Sunday, 12 October 2014

Prague Day 1: Art Deco Imperial Hotel

100 Year old Avant-Garde Dame with Beautiful Interior. Czech Mermaid Doing Mexican Wave.


Our Danube tour (called The Legendary Danube by Avalon) isn't starting until tomorrow, but we thought we gave ourselves a one day head start either letting us to plumb Prague to a greater depth, or do Prague at a more leisurely pace. Unless we do all the sightseeing on Sedway (increasingly popular) or penny-farthing, exploring on foot can be quite punishing (foot is so overrated. Penny-farthing, however, is much neglected).

We slept at the Art Deco Imperial Hotel. The old dame is 100 years young this year. This architectural style only started the same time as WW1, which means this building was one of the first when it was built.

Imperial Hotel, Prage
The hotel's unassuming exterior

The style gained momentum in the 1920s and 30s. Dunno why I was smitten with the art deco style once. For me, when I think of art deco, it conjures up images like Superman, the Great Gatsby, jazz, the Charlston, Agatha Christie and everything else that lived and died in the Roaring 20s. Champagne was flowing, Charlston was spinning, and they partied like 1999 and 2007. They partied all the way to the stock market peak of 1929, and then came crashing down to the depth of the Great Depression.

Bar Lounge area, Art Deco Imperial Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic
The art-deco bar-lounge.

This elegant art-deco bar-lounge makes perfect setting for any Agatha Christie's who-dun-it story. I was expecting Hercule Poirot ambled in with his cane and white suit any time in his moustache mug and bowler hat where all the usual suspects would rather, waiting to be explained away, in his Belgian accent, the 4 W's of crime that has taken place.

As far as Art Deco architecture goes, her outside - otherwise known as her fac(ad)e - doesn't turn many heads (especially in Prague); on the inside, she shines like a pearl in a oyster, waiting to be discovered by foreign travelers. Some of her angles are more alluring than others. Her most alluring feature is the 25% discount ("PAY NOW & SAVE UP TO 25%") at the time when I booked. Lovely. Just lovely.

Speaking of her oyster, allow me to take you for a grand tour of her inside.

Statue, Imperial Hotel, Prague
Take a look at those lovely curves of the pointed Gothic arch. Just lovely.
Czech mermaid doing a Mexican wave ? Obviously a soccer fan...

Peer down at her spellbinding spiral staircase with a spanking pair of spectacles.

Staircase, Imperial Hotel, Prague
When you look down, the Mexican waving siren looks up back at you (with eyes closed)
(click to enlarge)

If the staircase is her esophagus, then you're looking down her throat. Say "ah...". What a lovely esophagus, just so tasteful. Just lovely.

This staircase connects to the room that connects - naturally - to her stomach, otherwise known as the dining area. Have a look at it for yourself. Nice place for filling our stomachs with Czech food or poison our livers with alcohol. A feast for your hungry eyes. Lovely. Just lovely.

Restaurant, Imperial Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic
Cafe Imperial. Nice art deco interior.
Waiter, Czech please! 

Ada and I dined there. She ordered a veal cheek, the Chef specialty. It's not bad. Mine was a rabbit dish and said to be Czech specialty. Yeah, the rabbit tasted just like chicken. The cream sauce was a bit rich for me. Doesn't matter. It was my eyes that doing most of the enjoying.

Lobby, Imperial Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic
The lovely lobby. Look at that beautiful mahogany desk.
This is the lobby where guests are received to stay for the night. I was one of the lucky ones. I had a very satisfying night. Lovely. 2 toes up.

Speaking of Agatha Christie and old building, it's great to see that the hotel's decor looks like the early 20th century, but is actually less 20 years old (as they looked to me). I still remember the Sofitel's Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan we stayed in. Everything seemed to be in its original state and literally fell apart at the slightest touch. Even the TV, which hadn't invented when Agatha Christie stayed there, was an old style TV. It had no remote control, and you change channels by turning the knob. Only seniors and the technically savvy know how to operate it.

On the other hand, everything in this hotel is new, and it provides 3 MB/s broadband. Lovely. Just fabulously lovely.

If you're a fan of the Great Gatsby, Superman or detective Poirot, I think you want to pay this hotel a visit, and take a nostalgic journey down an interesting and colourful era of the past.

She's the most lovely hotel I've ever stayed in so far. Just lovely.

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