Hotel Paris (Hotel Paříž)
The unmistakeable look of the early 20th century can still be seen in one of Prague’s most beautiful hotels – the Hotel Paris in the historical city centre. Art Nouveau details decorate this ostentatious neo-Gothic building from 1904, designed by architects J. Vejrych and A. Pfeifer. Because the hotel has been declared a historical monument, it still boasts its original interior decoration, such as that found in the Sarah Bernhardt Restaurant.
New-Gothic hotel Paris with marked Secession elements was built in the beginning of the 20th century in place with rich history. The house owned by a prominent family of Velflovic, which used to be located here, in the neighbourhood of the Mountain Gate, later the Powder Gate, was purchased by Václav IV together with other neighbouring buildings, and a royal court was established here as a royal residence at the end of the 14th century after the Prague Castle fire. Other rulers lived here, too, until 1483, when Vladislav II Jagiellon moved back to Prague Castle. The court then went desolate for one and a half century, it became a private property, and only in 1631 everything was purchased by Archbishop Arnošt Harrach, who founded an archiepiscopal seminar here. St. Vojtěch’s Church was built and added to the premises in 1694 from the legacy of Archbishop Jan Valdštejn. When the seminar moved to Klementinum in 1777, Royal Court’s barracks were established here. Until 1900, there was a cadet school and St. Vojtěch’s Church became an army church. In 1900, new cadet school was built at Hradčany, and the barracks were sold out at that time and all the buildings were demolished.
The early-Secessionist hotel was built in the years 1904 - 1907, according to a project of architect Jan Vejrych. The interiors of the café and the restaurant were made by architect Antonín Pfeiffer, and the ceramic mosaics outside were made by painter Jano Köhler. The impressive corner of the building with high attic gable is topped by a high tower with a gallery and copper spouts. This observation tower, which is the highest hotel tower in the Old Town, offering views of the town within the scope of 360 degrees, is today a part of the unique presidential suite named Royal Tower Suite spread on 150 m2.
The hotel’s front is richly decorated by stucco floral ornaments, and on the top fourth floor, there are coloured mosaics of genre figural paintings between the windows. Both the side wings have attic gables with spires above the top cornice, and all the surface is plastically decorated in a pseudo-Gothic style. Above the main hotel entrance, there is a copper roof shaped as a baldachin, and the portal is framed by a turquoise-golden mosaic. The hotel’s interior is also famous for its unique decoration. Luckily, most of the arts and crafts elements of these stylish decorations have been preserved during reconstruction. The restaurant and the café are again decorated by turquoise wall lining made of split glass mosaic, originally brought from Italy. The mosaic is completed with wooden plates, inlaid with coloured wood and mother-of-pearl; there are copper decorations, brass door and window fittings, gold coatings on the stuccoes in the rooms and corridors, Secession glass trimmings on the arms of the period lighting fixtures, many precious mirrors and other Secession decorative elements.
As early as at the time of its opening, the hotel was viewed as a unique piece of art, and therefore the building is registered in the Museum of fine arts in Paris. The hotel was one of the most modern hotels in Prague and always had the best references. From 1923 on, it was owned by the family of Brandejs, yet in 1948 it was nationalized, and from then on, it gradually deteriorated, until it only lined up with second-class hotels. It was restored in the 80s, and in 1984 it was declared a National cultural monument. It returned to the family of Brandejs in 1992. Today, the hotel is back at the top European and world class, yet there are still things to improve. There is a new vestibule with original design, a new mosaic in front of the main entrance according to the original floor, and also the café got a new face with a new bar Chez Amis. The rooms also follow the latest world standards. There is air-conditioning, most up-to-date technology, as well as luxury bathrooms with heated floors. The original legendary Café de Paris is still open for guests and other visitors, as well as an elegant Gourmet restaurant Sarah Bernhardt, and a new Wellness & Spa Centrum with sauna and massages.