A trip to a Christmas market in winter is always a lot of fun, especially aboard. So we were excited as we headed, very early, to Gatwick airport for a short trip to Prague.
With less than 48 hours to explore this beautiful city there was no time to waste. Home to a plethora of galleries, museums and David Cerny sculptures Prague undoubtedly has a lot to see, and we were in the mood to fit in as much as we could.
The Utopian Hotel Collection, a consortium of luxury, independent hotels with a youthful mind set, arranged the trip. They provide guests with the ‘happiest’ and most stress-free travel experience available on the market. With new collaborations with Headspace and Heywood Hill, the Utopian Hotel Collection helps transport guests to a state of mindful serenity so that every holiday experience can be enjoyed to the fullest.
I hadn’t visited the Czech capital since taking a short break with friends many moons ago, so was looking forward for a slightly more upmarket excursion with a focus on the finer things the city has to offer rather than the raucous side for which it has become renowned.
We were picked up from the airport and whisked to our hotel in the centre of the city, literally a few steps away from the main square and the huge Christmas market.
The Emblem Hotel was also just next to Prague’s equivalent of LA’s Rodeo Drive, ensuring all your shopping needs are taken care of.
The hotel is design-led with a huge focus on arts and artists. The communal areas are lined by the work of local creatives, with paintings and prints that pop against the chic dark Art Deco-themed décor.
We had a double room, with a luxurious king size bed and walk-in rain shower in the grey-marble-clad bathroom. The perfect size for a city centre hotel.
There was no time to relax in the room though as we had reservations at George Prime Steak, an adjoining restaurant, for lunch. It is an upmarket establishment with attentive and knowledgeable staff. The champagne oysters to start were a delight and the Wagyu beef for main should undoubtedly be considered as an indulgent treat. It may not be cheap, but it is worth every penny.
The meal was washed down with a bottle of red wine, recommended by the waiter.
Feeling full we headed out into the town centre and strolled down to the river to see the huge flocks of geese that call the Vltava river home. We then took a stroll along the ornate Charles Bridge, which is among the most picturesque urban places on earth.
We then delved into the Christmas markets, with plenty of mulled wine and the local delicacy, the chimney cake, to eat, which are a treat to behold.
A local school choir was putting on a little concert of Christmas songs, which really gets you into the festive spirit.
Utopian Hotel Collection arranges fantastic experiences for their guests; we took advantage of their recommendation for dinner at La Finestra.
Again the meal was delightful and the recommended dishes of Ravioli and Grilled octopus with fried polenta were out of this world. It was another style-led venue, with a very cool decor.
I would like to say I partied the night away like the old days, but we were shattered and headed back to our hotel for a much needed lie down. It had been a hectic day.
In the morning we headed for breakfast that is served in a gilded cigar box of a room. The buffet boasts an assortment of fresh fruit, cereals, cheese, ham and a bakery’s worth of pastries and breads. We also ordered from the hot à la carte and I had a delightful omelette and a couple of cups of coffee.
After the food had settled we headed back to hotel for a couples massage, which was a thoroughly relaxing affair indeed.
Another quick trip to the Christmas market and a couple more mulled wines later we were ready to get into our airport transfer and head home.
It was a short but delightful trip and highly recommended for anyone looking for a winter break in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.