On this trip, I decided that I would stay at a Hilton property, and I had a choice of the Hilton Old Town or the Hilton Prague. I wanted to be close to the Old Town and limit my walking distance since I was traveling alone, and it was cold outside (December). The proximity to Old Town made the Hilton Old Town the obvious choice, initially.
However, I had read that the Hilton Prague had an amazing executive lounge, and one of the top nightclubs in the city was located on the hotel’s rooftop. So, I decided I would stay at the Hilton Prague – the rumors of a bigger and better executive lounge and nightclub on-site trumped saving 10 minutes of walking time. Also, it appeared to be more conveniently located to the subway (Florenc Stop, Lines B and C) and bus station (Florenc Bus Station), which I knew I would be using at some point during my stay.
I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant to stay at this hotel because of the location. Was it really going to be a 20 minute walk just to get to the Old Town and the sights? Was the area desolate at night? What type of neighborhood would I be walking through each day and night to get to the sights? Is the Executive Lounge really that much better than the lounge at the Hilton Old Town? I have to say, the hotel staff was very responsive to my inquiries. I felt more confident in my decision to stay here, and I was very much looking forward to it. My stay at the Hilton Prague definitely lived up to my expectations!
Getting to the Hotel on Arrival via Train or Bus
If you arrive to Prague via the main strain station, your options are to take the subway to Florenc or get a cab. I would opt for the cab if you have heavy luggage instead of dragging it through the subway stations. Moreover, it was difficult locating an elevator to take you to the street level (I never found it) at Florenc, and there were no escalators.
Florenc subway station is also where the bus station is. So if you are arriving by bus, you could take a 1 min taxi ride to the hotel or you can easily walk there. Be warned it’s a bit confusing when you arrive at night after a long bus ride, so definitely have your GPS ready on the smartphone to guide you along the way as there are no directional signs or street signs to help you get your bearings. To get you in the right direction, ask a local where the McDonalds is and/or look for the small park. Both are right next to the bus and subway station (same side of street) and will put you in the right direction towards the hotel. Once you pass McDonalds (on your left), cross the street, and then immediately cross the street again. You’ll now encounter a narrow pedestrian alley that runs along a main roadway. You may doubt you are going the right way, but just follow it. It’s very short, and it’ll pop you back up onto a main street, and voila, the hotel will be right in front of you.
Getting to Old Town from the hotel
The Hilton Prague is located on the outskirts of the Old Town area, and it only took about 10 minutes to walk to the perimeter of the tourist area.The walk is pleasant enough along a street that is dotted with restaurants, hotels, and some stores that cater to the locals more than tourists; it’s also along a trolley line.
Once you arrive at the perimeter of the Old Town area, you will find a large modern shopping mall, the Palladium, which is definitely worth a stop. From here, you are about another 5 minutes to the Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock or a 5 minute walk to Wenceslas Square. So overall, it is about a 15 minute walk to some of the tourist sites and the heart of Old Town.
The check-in desk was always staffed by at least 3 people, so there was never a long wait for check-in or for assistance during my stay. This is a very large hotel, and there are a lot of guests here, so I expected longer waits at the front desk whether for checking in or exchanging money, but there was never a wait.
What was even nicer was the fact that they also had a desk staffed on the executive club level. A few times my room key stopped working, and rather than having to go all the way back down to the lobby, I simply walked over to this desk, and I could get a new key. Very convenient!
Hilton Honor Benefits (Gold and Platinum)
The internet was free with my status, and it had a strong connection. I also had complimentary bottled water and a chocolate welcome gift waiting for me in the room. I was upgraded to the executive level which included access to the executive lounge.
The lounge opened for breakfast at 7AM offering a nice array of choices including a buffet and made-t0-order menu. The buffet included scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage along with some cold items, such as, hard boiled eggs and a cheese platter. Alternatively, you could order a la carte and get omelets, pancakes, frittatas or French toast. Overall, the lounge staff was amazing, but the folks who worked during breakfast seemed to take service to another level.
