Friday, July 31, 2015

Prague, Czech - Art Deco Imperial Hotel

[My home for three days in Prague.] The Art Deco Imperial Hotel is quite impressive.  This information is from the website.  The progression of "great to disrepair to renovated" is a theme that will repeat itself many times over the two weeks on our tour.
There is only a hand full of Prague hotels boasting such a long tradition and history.
Hotel Imperial was built on the place of a former Inn “U Černého orla” between years 1913-1914. The new owner of the plat, progressive Prague builder, hotelier and owner of the hotel Paris, Jan Kolář with his brother Alois decided to take advantage of the exclusive location near three important Prague railway stations, already in 1912.
The new project was developed by Jaroslav Benedict’s architectural office and the building construction combines three architectural styles – Art Deco, cubism and Art Nouveau.  The old pub was demolished while in its place a seven-storey hotel Imperial was built in April 1913.
From August, 14th the hotel was step by step placed into operation, finally opening on December, 1st 1914. At that time this luxury hotel offered accommodation in 180 rooms and suites, café, restaurant and wine bar.
Among numerous famous guests of the interwar period was the first president of Czechoslovakia Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, writer Franz Kafka or composer Leoš Janáček.
The property grew popular among German officers during the Second World War which resulted in locals avoiding it.
The hotel was later taken by the government as a result of the communist revolution on March, 7th 1948. It had fallen to the National Union Trades. Since 1950 the property was used as recreation house for foreign guests, operated by Revolutionary Trade Union Movement ( ROH).
The hotel was completely renovated as a UNESCO listed property between 2005 - 2007 and became one of the most impressive and luxurious hotels in Prague again.
The whole hotel building is listed as a Czech National Monument. Art Deco Imperial Hotel was recognised in 2013 and 2014 as one of the 25 most luxurious hotels in the Czech Republic by TripAdvisor, independent travel platform.
Let yourself be enchanted by the unique atmosphere and elegance of the early 20th century.

These are my photographs of the interior.  The staircase.

 The Imperial Cafe was wonderful. The tour group had breakfast here each morning.  I had a wonderful lunch.  The next text section is taken from the website. I did not know that the chef was a celebrity until I did my research for the blog!  No wonder this was so over the top tasty.

Café Imperial has been the most famous and most popular “Grand Cafe House” in Prague for the past 100 years. Once frequented by the writer Franz Kafka, composer Leos Janacek and many other eminent guests.
Original Art Noveau ceramic wall tiling and mosaic ceiling from 1914 are breathtaking, crowned by large street windows. Enjoy the unforgettable atmosphere with a touch of the early 20th century.
The menu boasts traditional Czech cuisine with a modern twist, complemented by international items. Signature dishes such as Braised Veal Cheeks, Braised Shank of Lamb or Imperial Cake will make you return for more. All food is homemade and prepared only from the best ingredients.
Imperial is currently the home kitchen of the celebrity Chef Zdenek Pohlreich who runs his weekly TV show on national television.
Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner should you be a hotel guest or a random visitor. An advanced reservation is highly recommended, ideally a few days prior to your visit.
Café Imperial is the venue for celebrations, parties or important corporate events. Contact our events team for conditions of exclusive hire or other group occasions.
Café Imperial is run as non smoking restaurant only.
Opening hours: Daily 06.30 – 23.00

My lunch post and photographs are here:  This link opens in a new window so you can take a peak at the food and still stay on the hotel post.

Inside both the Art Deco Imperial Hotel and the Cafe Imperial: one cannot help but notice the beauty of the telework.  It glistens in the light from both exterior and interior lights.  I feel very fortunate to have found the name "RAKO" at the base of the murals at the hotel entranceway.  This small clue allows us to know more about the tile work throughout the building.

The unique style of the hotel, the most modern hotel in Prague at its time, originated in 1914 thanks to cooperation by the investor J. Kolář, who acceded to its construction after he had sold the Paris Hotel in New Town, and Emil Sommerschuh, Director of the princely Liechtenstein ceramics goods factory in Rakovník (later RAKO). A record that dates back to 1913 gives evidence that these two co-authors of a magnificent idea agreed on establishing a hotel decorated by permanent material, whereby they wanted “to pass on to future generations a work of art that would be insusceptible to time changes and in permanent colors”. Following this idea, the main part of the hotel originated, the coffee-house on the ground floor with original ceramic decorations. A Rakovník-based firebrick plant, whose mark can be found on one of the central reliefs, did the ceramic decoration in 1941 following designs by decorative art Professor Jan Beneš (pupil of J. Plečnik). The sculptures were created by sculpture Josef Drahoňovský and apart from the coffee-house they also decorate other premises. The entire décor made up of, amongst others, mosaic on the ceiling and relief ornaments on pillars makes us think of Egypt and the Orient. The same atmosphere also breathes from the spacious reliefs located in the entrance hall, the primary motif of which are figures of lions inspired by the art of Egypt and the Middle and Near East. The Rakovník-based ceramics factory billed the hotel owner a total of 70.000 CZK for the entire contract, that is a considerable amount at that time. In 2006 – 2007, LASSELSBERGER, the assignee of the then princely Liechtenstein ceramics goods factory in Rakovník (later RAKO), participated under the technical supervision of conservationists in the reconstruction of this unique ceramic interior in Central Europe. Reconstruction included the cleaning of the surfaces of ceramic facings, filling in missing ceramics and especially the demanding manufacture of replicas and new pointing.

There were two murals at the entranceway, similar but unique.  The right side has figures facing right and the left they are facing left (essentially looking out of the building).

 The ceiling:

A post on the interior lobby.

 These tiles were on an interior lobby wall.

This was my breakfast for Saturday and Sunday morning.  There was a large buffet with breads and pastries that I was able to avoid.  Good strong coffee was included.

Tomato, cheese, mushrooms, salmon, eggs, bacon, some veggies.

ague 1
Czech Republic

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