The Golden Wheel

Mala Strana, Prague, Czech Republic Book from

An intimate little hotel at the foot of Prague Castle, blending period features with modern design
Guests of the Golden Wheel (U Zlateho Kola in Czech) can be forgiven feeling a little smug. The hotel is small, sleek and wonderfully placed, while its interior reads like an architectural timeline. More to the point, the hotel remains relatively unknown, which is a real bonus in a city as popular as Prague.

Originally a medieval blacksmith's, the hotel stands in a row of handsome Baroque houses on the main drag up to Prague Castle. Crisp, modern rooms are scattered higgledy-piggledy about the building, and yet there's something artful about the layout; little stairways link different levels, while medieval nooks and crannies are transformed into bijou exhibition spaces for modern sculpture. Period features, such as decorated beams, Baroque stucco ceilings and a medieval well are set against modern design statements in glass: a new central atrium, glass-walled lifts and a tiny glass-floored balcony.

Prague Castle looms above a small walled garden to the rear. If the flag flies at full mast, you may even catch a glimpse of the Czech President himself, whose quarters overlook the hotel.

Highs

  • With only 17 rooms, the service here is excellent and personalised
  • The hotel combines the tone of a friendly guesthouse with the comforts of a top-end hotel (well, most of them)
  • One of the main perks has to be the hotel's position right at the foot of Prague Castle, though unusual features such as the tiny walled garden and the little glass-floored balcony add to the charm

Lows

  • Only 5 of the rooms have air conditioning
  • Food options are limited to the snacks served at Arcadia café

Best time to go

September can be a good time to visit: the crowds are thinning and the warm weather generally lingers on. Under a sprinkling of snow, Prague can be a magical place to visit, so don't rule out wintertime. Avoid July and August if you have a problem jostling with the tourist crowds, and Christmas time and New Year can be over-busy.

Our top tips

Being small and intimate, it is the sort of place that suits couples. With the reasonable price tag, there are no feelings of stuffiness or exclusivity here.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 17
  • Breakfast (+ walk to off-site restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Planning restrictions imposed by Prague's Heritage Department have insured that none of the 17 rooms are exactly alike, each built into existing spaces, some of which date back to medieval times.

Despite the age of the building, there's nothing musty about the rooms, which are light, airy and modern-feeling, with blond-wood floors, neutral colour schemes, fresh lilies, Italian-designed lighting and custom-made maple furniture. Bathrooms are crisp and smart in chess-board black and white. Walls are sparingly decorated with sepia photos of Prague. For only a few extra euros than a Double Room, the Superior Double Rooms provide great value for money, with special features such as over-size bathrooms, small balconies, original painted beams or Baroque stuccoed ceilings. The spacious Junior Suite has a pleasant little terrace with views up to the castle, while the Suite is split-level, with the bedroom in the old attic space.

All rooms have a high-speed internet connection and WiFi, satellite TV, safe, mini-bar and tea/coffee-making facilities. Only the 5 rooms on the upper floors have air conditioning at present (the thick stone walls tend to keep the rooms pretty cool during the summer heat).

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Food is served in the attached Cafe-Bar Arcadia between 7am and 7pm. The cafe serves Illy coffee, sandwiches, salads, Italian flatbreads and a wide range of alcoholic drinks, from absinthe to 'grog' to vodka. There's an open fire in winter. A buffet breakfast for guests is served here too, with a generous spread of pastries, cold meats and cheese, cereals, fruit and juices.

The Mala Strana district is full of restaurants, with a string of them along Nerudova itself. We can recommend the Mediterranean and fusion cuisine at Square, a few minutes down the hill on Malostranske Square. Or, for the arguably the best food in Prague, head down to Kampa Park on the riverfront.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Towering above the hotel is Prague Castle, the city's number one tourist attraction and the largest castle in the world
  • Forested Petrin Hill is close by too. If you haven't the energy to climb the hill yourself, there's a funicular railway to take you to the summit. There are wonderful views across the whole of Prague from various lookout points. And don't miss the Strahov Monastery, which turns out some potent ales for general consumption
  • Five-minutes walk downhill from the hotel is the elegant Charles Bridge, with its line of beautiful carved statues and trinket stalls. Rowing boats and pedalos can be hired from Zofin, one of three small islands which sit downstream of Charles Bridge
  • The narrow cobbled lanes of Prague's Staré Mesto (Old Town) are a ten minutes away by foot. Highlights include the Old Town Square, with its Astronomical Clock and impressive ensemble of medieval buildings
  • Just to the north of the Old Town Square is Josefov, the old Jewish Quarter, today home to a clutch of restaurants and one of the world's finest Jewish Museums
  • To the south of the Old Town are the markets and shopping precincts of the Nové Mesto ('New Town', though it's hardly new). Here you'll find plenty of bars, traditional 'beer halls' and restaurants. Plus there's the riverside National Theatre (which stages opera, mainly) and the National Museum
  • Prague is a city of music, with people handing out flyers for classical concerts on every street corner. A hundred yards down the road is St Nicholas Church, a prime venue for concerts

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

The hotel will provide cots and can arrange baby-sitting if required. Children up to 4 years old stay free of charge. Extra beds can be provided at a supplement cost for older children.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
8/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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