This was the amazing sight of the hotel as we arrived. Prague holds a special place in my heart. After all, this was the romantic city that I visited for my honeymoon, many years ago. I was excited to rediscover it and see if it had changed. After checking in, we were all shown to our individual, beautiful rooms .
Waiting for us, were these most delicious Christmas cookies, created by Marek Fichtner, the hotel’s chef.
We were all a little late reconvening back to the lobby for lunch.
I wonder why, you may ask?
I was sampling those totally moreish cookies in my room. I couldn’t leave till I tried the next one, and the next………I’m pretty sure you’ve got the picture by now, and I guess the others were doing the same.
My eyes were drawn to these colourful rounded mirrors. You can see the reflections of Augustine’s restaurant in them.
This was the place where we spent many a happy hours. The latter will be elaborated on below. Augustine restaurant was bathed in natural light, coming through its floor to ceiling windows, that looked out to this seated terrace.
The terrace looked like the perfect place for lounging in Summer, don’t you think?
I’m loving that photographic centrepiece, and how its lime green is being drawn out by the similar accent tones of the cushions. Many a happy hours at the Augustine restaurant can in part be explained by the delicious breakfast we had. This marbled cake was gratefully received and washed down by a perfectly smooth and aromatic latte. Being me, I couldn’t resist styling the freshly made pancakes with fruit segments, dried figs, canberries, nuts and seeds. It was delicious. Now that we are on the subject of food. This was what I ordered at the restaurant for lunch one day.
It was a Jerusalem artichoke soufflé with goat’s cheese, rucola sauce and figs. Look how beautifully raised that soufflé is.
It was light, fluffy and melt in your mouth delicious. The goat’s cheese gave a light savoury edge to the subtle flavours of the Jerusalem artichoke.The sweet figs were the perfect sweet kick to the savoury.
We also had dinner at the hotel restaurant on our first night where we were treated to a specially created menu by talented chef Marek Fichtner.
Here’s what we got to sample : Veal sweetbread with parsnip espuma, Brussels sprouts and Boulangere potatoes, followed by Scallops with chanterelles, thyme and a truffle emulsion. Then there was the most tender of braised pork cheeks in St Thomas beer, parsley puree and bacon dumpling.
The dessert was a chocolate sponge with chocolate ganache, sea buckthorn jam and rose hip sorbet.
What can I say? Every dish was served up beautifully styled and tasted amazing, each paired with a wine. In my opinion, deserving of Michelin stars. After dinner, we moved on to the Refectory bar 1887 for coffee or another tipple if we so fancied.
To be honest, after Champagne, possibly 3 different kinds of wines, cocktails and the famed St. Thomas beer, I could have been floating on the clouds quite happily, even though I was only sipping through the night. So, I had coffee.
This was one of my favourite rooms in the hotel. Check out the period features, the beautifully painted mouldings on the ceilings in a light peachy tone and that dramatic metal chandelier. Feast your eyes on that striking red and gold backdrop with a lit up photo of iconic Blondie. A mix of old and new but done so brilliantly well, creating a quirky and definitely hip vibe. I mentioned St Thomas beer above. Now this is something special which only Augustine hotel guests got to sample, created from a recipe dating back to 1352 by monks.
You see, Augustine hotel is composed of 7 buildings dating back to 1284 and part of the building is the 13th Century Augustinian St. Thomas monastery, a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Up to this day, it is still a working monastery with 4 monks living there.
Imagine staying in a luxury hotel with access to a special national treasure like that. Look at the breathtaking paintings on the ceilings. All this and more via an interconnecting corridor. The beer was a black coloured lager,smooth and delicious. I brought two bottles home for my husband. He loved the first bottle so much that he is currently saving the second for a special occasion.
Apparently the recipe for the beer is still in the monastery’s 13th century library which is filled with wonderfully rare books, not opened to the public. But we were super lucky to be granted access by the monks. Just look at how beautiful this old hymn book was. The bedrooms at the Augustine hotel were not only luxuriously decorated, but the bathrooms were elegantly clad in marble and had Perrin and Rowe bathroom fittings.
I was excited to see these bathroom fittings in real life, as I have met the owners at a dinner party only a few months back and loved the philosophy behind their work.
If you have been reading my previous hotel reviews, I tend to judge the hotel by the comfort of their beds. I am pretty fussy when it comes to sleep time comfort. I love my own bed so much, but I can honestly say I slept like a baby at Augustine.
Talking about sleeping like a baby, I can’t deny that the amazing Swedish massage that I got at the hotel’s spa didn’t help. I was definitely on my way to the Land of nod after that 1 hour treat.
The photo above is part of the 360 degrees view from the Tower suite of the hotel. The suite is on 3 levels via an internal spiral staircase. The middle level consist of an exposed, roll top free standing bath. A perfect room for honeymooners. Augustine was conveniently located in the heart of Prague, between Prague Castle and Charles bridge.
Here’s an early morning sunrise view from Charles bridge. I can see subtle hints of Pantone’s colour of the year 2016, Serenity and Rose Quartz in the sky.
Even the buildings stood side by side in Pantone’s Serenity blue and Rose Quartz pink.
This is part of the view from Charles bridge.
Prague was definitely my ‘child in a candy store’ moment. I remembered the architecture being stunning at every corner you turned many years back, but I didn’t remember it being so vibrantly colourful.
Look at all those pastel shades.
Beautifully preserved architecture against the pale blue sky. I really think Prague is there with my top 10 most colourful cities in the world. Prague is a city full of Christmas magic. It was hard not to see why, with its fairy tale buildings and Christmas trees that climbed to the sky, such as this one at the main square of the old town.
Then there were the bustling Christmas markets selling Christmas ornaments, mulled wines,sweet hot cocoas and Trdelniks ( a classic cylindrical doughnut coated in cinnamon sugar and baked on open coal fires). Here’s another tree set against the beautiful colours of the surrounding architecture. We also got a guided tour of the city and visited this colourful cemetery in Vysehrad where Prague’s elite and famous by trade were buried. The mosaic work and intricate paintings were stunning. During our time in Prague, we visited 3 amazing eateries which I highly recommend. There was Atelier Red and wine,famed for their wine and the seafood linguine looked amazing. Then there was Cukrkavalimoda for their savoury pancakes and healthy smoothies. For dinner and a taste of classic Czech food, I highly recommend Mincovna. Hope you have enjoyed my view of Prague. Wishing you all a happy New Year 2016!
( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. All views and opinions are my own. I was a press guest at the Augustine in Prague, part of the Luxury Collection hotel of Starwood hotel group.)