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Sometimes I discover the best hotels while off duty. Actually, I can’t even take credit for this one; my parents took a chance and booked this Prague gem after hastily scanning a few booking sites in search of well-located rooms under $300 (my recommendations were fully booked). They lucked out. What they ended up with was this extravagantly cozy boutique hotel, housed in an old mansion in Mala Strana (I prefer this side of the Charles Bridge – it’s a little quieter but the Old Town is just a 15-minute walk away). It was hard not to be romanced by the Alchymist Residence Nosticova, what, with all its gothic charms, beamed ceilings, chandeliers, and luscious décor, especially in what I called the Versace-fabulous restaurant (think Italian extravagance to the max). I stayed nearby in a supposedly cool, contemporary hotel. I wanted to bunk with them!  


They had their own top-floor, 2-bedroom suite that they shared with my aunt and uncle. It came with a little sitting room, separate marble bathrooms, and a private entrance.

Winter rates through March start at 145 euros/night (that’s about $181) and include breakfast, a bottle of red wine, complimentary use of the health club in the hotel’s sister property, the Alchymist Grand Hotel & Spa, equally as charming but not as intimate (only a 5-minute walk away), and 20% off spa treatments. As far as I am concerned, this is a steal.

Upon returning home, embarrassed that I, professed hotel guru, had not scouted out this place on my own, checked out the hotel’s website and clicked on a link labeled “Celebrities” in the site’s photo gallery which opened up a page chockfull of headshots from former guests, including Johnny Depp (OMG, did he sleep in the same bed as my parents!), Adrien Brody, Kiefer Sutherland, and Natassia Kinski. Apparently, this Prague secret is not so secret after all!

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