Our primary concern for our stay in Prague was proximity to the main sites in Old Town, along with being a reasonable distance from Prague Castle, either by foot or via mass transit. Price was a secondary concern, though frankly, unless you’re dead set on staying at one of the big chains, even very decent hotels in Prague are generally quite reasonable by American standards (especially in late October). After extensive searching, we finally settled on the Archibald City Hotel, a mid-priced locally owned hotel just a couple of blocks from Wencesslas Square, and more important, walking distance to Prague’s main train station.
Archibald City Hotel
- Žitná 33, 110 00 Praha 1
- Features: 4-star hotel, free breakfast, free WiFi, on-site restaurant, meeting room, small library, computer and printer for common use in lobby, airport transportation available (fee charged), parking available (EUR 20/day), 5 P.M. late checkout (EUR 20 fee)
In New Town, approximately 2 blocks south of Wenceslas Square, and near the National Museum. The main train station is a 10-15 minute walk north, Old Town Square is a 10-15 minute walk to the northwest, and the Charles Bridge is a roughly 15 minute walk to the west and northwest. You can walk to Prague Castle in approximately 30 minute. The nearest Metro stations are Mustek – A and Muzeum, both about 5 minutes to the north.
Date of Stay: October 25-27, 2015
After getting off at the wrong bus stop on the way in from the airport, and giving ourselves an impromptu tour of much of Old Town Prague in the process, we made it to the hotel around 5:30. Thankfully, the desk clerk quickly checked us in. As the hotel itself occupies a historic building in New Town, it features a long, narrow lobby.
To the left is a sitting area and the Lobby Bar, along with a computer and printer for common use. There is also a kiosk containing information on the various popular tourist sites in Prague.
Lobby bar and sitting area
Computer and city information kiosk
Also to the left is the hotel restaurant, which serves breakfast daily from 7-10:30, and dinner from 6-10.
We had booked a double room with an “aerial view”. I found the room itself, while pretty basic, reasonably sized by European standards, featuring a nice, large king size bed. The room also featured a small desk and chair in the corner, a handy spot for storing luggage above the dresser-drawer, and a small flat-screen TV. Beware that the mattress is a little on the firm side, as is often the case in smaller European hotels. It wasn’t so firm that it bothered me, but if you’re the type that prefers a squishy mattress, you may find it a little uncomfortable.
What was supposed to set this room apart was the “aerial view” providing an “amazing view of Prague Castle”, as described in the room description and in our booking confirmation.
But the actual view from out the window? Not so amazing. Call it a “Room Without a View”.
Now, don’t get me wrong – 208 euros for two nights AND a late check-out for a deluxe room right in the heart of Prague is a great price. But c’mon, if you’re going to advertise a room with a view, then give me the darn view! To which you’re probably thinking: why didn’t you complain, you fool? You could’ve scored some free stuff! And you’re right, I probably should have complained, and probably could have gotten moved, or at least scored 10 or 20 euros a night off the bill. But my wife and I were already having so much fun on our trip, I really didn’t want to waste energy about a room we’d be in for maybe an hour or two a day aside from sleeping.
Anyway, we both felt really tired, but didn’t want to go to sleep at 6:00 and risk waking up at 2 A.M. At the same time, we didn’t feel at all like walking around and trying to find a place to eat outside, so after catching up on the news and Instagram, just decided to check out the hotel restaurant downstairs (next to the Lobby Bar). They were advertising a 3-course prix fixe for CZK 199 (~$8) per person, which included unlimited salad and bread, and a choice of main course and desert. The salad bar choices were pretty basic, with just some lettuce and a few assorted vegetables. Not a great start, though the olives were tasty.
On the other hand, the bread was very good, freshly baked with a nice outside crunch but a chewy, tender interior. It was kept in loaves in the corner, and you just cut off a piece with a large knife. My only complaint was that it took them awhile to bring more when it ran out. Assorted rolls were also available if you preferred.
And, of course, you could also enjoy a Czech beer while waiting for your meal. Beer in Prague is cheaper than soda, which is…interesting. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your perspective, I guess.
As for the main course, four choices were on offer. I ordered the grilled chicken with roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables, and my wife ordered the fish and chips; I forgot what the other two options were.
The chicken was surprisingly good; nicely cooked and moist, with a good sear, and even a hint of spiciness from the peppercorns. The star of the dish was probably the roasted potatoes. They were beautifully tender, and had been glazed in what I think was olive oil, giving them a wonderful, rich flavor. Prita also enjoyed her fish and chips, and I did try a piece of one of her potato wedges; they were terrific.
As mentioned, the dinner special also included desert. I chose the apple streudel with a light cinnamon sauce; Prita went with the pound cake with a LOT of vanilla sauce.
Vanilla sauce with cake
I can’t say I’ve ever met a streudel that I didn’t like, and the Czechs certainly make a good one. It was perhaps just a little dry, but the pastry crust was flaky, the apples found the right compromise between firm and squishy, and the sweetness was just right. Good desert overall. I was stuffed pretty silly at this point, so I didn’t try any of Prita’s cake.
Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by dinner at the restaurant. The only real issue was that it took forever to get the check at the end of the meal. I found this a common issue pretty much everywhere we went in Prague, though. I remember thinking, this is a seriously good deal for $8. And alas, it seems the hotel’s management finally figured out just how good a deal the offer was, as it’s since been discontinued. They’ve since replaced it with a rather uninspired-looking a la carte menu featuring mostly basic sandwiches, pizza, and “tortillas”. Oh well…
We ate breakfast both mornings of our stay, and the spread was pretty impressive. Unfortunately, I either forgot to take pictures, or accidentally deleted them. Oops. At least that one is of my favorite breakfast food of all, the cream cheese kolache.
Yes, Texans out there – Czech Stop kolaches are the real deal
As far as the spread goes, there are three distinct stations. The salad bar at dinner features a hot station, featuring scrambled eggs, and a couple of meats and vegetables. Next to the hot station is an extensive cold cut, fresh fruit, and cheese selection. The cheese, in particular, is really good. The bread loves and rolls at dinner are replaced by an extensive selection of breakfast breads, pastries, and kolaches, and then finally, a couple of types of yogurt and several cereals. There is also a coffee machine by the entrance, where you can get both black coffee and espresso drinks. A pretty impressive selection overall.
Service at the hotel was decent. All staff, except for the waitress at dinner, had a good command of English, and were pleasant and friendly all the way around. The hotel also honored my request for a late check-out (reserved in advance) with no problem or fuss. I just asked the clerk about it when we returned from touring on Monday, he noted it down in the register, and it was all taken care of. Speaking of which, the late check-out for 20 euros (up to 5 P.M.) is also a pretty decent deal. It’s nice if you have an evening flight and want a quick nap or shower before heading to the airport.
For what we were looking for – a place to sleep and maybe spend an hour or two between tours of town – the Archibald City is a perfectly good choice. It’s not the lap of luxury, but sports a great location, a good price, is easy to get to via public transportation, and features comfortable rooms and a decent on-site restaurant. Yes, it’s a little bit of a walk to Old Town or the Charles Bridge. But a 10-15 minute walk is worth the lower price, if you ask me. The only real problem I had was the lack of view from the room, but that was my fault for not saying something about it.
Also, as you can see, the hotel is sparse on amenities, such as a fitness center, business center, spa, etc. If those are important to you, you’ll want to look at one of the larger chains or resorts.
This post is part of my trip report series about our trip to the Czech Republic and Romania in October. Click here for the introductory post and trip report index.