Culture, Travel & Sport

Landmark Prague hotel changes owners, retains traditions

It’s a Prague landmark and one of the most luxurious hotels in the city. And now, the five-star Hotel InterContinental, centrally located at the base of the Czech capital’s trendy Pařížská Street in the Old Town, has changed ownership.

The InterContinental was the first five-star international hotel to be built in the city and now belongs to R2G, the investment group of Czech billionaire Oldřich Šlemr, who made his fortune with the rubber company ČGS Holding, which he sold in 2015 for 15 billion crowns.

“The InterContinental hotel is a long-term investment opportunity for us. We are glad that will have the opportunity to manage and further develop this important Prague property, which is part of Czech cultural heritage, in accordance with its tradition and reputation,” said R2G direct investment director Jakub Dyba.

The total price of the transaction was not disclosed, but it is estimated to have exceeded 5 billion crowns (193 million euros).

The hotel was designed by renowned Czech architect Karel Filsak in Brutalist style and built between 1968 and 1974, with exposed concrete and ribbon windows with tile cladding. Externally, the hotel is split vertically into several smaller parts, so the building is visually in keeping with the buildings of Prague’s Old Town. The building was renovated between 1992 and 1995, work overseen by architect Roman Koucký. Part of the original interior design elements, by sculptor Miloslav Hejný, have been preserved.

Over the years the hotel has had a number of different owners: state travel firm ČEDOK from 1974 to 1990, bank funds during the privatisation process from 1990 to 1999, Strategic Hotels and Resorts from 1999 to 2010, Westmont Hospitality Group from 2010 to 2013. Since then it has been property of the Slovak-based Best Hotel Properties, majority owned by investment firm J&T.

The InterContinental Prague has been listed as an architecturally significant building by the Conservation Office of Prague City Council, confirming its status as a famous landmark hotel. From the moment it first opened its doors to the present day, InterContinental Prague has become a destination for A-list celebrities from the film and music world as well as politicians and dignitaries.

Its guests included Ray Charles in 1981, Richard Nixon in 1982 and Elton John in 1984. In June 1995, Meryl Streep said: “Thank you for your kind hospitality, and the most comfortable rooms that my family shared here in Prague. With all the best hopes for our return!” Michael Jackson, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Luciano Pavarotti stayed in 1996.

Today the InterContinental retains its traditional interiors without giving up modern amenities.  The reception and concierge offer different services from laundry and dry cleaning to booking tickets and tours, and there’s a 24-hour business centre. A spacious marble lobby connects to several public spaces, including a bar, breakfast room and a Rolls Royce showroom. The basement level health club and spa has state-of-the-art workout machines, a heated swimming pool and whirlpool, plus spa services that span massage and beauty therapies. The top-floor gourmet restaurant, Zlata Praha is widely considered one of the finest restaurants in Prague, where its guests can watch the sunset over the city skyline while enjoying an exceptional meal.

Photo: IHG Hotels