Augustine Hotel. I flit from one corner of my bedroom to the other to take in the 360 degree view of the still slumbering city. Perhaps because of the three storey winding staircase at its centre, my suite feels like the setting of a fairy tale – I’m in my tower awaiting my firstborn adventure. There is a dark wood dressing room facing east on this top level, and typical Czech linen atop the bed, descending one floor there is a marble bathroom, with a spacious tub, separate shower, and dual sink. Finally, on the main floor there is a living room with a bookshelf, sofa, ottomans, and art deco china. At this boutique hotel, no modern convenience has been spared – there are flat screen televisions on every floor, Ren products, a Nespresso machine, and connectivity for all my devices. It is, in a word, divine.

One evening, Jan Hruby, my waiter at The Lichfield Restaurant, guides me through the light European brasserie menu from Chef Miroslav Grusz. Listening to my adjustments and substitutions and revelling in the challenge, he works deftly in conjunction with the kitchen to craft a spectacular four course meal – rich, buttery duck liver, harissa shrimp, a currant, and gooseberry salad and vanilla bean cheesecake.

There are two peacocks roaming the outdoor dining area when I meet Zdeněk Trávníček, the hotel’s food and beverage manager. He explains that they flew over from a nearby garden – the male at first, became so lonesome, that he called out for weeks for a female who later joined him. It is the sort of love story you expect at this hotel. Trávníček spent more than a decade in the United States though, like so many young Czechs I meet, he has moved back home. “You can’t imagine from outside that there is a hotel here. This is the best kept secret. It is quite new, secluded, and private,” he says of the hotel. He has an endearing old world formality and natural yet cloaked warmth that spurs our conversation. While I sip the mahogany coloured St Thomas beer (the best I will taste on my visit) made in limited quantities at a microbrewery outside Prague and served only at the hotel, Trávníček pauses reaching for a glass of water and mumbles sotto voce, “I don’t usually talk this much, I’m more of an observer.” I sense that the hotel suits him – a place for silent renewal….”

www.theaugustine.com

Read more in the Winter 2012/13 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.