Prague, Czech Republic – Picture Postcard Perfect

48 hours in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, thanks to Ovation Global DMC (www.ovationdmc.com) gave me a taste of this city’s Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) offering. If I had only one word to describe the city of Prague, it would have to be captivating. My love for Prague was instantaneous.

MICE  Activity Appeal

To get a true feeling of Prague, I recommend walking in the company of an expert guide. There is no better way to get an orientation of the city, soak in the most captivating architecture and get a flavour of the city. While there are plenty of people in the city, the streets have a calmness about them that I really enjoyed.

The Vltava River runs through Prague and provides the opportunity to enjoy a river cruise or for the more adventurous, enjoy the river and incredible views of Prague by kayak.

World famous for its beer, a MICE programme in Prague is not complete without spending time in one of its many beer halls and decide for yourself if the Czech Republic is home to the world’s best beer!  Match this up with some hearty food and you are going to feel like someone is giving you a big warm hug! Why not combine two of my favourite things while there; Beer and Spa! Or perhaps zipping through the city in a Trabant car is more your thing!

Prague is a super location when shopping for locally produced goods. I particularly enjoyed the store, Manufaktura, full of Czech made products and great options for room amenities for your next programme in Prague. If glass and crystal are your thing, you are definitely in the right place. You could even organise a glass workshop with local artist, Antonin Manto, one of the leading Czech glass artists. Ovation Czech Republic are the ones in the know when it comes to activities and all the latest shopping hotspots.

MICE Hotel Appeal

What struck me most about Prague’s hotel scene is that the hotels can be grouped into very distinct categories, in my opinion. You have your trio of luxury boutique style hotels for your high end top tier meeting and incentive programmes; The Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and what was my personal favourite during my visit, The Augustine, A Luxury Collection Hotel.  The Augustine is a series of 7 buildings dating back to the 13th century comprising of 101 rooms including 20 suites. 5 monks still live on site and a very special experience is to have the monks guide you through the library, there is a beautiful internal garden as well as the Brewery, a great vaulted space for group events where you can enjoy St. Thomas Beer, brewed by the monks since the 14th century. With a total of 5 meeting spaces in addition to its 101 rooms, an ideal group size for this hotel is 50 rooms / 100pax. One observation to note is that a 19seater mini-coach is the largest vehicle that can drive directly up to the entrance but this logistical detail is minor when compared to what awaits once you check-in.

Mandarin Oriental, Prague, is an understated slice of luxury in the city of Prague and is housed within a former 14th century monastery. With 99 rooms including 20 suites, an ideal group size for this hotel is between 50-60 rooms per night / 100-120pax.

I loved the room style here complete with either stunning parquet floors (my preference) or carpet. Their meeting and event spaces are superb with the ballroom accommodating up to 120pax. The Spa is housed within the former chapel and the Spa entrance showcases original artefacts discovered during the archaeological dig of the site. There is a summer terrace off the main restaurant accommodating 120pax and a wonderful wine cellar ideal for private dining for up to 17 guests. Word of warning however, WI-FI is provided at a fee and standard guest rooms do not have tea/coffee making facilities. Despite this, the experience Mandarin Oriental, Prague, delivers to its group guests is very special and while there I got to see a magnificent welcome amenity being delivered to guest bedrooms made of chocolate by their expert pastry team and it looked so good, I wanted to eat it there and then!

The Four Seasons is the largest of this trio of luxury hotels with 157 rooms across 4 buildings with 3 of these buildings dating back to the 18th century. I loved the florals in this hotel and they have an intimate lobby lounge oozing sophistication. The room product here is excellent complete with chandelier lighting and Lorenzo Villoresi Firenze bathroom amenities. Event space is located 1 level below the lobby and the ballroom comes complete with an outdoor terrace with wonderful views due to the hotel’s enviable location by the river and the Charles Bridge. Their Spa, which is 1 year old, is a key selling point for this hotel with 5 treatment rooms, lounge area and vitality pool and a stunning couples suite. The restaurant adds a modern feel to the overall hotel and serves up contemporary Italian fare – I loved the atmosphere in the restaurant and it was not what I would have expected from the hotel so was a pleasant surprise for me.

