W Hotels to make Prague debut with Art Nouveau makeover

Grand Europa Hotel, photo: Kristýna Maková

W Hotels Worldwide, part of US hoteliers Marriot International, announced on Thursday it will open its first hotel in Prague. W Prague accommodation offer will be located in the renovated nouveau Grand Europa Hotel on Prague’s Wenceslas Square, and will be the brand’s debut in the Czech Republic.

Grand Europa Hotel,  photo: Kristýna Maková
The restored building of the former Art Nouveau hotel will get a new oval-shaped extension in the inner courtyard. The two building connected will create 154 guest rooms and suites.

W Prague will also feature a rooftop bar and an outdoor terrace, several restaurants, a fitness centre and 350 square metres of event space. The hotel will also feature a keyless entry system, which will enable guests to use their smartphones or Apple watches to unlock their rooms.

The W brand aims at younger customers who appreciate modern design. There are currently 50 W hotels in the world, seven of them in Europe, including London, Paris, Barcelona, St-Petersburg, Verbier, Switzerland; Istanbul and Amsterdam. By the year 2020, the brand plans to have 75 hotels. Along with W Prague, a W brand hotel is also set to open in Budapest.

“W is a five-star design brand, which is very popular among younger customers worldwide, and it will definitely aim to reach the top five in Prague’s market,“ Miroslav Linhart of Deliotte consultancy told the daily Hospodářské noviny Thursday.

“There aren’t that many high-quality five-star hotels in Prague, considering that it is the fifth most visited city in Europe and there is a growing segment of Asian visitors,” he added.

The Grand Europa Hotel was built in 1889 under the name At the Archduke Stephan. Between 1903 and 1905 it was rebuild in the Art Nouveau style, with statues on the front crafted by sculptor Ladislav Šaloun.

The hotel, which is famous for its beautiful façade and exquisite ornate interior, saw its prime in the inter-war period, when it belonged among the most luxurious hotels in Central Europe. More recently, it has also been featured in the Hollywood movies Mission Impossible and Titanic.

After taking over the rival Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International has become the largest hotel company in the world. The transaction, amounting to 13 billion US dollars (around 314 billion crowns) took place in autumn 2016.