“A slick yet friendly boutique hotel with generous rooms, just off Wenceslas Square - Prague's main promenade”
The ICON Hotel and Lounge embraces this tradition. Its heavy wooden front doors look fairly battered - more like the entrance to an ageing apartment house than a high-end hotel. But push through them, and you are greeted with colourful yet subdued mood lighting, highly polished floors and a groovy soundtrack. A remnant of the original building is found in a 'secret' inner room with painted Czech patron saints on the wall, for which the hotel is named - but elsewhere all is shiny new. The front desk staff have every right to be snooty but they're just the opposite - warm, helpful and genuinely interested in who you are and where you came from. And despite a plum location on a quiet street just minutes to the madness of Wenceslas Square and Old Town, you get that most rare commodity in European hotels - spacious and immaculate rooms. The ICON Hotel and Lounge offers a chance to party till Prague's wee hours, then stagger home and sleep it off in style.
- Charming spa offering a range of Balinese and Thai massages from women that hail from Southeast Asia
- Cool loft-like club space with guest DJs, a buzzy bar and a restaurant that serves creative dinners and good breakfasts
- Located on what feels like a hidden street, with the restaurants, clubs and rich array of department stores of Wenceslas Square just 3 minutes' walk away
- Multi-lingual staff who are as generous with their smiles as with information about the area
- Biometric (opened by fingerprint) safes, iPod docks, Skype phones and dreamy handmade Hästens beds in each of the 31 rooms
- The rooms feel a little under-designed - almost as if the decorating was stopped halfway through. None have interesting views and sound can carry
- Standard rooms have only 1 chair and 1 coat hook, making them feel more like business hotel rooms than a couples' escape
- In such a spacious hotel, the spa feels a little claustrophobic, but this thought is quickly massaged away by the expert staff
- No pool, gym or outside space
- The only English-language TV station we could get on the flat screen (among the very few channels offered) was CNN
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
Space abounds in the 31 rooms - and that's as true of the 20 Standard rooms as it is of the 9 Deluxe rooms and 2 Junior Suites. In fact, we found the Standard rooms so generously sized, we didn't feel any need to upgrade to the Deluxe - unless you really want to spread out in the extra square feet they offer. The Junior Suites might be worth a splurge because you get a separate sitting room with 4 chairs and home cinema system, but as the space is divided into 2 rooms, the overall impression is one of snugness, not spaciousness.
The spare design aesthetic is one of beige and warm woods with very little - if any - art on the walls. The closet spaces are hidden behind doors that are flush with the wall, as is the safe that operates with your fingerprint rather than a code or key. Behind another secret compartment is the minibar and complimentary coffee- and tea- making setup - Junior Suites also get an Illy espresso machine.
A desk that stretches along the wall in front and to the right of the bed holds an iPod connection jack that lets you play your tunes through the flat screen TV on the wall, as well as an Ethernet cable for free Internet access and a Skype phone for free calls.
The bathroom at first glance is extremely dark due to spot lighting and black stone tiles, but once you get used to it, it comes off as sleek and sexy. A purple perspex panel over the bathtub (all but two rooms have a tub) is just big enough to divide the splashy end of the shower from the rest of the room, and a gleaming white basin sink is set beneath the large mirror on a wooden table where you find the complimentary Rituals toiletries.
The true star of the show in all of the Icon's rooms is the extra-wide handmade Hastens bed. If you're familiar with the brand you know that these pricey platforms are true luxury items - ranging from USD$5,000 all the way up to US$60,000. The one in our room was comfy indeed - solid, yet cushy. All of the bedding (even the feather pillows) are allergen free, ensuring that nary a sneeze will disturb your good night's sleep.
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Ipod dock
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
Breakfasts are as big as the beds and rooms - and they are served all day, until 11pm! You not only get to order a selection of hot food like pancakes and eggs from a menu, you can also load up at a buffet that includes muesli, breads, cold cuts and other breakfast goodies. This spread is served in the hotel's restaurant called ROOM where lunch and dinner are also offered daily. Expect an authentic mixture of Spanish and Latin-American tapas dishes. When you're done dining, step into the attached lounge - where beneath a soaring ceiling, colourful furniture is scattered about in groupings that encourage conversation. The walls are hung with rotating art exhibits and on some nights, a DJ bounces beats throughout the spacious room.
As for local dining options, American-style burger joint Jama is just down the street. They've been voted as having the best burger in Prague, and I can also personally attest to the excellence of their spicy chicken wings. For something authentically Slovak, you can try Posezeni U Ciriny just a few blocks away; the chef was once the personal cook for former president (and local legend) Vaclav Havel. Not more than a 10-minute walk away on Wenceslas Square is Vytopna where your beer is delivered by model railway cars that travel along 400 metres of track throughout the restaurant.
- Coffee / tea making
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Catch a concert at Lucerna, a storied Prague music hall located just a few doors down from the hotel
- Shop like a pro along Wenceslas Square where you'll find British chains as well as a five-storey high Bata - the largest outpost of the Czech shoemaker in Europe.
- Travel back in time by wandering down to Old Town Square and take in the spires, cobblestones and dazzling mix of architectural styles. It's just a 15-minute walk from the hotel
- Wander to the eastern end of Wenceslas Square and pay a visit to the impressive structure that is the National Museum where the exhibits have a strong focus on natural history
- Explore beyond the tourist path by walking past the museum into the leafy neighborhood of Vinohrady and take in the jelly-bean-colored fin-de-siecle buildings. Enjoy a frosty mug in the beer garden at Riegrovy Sady park, then follow the path for a beautiful overview of the main city with the castle in the distance
- Check out the modernist The Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord chuch in Vinohrady - one of Prague's most unusually designed houses of worship
- Take the 15-minute walk to the river and stroll beneath the watchful eye of the castle. Stop for a coffee in the Art Deco environs of Kavarna Slavia at the National Theatre
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
Although children are welcome, this hotel definitely has a hip vibe geared more toward couples and singles rather than families. Children up to the age of 12 are free of charge if they don't require an extra bed - which are available for an additional fee - and baby cots are free to borrow.
Family friendly accommodation:
Standard Rooms can connect for larger family parties on two floors, but the best rooms suited for taking an extra bed are the Deluxe or Junior Suites.