In the evening, complimentary cocktails (beer, red and white wine, champagne and liquor) were served from 5-10PM each night (including weekends). For a light snack, the lounge offered 2-3 hot appetizers, a cheese and veggie platter and desserts from 5-7PM.
All day long, you’d be able to grab a beer, coffee, tea, juice or water as well as some light munchies including peanuts, chips and gummy bears.
Condition of Rooms and Hotel
This is a very large hotel, and when one thinks of a conference hotel, this hotel would fit the bill. The ground floor was the conference and casino entrance. The ground floor was always buzzing with people, and it always smelled like smoke so I avoided it.
The 2nd floor entrance was the hotel’s main entrance and large lobby area. There always seemed to be a faint smell of smoke in the lobby area because of the casino on the ground floor as well as the people sitting around the lobby puffing on cigarettes. It’s definitely not a smoke-free hotel, so if you are very sensitive to cigarette smoke, you should take that into consideration. Thankfully, I didn’t smell cigarette smoke on my floor or in the room at all.
The rooms were very modern and comfortable, but on the small side. Room options were either interior rooms facing the courtyard or along the exterior. I personally do not like interior rooms, so I was happy to get one on the exterior looking towards the river. I looked forward to returning to my room each evening to relax and get a good night’s sleep because they were quite nice.
The bathroom was modern, but again, small. My bathroom had a separate bathtub and shower stall, and the shower was like a box. I doubt my 6’4” husband would have been able to fit in it if he had been traveling with me. Regardless, it was clean, modern, and had great lighting.
The hotel also offers a fitness center, but with all the walking I did around Prague, I had no need, let alone energy or time, to use it.
Cloud 9 Nightclub
The hotel offers several restaurants and bars onsite if you are exhausted after a day of touring around Prague. However, I didn’t check out any of them except the nightclub.
The Cloud 9 Nightclub is a rooftop lounge in the hotel. It was very convenient to get there, as the entrance was via the executive floor of the hotel where my room was located. I was excited to check out this club and try one of their fancy cocktails. I immediately fell in love with the place when I saw the hot pink and purple neon lighting in the hallway leading to the bar.
It’s very beautiful inside, and it had the look and feel you would expect of a big city nightclub: loud music, mood lighting, fancy cocktails, high prices and a well-heeled crowd. The age range was mixed with people in their 20s to 40s. The bar area was loud and crowded, but there were many seated table options on either side of the bar extending down and away from the main central bar area.
When I arrived at 11:30PM, all the tables were filled with groups, the bar was packed, and there was standing room only at the high-tops behind the bar. I had the misfortune of sharing one of these tables with a non-English speaking couple. It was like watching a telenovela. As soon as I arrived at the table, the woman started to kiss her male companion passionately. I wondered if this was her way of marking her turf. If so, I would have preferred a simple “Hello, he’s with me.” A few moments later, they were violently arguing. I’m not exaggerating, as it was like a cycle occurring at least 3 or 4 times – arguing, kissing, arguing, kissing, arguing, kissing. Thankfully, before I could finish my martini, they got their check and called it a night.
It was definitely too loud to talk in the bar area, and if you are traveling solo, it’s not worth stopping in unless you are able to grab a seat at the bar. Otherwise, it makes it very difficult to be social and join conversations like you could at a pub. If you are traveling with a friend, then Cloud 9 makes a great option for a nightcap before retreating back to your hotel room for the night. Also, expect to pay $15 with tip for “creative cocktail” that takes like a boring mixed drink.
Would I stay here again?
As much as I want to give the Hilton Old Town a try on my next visit to Prague, it will be a difficult decision, as there is no good reason not to stay at the Hilton Prague. With great customer service, a great lounge, comfortable rooms, and a decent location, you are guaranteed to have a perfect stay.
(Date of Stay – December 2013)
If you stayed at the Hilton Old Town, I would love to hear about your experience. Please share in the comments below.
All photos property of The Tripping Blonde unless otherwise indicated. All Rights Reserved. Cover photo, a snowy Hilton Prague, courtesy of Stephen Bartley.
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