I don't even know where to begin this review so I will sum it up from the get go: it has comfortably settled on the number one spot of my favorite hotels (which it shares with another hotel for now).
It would be fair I guess to begin with the pre-arrival phase: I have not been travelling for long but I did not take long before becoming a fussy traveler. I email hotels in advance of booking to make sure that all the little details that usually interest me are in place there and, I am not going to lie, the way in which they reply to that first email makes a huge difference for me. If a small hotel takes many days to reply or never replies, my impression of them is a bad one. If a big hotel replies quickly, then they have even more of my attention and favors. And I think Hotel Josef took only a couple of hours to come back to me. Not only that but they patiently replied to all of my questions (on rooms, on transfers, etc), with a constant positive attitude and all the intention to be helpful. Not once did they make me feel like I was bothering them. And something which has never happened to me before - the guest relations manager wrote to me a couple of days prior to my arrival to offer any last minute assitance I might need. Until now no hotel ever bothered to acknowledge that they were aware I would soon arrive. So a huge thank you to Andrea, Mirka, Marketa, Zuzana (and I do apologize if I forgot anyone who put up with me).
Room and services: I was in room 112 in the orange building. I booked a single deluxe room through the hotel website, the "Stay 4 nights pay 3" offer - I am still not sure if the room I got was a single or a double because it was positively huge compared to what I expected. One of the biggest (if not the biggest) rooms I have stayed in, modern furniture, very well illuminated, just the right amoung of power sockets if you need to charge more than one thing at once (and they provide an adapter too for plugs typical to other parts of the world). I had coffee and tea amenities in my room - never used them but it looked like very good quality products. Sauna access was also included in the room price but I never got around to using that eiher. The bathroom was spacious enough, quite a large and comfy bathtub (many thanks for managing to accomodate this request of mine), plenty of room if you bring your own toiletries and I understand that a fully array of toiletries can be made available if you forgot to bring your own (toothbrush, etc). The bed was comfortable, I slept like a rock. Pretty good soundproofing too, I could hear no noise from the hallway. The room itself faced the garden where breakfast could be taken and it was right above the breakfast room. The hotel offered one free water bottle per day, a small detail which can make a huge difference when you are exhausted and have had no more energy to crawl to the corner shop and get some. Not to mention that it's nice not to feel forced to buy it from the minibar. The room also had a DVD player and you could borrow DVDs from the reception desk (chosing from a catalogue); the selection was more than decent and suitable for everyone's taste.
Breakfast: mine was included in the room rate but, either way, I think it is definitely worth the value for money. Fresh bread, made in front of your eyes! Fresh pastries! I felt like I could have breakfast just with bread and nothing more (the pumpkin seed one, the cereal one, the baguettes - amazing). Part of the room opens into the servicing / kitchen area and you can watch the chef preparing all these goodies, you can talk to him - he greets you with a smile and isn't bothered that you keep him from working. The buffet selection was good, plenty for vegetarians, plenty for meat lovers. In addition to the buffet you can also an item off the menu (such as eggs benedict or omlettes, pancakes) and you can have fresh coffee if you don't want to go with the Nesspresso option. The breakfast room is very well staffed, everyone is attentive and kind.
Staff: everyone is smiling! You really get the vibe that they want you to have the best of your time with their hotel and that you do mean something for them, you're not another one in the crowd of guests. They are doing their best to accomodate your needs: bathroom sink tap kept being a pain and making puddles - it got replaced; too cold in the room (heating was off, it being August), they had no objections to sending this odd person an extra blanket. I tip my hat to all of them and I wish more hotel staff around the world was this nice and dedicated. Also, great English skills, you won't have trouble communicating with them if you are relatively fluent in English.
Location: If you don't mind walking 5-10 minutes to get to the Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock, this is the right place for you. The Powder Tower is also very easy to get to, you have both Celetna and Na Prikope Streets close for shopping (after a 5-10 minute walk down Na Pricope I found myself in Wenceslav Square!) and dining opportunities. Tram stops roughly around the corner, heading for Mala Strana and the Castle (you can buy tickets at the reception desk). After one too many horror stories about taxis in Prague I opted to have the hotel car pick me up from / take me to the airport and I do not regret the decision - comfy ride, patient driver, really worth the extra money.
When I return to Prague, this would definitely be my top choice (unless I decide to try out their sister hotel, the Maximilian). I really did not find anything to deter me from returning.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the very heart of one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Europe, designer Eva Jiricna has managed to create a modern masterpiece. The 109-room Hotel Josef in Prague's old town offers a design concept that elegantly blends the most modern elements with the rich history of its surroundings. iPod Docking Stations are available free of charge at reception. Breakfast is included if you book directly through our hotel website. hoteljosef. com ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Josef Prague