My partner and I stayed at the Waldstein from 7th Nov - 12th Nov to celebrate both ot our birthdays. Firstly, the location of the hotel is very convenient. As first timers to Prague the transport system was something of a mystery at first, but once you get the hang of it it's fine. The trip from the airport to the Walstein was quite easy in hindsight. You can purchase a transport ticket from the public transport office in the airport for 32czk, which gives you 90 minutes travel on bus, tram, and metro all for just 32czk, which is just over 1 pound sterling. 90 minutes being more than ample for this trip.
On leaving the airport you board the 119 bus to Dejvicka. This drops you right outside the metro station (Line A, Green). For the Waldstein you get off the metro two stops later at Malostranska. On coming out of the metro station at Malostranska you simply walk down Valdstejnska for a few minutes and Waldstein is tucked away to your left as you pass through a car parking area. I found it beneficial to do this walk on google maps beforehand just so we didn't get lost. It's a lot easier when you have an idea where you are going, because as we found out a number of times over our time in Prague, it's easy to get lost. Anyway, a little bit of preparation and this trip is easy, so no need for expensive taxi rides to and from the airport.
On Arrival at Waldstein on the evening of the 7th we were checked in by a lovely lady. She was full of information and recommendations and informed us that we could book trips and make restaurant reservations through reception. On being shown to our room (101) we were rather disappointed. The room was small, and because of the rather dark decor and carpet my parrtner (who booked this whole trip as a birthday treat) found it a little depressing. As it was also right next to the front door of the hotel, there was also some noise from people coming in and pressing the buzzer to open the door to go out.
Personally, I think this room was a surprise to us simply because when you look at pictures of this hotel the rooms shown look beautiful, and this room was nothing like those we'd seen advertised before. So, we decided to ask for a move to another room. My partner made the request and the lady in reception was fantastic. She asked us to stay in 101 overnight and we would be moved to room 121 (a deluxe suite) after breakfast the next day if we liked that room. True to her word, we were shown room 121 the next morning and moved once the room was prepared a few hours later.
The new room was more like a small cottage than a room. It had its own small courtyard, and once through the front door it felt like home. Beamed ceilings, nice, bright and modern bathroom. A main bedroom, a room with a TV and free Wi-Fi, tea/coffee making facilities, safe (free, but a refundable deposit is required of 20 euros or the czk equivalent) minibar (fees apply, pricelist supplied) and stairs up to another floor with balcony. There is a single bed up there, and a further small room upstairs with another single bed. This would be great for a family with two children, although caution is needed on the wooden stairs. Don't walk up them in your socks because you are likely to slip, as we found out after a few beers from the mini-bar.
We don't go around looking for muck and problems unless they are obvious, so we found the room clean and comfortable. No complaints at all. We never saw a maid once, but they had been in every day and restocked the essentials (loo rolls, clean towels etc) while we were out and about. Again, no complaints. All the staff we encountered were pleasant and friendly. All the reception staff we spoke to spoke good english, which helped us greatly as our Czech is abysmal, sadly.
Breakfast was from 7am - 11am and set downstairs in the cellar. A rather lovely setting it is too. Well worthy of a few snapshots with the camera. Welcoming staff, and plenty to choose from. Cereal, tea, coffee, juice, meats, cheese, bread, as well as some hot food such as sausages and scrambled egg if you prefer that. Anyway, our stomachs were well satisfied and breakfast set us up nicely for the day.
All things considered, apart from the first room we were given, we were happy with everything at the Waldstein. If we went back to Prague then we would be happy to stay there again. I don't like to recommend anywhere, because experiences are so subjective. All I can say is that we loved our stay here and in Prague in general.
The location of the hotel is very convenient. As said earlier, Malostranska metro station is close by, as is Malostranska Namesti (square) and this is where you can catch trams to other areas. Charles Bridge is just a few minutes walk from the hotel. If you fancy an uphill walk to Prague Castle then walk out of the Waldstein on to the road (Tomasska) and turn left towards Malostranska Square, turning right as soon as you get to the square and walk up Nerudova. This road has some nice restaurants on it. We spent an evening in one and the food was beautiful. I can't recall its Czech name, but it translates as the ''Three Violins.'' We approached the castle from Nerudova then walked right through to the other end, exiting through the vinyard, down the steps and back to near Malostranska metro station.
We found the transport system in Prague to be very good. For the able-bodied much of what there is to see is within walking distance, but for the less able, it's easy to get around using public transport. For those who don't know, there are a selection of tickets on offer in Prague. You buy transport time rather than pay from one destination to another. A 30 minute ticket is 24czk, 90 minutes is 32czk, 24 hours is 110czk and 72 hours is 310czk. You validate your ticket at the start of your first journey on that ticket, and your ticket allows you on to public transport buses, trams, metro and the Petrin Hill funicular train.
Petrin Hill is worth a visit, and the funicular is within walking distance of Malostranska Square. Just take Karmelitska, a road off the square, onto Ujezd to board the funicular. There is Petrin Tower up there and this gives you great photo opportunities on a day with good visibility. There is a fee to go up the tower itself. Not sure now, but I think it was around 155czk to walk up (299 steps) but more to catch the lift to the top instead. Great views up there, so well worth the climb. Another good view of Prague is from the Zizkov Tower on the other side of the river. A futuristic looking building which has statues of babies climbing up the outside. It's said to be the second ugliest building in the world. It seems totally at odds with the stunning architecture of old Prague, but it still compelled us to visit. We travelled there on metro line A (Green) from Malostranska. The train should be going to Depo Hostivar, but you get off at Jiriho z Podebrad for the Zizkov Tower. There is a fee to go up the tower, and although I can't recall the exact fee, it's not that much. A similar fee to the Petrin Tower. Anyway, more good views to be had up there. Although we never used it, there is also a restaurant in the Zizkov tower on another floor. I assume you'd need to book in advance if you wanted a night time table, but I imagine the view would be spectacular.
To comment on Prague in general, I'd say the transport is excellent. The city is beautiful and we never felt uneasy at any time. The people seemed friendly and we didn't get hassled by anyone at all. You do get warned (even in the Waldstein info book) to beware of pickpockets, but we didn't have any problems or see any problems on that score. As when going to any city in the world, though, it pays to be vigilant and take the same precautions that you would at home.
We found Prague to be a rather magical place. We loved it. It does have a seedy side too though, just like everywhere else in the world. At night, the end of Wenceslas Square by the museum seems to have a number of prostitutes on the street touting for business. I'm making no judgement there, rather just saying how it is. Another thing I've heard said about Prague has been about aggressive begging. In our experience, although we saw a number of beggars, particularly on Charles Bridge, they don't hassle you at all. As I said before, we felt safe in Prague. Safer than we do in England, anyway.
All in all I'd say that we had a wonderful time in a very historic hotel with friendly and helpful staff. The hotel is well placed, close to good transport links and attractions. We couldn't really have asked for more. A fantastic stay in a magnificent city.
PS, In the room ratings I gave 4 rather than five after taking into consideration the first room we were given. I'd give that a three, my partner would maybe give it a two. On the second room alone, though, it would have been a five.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The romantic Hotel Waldstein is situated directly in the historical centre of Prague in the neighborhood of the Prague Castle, close to all places of interest and a metro station. Due to the preserved unique architectural elements, the building was included in the Czech National Immovable Heritage List. ... more less
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