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A Prague 3-Way

by Kelsy Chauvin
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Jan 30, 2015

Cobblestones, medieval towers, a hilltop castle overlooking the city - at a glance, Prague could easily be mistaken as a fairytale city. But the Czech capital is rich in both history and culture, and laced with an irreverent streak that's long attracted international artists and designers as well as the tourists who love them.

In her fantasy novel "Daughter of Smoke and Bone," author Laini Taylor portrayed a visceral image of the city, writing that "the streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century - or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies."

We come to Prague for its affordability, celebrated beauty, liberal attitude, and to soak up a city where romance is the best tour guide. For those interested in experiencing Prague in its full LGBT glory, this year's Pride festivities are scheduled for August 10-16, 2015.

Here's a trio of ways travelers of different stripes can explore "the city of a hundred spires."

Local Lovers and Savvy Planners

Where to Stay
So you want easy access to the central city, love Prague's contemporary flair, but are traveling on a budget? Smart travelers with a polished eye will revel in the mod appeal of the Hotel Yasmin. Opened in 2006, this modern accommodation's unexpected sleekness strikes as soon as you pass through its automated, frosted-glass doors.

The 196 comfortable rooms and spacious suites are spread across seven floors, most facing the quiet courtyard. The hotel offers breakfast and other standard amenities, and houses Restaurant Café Bar Noodles, whose thorough name says it all. Access through the serene courtyard leads to a shopping corridor that opens into the city's main artery, Wenceslas Square, with its many shops, restaurants and monuments.

Pairs Well With...
Frank Gehry's Dancing House, a.k.a. "Ginger and Fred" for its double façade, is among Prague's premier design sights for its iconic curvature. Don't miss its sexy art galleries and rooftop café with incredible vistas.

Café Café is where hip homos break from the downtown shopping scene and indulge in delicious drinks, meals and incredible desserts. By night, head to neighborhood gay bar Q Café to drink with friendly locals.

Indulgent Divas and Design Fans

What better way to revel in Prague's romance than to splurge on one of its most chic and luxurious hotels? The balance of classical design and modern art here stir in sexiness to an already romantic European experience.

Where to Stay
The Mark Luxury Hotel was once a baroque palace and is now one of Prague's elite high-end hotels. Its 75 rooms and suites are among the city's largest, most of them with separate living areas and kitchenettes and a few with private balconies. If the huge central courtyard feels like a fairy godmother may float down, she'd invite you to sip Czech sekt (sparkling wine) in the Two Steps Bar, with its domed, cast-floral ceiling.

Pairs Well With...
A block from the Mark's front door is the 1912 Municipal House, the site of much of the Czech Republic's storied historical events - including where the nation declared its independence in 1918. The building itself is a bastion of the city's best baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. A building tour is recommended to view the elegant music venues, stunning dining halls and bars, and private event spaces.

Just outside the building is Prague's photogenic Powder Gate, which stockpiled gunpowder centuries ago. Further into the Old Town Square, the spectacular and symbol-laden Astronomical Clock has tracked both the time and the heavens since 1410.

Culture Queens and History Lovers

Where to Stay
Were would Alfons Mucha stay? The legendary Czech artist wouldn't miss a chance to surround himself with the Art Nouveau stylings for which his own work is internationally renowned.
Nestled in Old Town and built in 1094, the Hotel Paris was once the city's reigning accommodation for wealthy and worldly travelers. Its neo-gothic exterior and marvelous Art Nouveau interiors invite guests to dwell in a living time capsule but the property also offers Wi-Fi and other modern amenities. Breakfast is included in the gorgeous Sarah Bernhardt Restaurant where you can take in the original lighting fixtures, tile mosaics and inlaid wainscoting.

Pairs Well With...
A visit to Prague isn't complete without a stroll across the Gothic Charles Bridge, named for the Holy Roman Emperor upon construction in 1357, and laced with legend. Use it to cross the Vltava River and visit the Prague Castle, home to the extraordinary St. Vitus Cathedral, and Golden Lane, where Franz Kafka once worked.

Complete a day of Prague history with a unique dining experience at Zvonice Restaurant, located inside the 16th-century Jindrisska bell tower. This outstanding restaurant specializes in Czech delicacies, in particular the city's best sauerkraut soup, as well as locally sourced fish and game, including wild boar, rabbit and venison.

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBT interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.


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