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Luxury Steeped in History: The Spas of Prague

By: Bryan Durocher
Posted: August 26, 2009, from the September 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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The journey from changing room to treatment room takes visitors through another beautiful corridor featuring arched Gothic ceilings, which are also found in the spacious treatment chambers. The décor in my room featured cream-colored walls, light stone floors and a large soaking tub tiled in bright orange and yellow Italian tiles in the adjoining private bathroom. There also were large windows that let in plenty of natural light. As with the rest of the spa, the light, bright palette prevented the space from feeling dim or ponderous.

For my treatment, I elected to receive the Deep Tissue Massage, which is priced at $275 for 120 minutes, and the first thing I noticed was the large, modern, electrically heated treatment bed. It was more than adequate for my 6'5" frame, and it helped to relax my tense muscles in no time, making the entire massage experience soothing and comfortable.

My male therapist was strong and clearly experienced. After I told him my body was stiff and sore from my 31-hour journey to Prague, he combined a number of manipulations for my treatment, and it was clear he had a highly sophisticated understanding of anatomy. He was also extremely businesslike—after working on me for 90 minutes, he straightened up, announced, “We’re done now,” and left the room. Efficient and completely no nonsense.

As for the takeaways, without a doubt, the most impressive aspect of this spa was the skillful blending of the historical and cultural components of the city and hotel with a highly effective and luxurious modern spa experience. The thick walls and vaulting contributed to the coziness of the facility, while the soft colors and natural light prevented the sanctuary from feeling closed-in. Equally impressive was the clever use of space that provided the utmost privacy for each guest at all times. And of course, from the therapist to the support staff, the quality of my treatment and overall experience was unparalleled and consistent with the high standards I have come to expect from every spa in the Mandarin Oriental collection.

Unpretentious luxury

The Le Palais Hotel Prague is a charming boutique hotel with 72 individually designed guest rooms. It was built as a residential palace in 1897—a relatively new structure by Prague standards. It’s one of the city’s finest examples of Belle Epoque architecture, which was marked by beautiful neoclassical and curvilinear Art Nouveau facades, and it’s located in an exclusive residential area a short walk from the famous Wenceslas Square and the National Museum. Although it reopened as a hotel in 2002 after a complete refurbishment, it still retains all of the elegance and grace of the late 19th century.