When you think of luxury hotels in Prague, you may immediately think of the Mandarin Oriental or the Four Seasons. But lately U Zlaté studně (a.k.a. the Golden Well), a smaller, more intimate affair perched on a hill just below Prague Castle, has been gaining major recognition. It recently landed the top spot on TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards for Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Europe and number three in the Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the World.
However, the 19-room Golden Well won’t win any awards for lavishness or opulence. While it is elegant and comfortable, it doesn’t have a spa and is rather scaled back in its design. Making up for that is its great location in the heart of a quiet, 16th-century Renaissance neighborhood and a large and dedicated staff that makes you feel like family. Those elements, along with a royal garden, sprawling terrace with incredible views and an adventurous, international restaurant, have garnered this under-recognized, five-star hotel rave reviews.
Visitors also praise the property’s personalized approach to checking in. This usually takes 30 minutes as guests are escorted from the front desk up to the terrace where a welcome drink is waiting. It’s easy to get lost in conversation here with staff who are eager to share the hotel’s history and architectural highlights before discussing a customized itinerary for your stay.
While there is a lot to see and do in Prague, guests could easily not stray very far from the Golden Well. The immediate area is like a walk through several centuries past, and the hotel even has its own private entrance to the 9th-century Prague Castle complex, the largest in the world. The five buildings housing the property were originally owned by King Rudolf II, a Holy Roman Emperor (1576-1612), who used them to house visiting dignitaries and guests. Most famous among them was Tycho Brahe, who lived there for several years and was Rudolf’s official imperial astronomer.
Two suites are named after Rudolf and Tycho, and like the rest of the rooms, are well-appointed in a tasteful, romantic way and feature a smart collection of historic oil paintings depicting Prague. All accommodations include iPods, Apple TV and iPads, which you can take with you while exploring the city.
At the end of the day, the turndown service comes with exquisite confectionaries from the hotel’s award-winning Terasa restaurant. The art-deco themed venue was recently selected by Moët & Chandon to be in its “Privileges” club, a group of 100 carefully-selected restaurants that gain access to their most exclusive, vintage Champagnes. It’s also a member of Rémy Martin’s Louis XIII Fortress club, an honor that only 40 restaurants have earned, and staff are specially trained to serve what’s considered the best cognac in the world. They can also design a personalized wine service for your stay.
The Golden Well is a true hidden gem. The staff work together as a team and consider themselves butlers willing to bend over backwards to make your stay flawless. And should you want to finish the day off with a lavish spa treatment, they will happily book you into the Alchymist Ecsotica Spa, a few blocks down the hill, close to the U.S. Embassy.
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