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A Few of My Favourite Things!

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Tale of Two Hotels

When we are away on holidays, I usually start missing the comforts of home after several days of suitcase-living. I miss the freedom of being able to throw a simple meal together for dinner or even to boil some hot water as many hotels do not offer tea and coffee making facilities. My preference is to stay in a self-catering place or in an apartment, but when this is not possible for whatever reasons, I like to find a hotel that provides as many of the facilities that will allow me to do most of the things that I do at home. For example, exercise goes a long way in making me feel less jet-lagged so I will try to find a hotel that has a gym. I enjoy drinking hot water first thing in the morning, so having a kettle in the room is good.

Before booking a room, I will check the hotel reviews in Trip Advisor. These are far more accurate than going by the pictures shown on a website (which can be very deceptive!) or the facilties that the hotel lists on its website.

On this trip, A. & I found a fantastic hotel in Prague that I had to write about. Designed by Eva Jiricna, Hotel Josef has a brightly-lit and very contemporary interior. We were initially given a room in the older part of the hotel but upon requesting a room at the front, our belongings were moved to a room in the newer part of the hotel while we were out sightseeing. When we asked for a kettle, one appeared at our door as soon as it was made available. We were mistakenly told upon checking in that our breakfast was included so they provided us breakfast free of charge the next morning. The service was just outstanding at this place and nothing appeared to be too much trouble. The front-of-house staff always had a friendly smile ready and greeted us upon our return.

We had quite the opposite experience in our next hotel, the Regent Petite France in Strasbourg. I don't really like the ieda of putting out a 'bad' review of any place and I don't think that I have anything really terrible about this hotel. I think it's just that the indifferent service was so contrasting with our Prague experience that it felt like a real let-down for us.


Let me give you some examples:

1. we were watching one of their pay TV movies on night when the movie suddenly stopped playing. My husband spoke to reception and was told that the movie had finished because the video had stopped. When he explained that it had in fact not finished, the receoptionist asked 'Are you sure?'. Well, it's kinda obvious when you haven't seen the end.

2. The front-of-house never greeted us once when we came downstairs or when we returned for the evening. Now, in a place where almost everyone greets you with 'Bonjour' when you pass in the corridors, it did make us wonder why the staff wouldn't even bother looking at us. We did notice that they were quite good with the other guests, who generally tended to be slightly more mature with young or teenage children. Was it a case of being biased against visitors who did not look like they should be staying at a stuffy hotel?

3. I noticed that the hotel advertised a fitness centre when making the booking. On the first morning, I wandered down to the first floor for a quick workout, and well, it turned out to be a LOT quicker than I expected. I walked into a dimly lit room to see 2 deck chairs in the middle of a small room. There was a decrepit bike at one corner that had seen better days and a sauna next to it. I'm not sure why the deck chairs were there given that it was obviously not for sunbathing - the window coverings could not be open and there was barely any direct sunlight into the room. But, seeing as the bike was the only form of exercise equipment there, I hopped on. When I described it as decrepit, I really do mean it. You had to change gears by flicking a metal rod out of one setting then pushing it into the next gear setting. The best thing about it was that it started making a clack-clack sound whenm I started cycling, which increased in speed as I cycled faster. I managed about 30 or 45 seconds before almost falling off the bike 'cos I was giggling so hard. Fortunately no one else was in the room :-D I then called A. and told him to come down and check out the great gym

Anyway, we didn't stress out too much about the second hotel, but it really confirmed to us what a great place Hotel Josef is. I would definitely recommend this hotel if anyone is staying in Prague and we will be staying there again in the future. Thanks to all the staff there!

View from our second room at Hotel Josef

6 Comments:

  • Gorgeous photos, Cin!

    Sorry the Strasbourg hotel didn't work out very well but the one in Prague sounds lovely.

    By Anonymous Ivonne, at Tue. May 09, 12:13:00 am AEST  

  • wow! i would love to stay in Josef if i happen to be in Prague....

    By Blogger fooDcrazEE, at Fri. May 12, 02:30:00 pm AEST  

  • I was in Prague almost 2 years ago and loved the place. I stayed in an apartment that my friend had previously stayed in with her family; it had an amazing balcony for sunny breakfasts and after a hard day of walking, a perfect beer spot. Thanks for the memories!

    By Blogger Belinda, at Sat. May 13, 11:32:00 am AEST  

  • Ivonne: It's a beautiful place and that makes it hard to take a bad photo!

    FC: gotta get there some time!

    Belinda: let me know where this apartment is in case we go back there!

    By Blogger cin, at Mon. May 15, 07:05:00 pm AEST  

  • Hi Cin
    I'm in Perth. I was in Prague way back in 1993. I stayed in a pension in Kosire. But it was beautiful little terrace house. I enjoy the city and it was cheaper back then too. And the crystal ware was so cheap and so beautiful. I wish that I could visit Prague again....

    By Blogger flower, at Wed. May 24, 12:01:00 pm AEST  

  • beautiful view :)..

    By Anonymous guile, at Fri. Jun. 02, 07:12:00 pm AEST  

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