The next distinct category for me are the premium mid-sized hotels; Prague Marriott Hotel and Hilton Prague Old Town, located directly opposite each other. Out of these 2 hotels, my preference is Hilton Prague Old Town. This hotel offers 303 rooms with rooms slated to be renovated in Q1 2018 – watch this space. 14 meeting spaces means this hotel has great flexibility for meeting groups and they allow group signage in lobby. The main space accommodates 150pax classroom style. Their restaurant, in an Art Deco style, can seat up to 200 group guests and is located just off the lobby. The hotel provides a health centre with a swimming pool and compact gym, sauna, and 2 treatment rooms. Swimming pool benefits from natural daylight. Guests booked in Executive Rooms, have access to the Executive Lounge, which is very spacious and has a lovely view of the city. This hotel surprised me in a positive way and is certainly worth considering for your next meeting in Prague. The  Prague Marriott Hotel provides 293 rooms, which were renovated in 2016, event space is located on the 1st floor, due to be renovated in 2018, and with 11 event spaces in total, the hotel offers great flexibility for meeting groups.

The Intercontinental Prague often divides opinion due to its Brutalist architectural style and respect for the original stylings when it first opened in the 1970’s. In my personal opinion, I loved it but acknowledge that it won’t be to everyone’s taste. With 372 sleeping rooms and extensive event space, an ideal group size for this hotel is.

200 rooms / 200pax for meet and feed events. The hotel’s location is incredible, at the edge of the Jewish Quarter at the end of Paris Street, which is lined with designer shops. Added benefit to this hotel is the 150 seater Rooftop Restaurant. This hotel has decades of experience welcoming VIP guests and this is reflected in the service levels experienced during my visit.

We then have The Big 2: The Corinthia Hotel with 539 rooms and 25 event spaces and The Hilton Prague with 791 rooms and 38 meeting spaces. These two hotels, in my opinion, are positioned perfectly for larger conferences and events and rubber stamp Prague’s popularity for international meetings, conferences and events. Yet again, another Hilton hotel surprised me in a positive way and in particular, I loved their Cloud 9 Rooftop Terrace and fitness facilities.

MICE Venue Appeal

From beer halls to palaces, Prague is in the enviable position of having a broad range of world class venues to make your next MICE programme the most memorable. My personal favourite is The Žofín Palace, with 4 exquisite event spaces with The Large Hall accommodating up to 800 guests for gala dinner events. The Municipal House should be on your offsite event space radar too. In the art nouveau style, this venue of great historical importance, was the location where, in 1918, the independence of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed.

Prague – A Fairy-tale  

As I walked the streets of Prague, its architectural beauty made me feel like I was in a fairy-tale. Prague creates lifelong memories making it an ideal destination for a MICE programme. As I strolled across The Charles Bridge, I just had to stop and soak it in and realise how lucky I was to be there and to experience everything that had been showcased to me during my 48 hours visit. The people are friendly, outgoing and there is a quirkiness there that I haven’t seen in many other places. Prague – you’re Picture Postcard Perfect.

Stay In Touch

Keep up to speed on my MICE travels on Twitter @VeryKLC and Instagram @veryklc. Contact me directly at ken@klc.ie if you have any questions on my MICE travels or need support in sourcing your next international MICE programme via my DMC partners. 

Notes

KL Communications was hosted by its partner, Ovation Czech Republic, the leading Prague based destination management company, and part of Ovation Global DMC.

For more information on Ovation Czech Republic, pop over to www.ovationdmc.com/destinations/czech-republic

KL Communications

KL Communications is a Dublin based interaction design studio specialising in branding, communications and sales. With a background in business tourism, Ken Lyons brings a fresh approach to B2B sales. To further expand the agency offering, the collaboration with Paul Condron, Creative Strategist, brings a dynamic approach to how businesses embrace creativity. By adopting a Brand Publishing mindset to communications partnered with a commitment to company culture alignment, KL Communications collaborates with businesses to transform their branding and communications activities.