Where history and modernity meet at Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in Prague, Czech Republic.
My favorite part about traveling is feeling like I’ve been transported to another time and place. Czech Republic has no shortage of opportunities for time travel with all its historical sites, ornate castles, picturesque cobblestone streets and charming villages. Add to the mix a 13th-century monastery turned hotel in the center of Prague. The hotel has an on-site Turkish hammam, a garden courtyard, a former astrological tower with 360-views of Prague (now a suite) and one of the best restaurants in the city.
Location and History
Located on a quiet street in Mala Strana or Lesser Town, Augustine is centrally located between Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. Bordering with the Wallenstein Garden, the 101-room property was created from seven buildings that once made up the Augustinian St. Thomas Monastery from the 13th-century. With much of history still intact, the hotel is connected to St. Thomas Church, sleeping quarters where 4 active monks still live and the monastery library that has an original Baroque ceiling of frescoes and elaborate stucco work.
During the renovation process, which started in 2006 and took place for three years, the goal was to keep as much of the original structure and details as possible. The exposed beams, vaulted ceilings and doors from the original monastery were thoughtfully fused with Czech Cubist-inspired interiors, a design style from the early 1900s. As a further nod to its historical influence, lining the halls are original black and white photographs documenting the monks in various settings around the original monastery.
Despite being in the heart of bustling Prague, staying at Augustine feels like a quiet and peaceful getaway. Upon entering the hotel gates, you arrive in a charming courtyard surrounded by beautiful historical buildings.
The main restaurant is an open-plan space with a glass roof and outdoor garden terrace serving European and Czech dishes. My personal favorites were a local farm-raised catfish with chorizo, white asparagus, early morels and a green pea velouté using herbs grown in the hotel’s garden and a white asparagus cheesecake with strawberries, butter cookies and marinated asparagus. Breakfast was just as satisfying with an array of traditional egg dishes, fresh juices and fruit, cold cuts (meats, smoked salmon, cheeses), yogurts, granola and cereals.
Besides the main restaurant, the Refectory Bar seamlessly blends the old (restored 18th century baroque ceiling fresco) with the new (modern furniture, prints on the walls) and serves drinks like the Augustinian Angels’ Cocktails inspired from the angels in the ceiling fresco along with their exclusive St. Thomas beer. There is an outdoor seating area in the Sundial Garden and terrace with both tables and comfortable sofas to relax in.
The Augustine Spa offers holistic treatments inspired by the monks’ ancient recipes. An original treatment is the St. Thomas Beer Body Ritual which uses beer to regulate PH levels and promote detoxification and hydration. Another signature treatment involves getting a sea salt scrub in the spa’s Turkish hammam for ultimate purification and relaxation.
Rooms and Suites
Each of the 101 suites and rooms designed by British hotelier and interior designer Olga Polizzi have their individual character. They either look out into the garden courtyard, monastery or Prague Castle with rooftop views. Decorated in a Czech Cubist styled paired with traditional details including Czech art from the early 1930s, each room includes interesting combinations of color. The unfinished wooden floors form a nice consistency throughout the varied designs and structures. In addition, some upper room floors have vaulted ceilings with exposed wooden beams.
The most unique suite is the three-floor Tower Suite, connected by a spiral staircase. The first floor is the living area, the second floor is the bathroom and the third floor is the bedroom with panoramic views of Prague. This suite was the former astrological tower and includes a direct view of Prague Castle.
Prague is a very walkable city, especially when staying in the center of it all. Augustine is located in the middle of all the famous sites including St. Thomas Church (connected to the hotel), Prague Castle (10-minute walk), Charles Bridge (7-minute walk), Vltava Beach and the Prague Swans (10-minute walk), Lesser Town Bridge Tower (7-minute walk) and Old Town Square (20-minute walk). My favorites include:
St. Thomas Church
Vltava Beach and the Prague Swans
Lesser Town Bridge Tower
How to Get There
Augustine is located in the Lesser Town district of Prague with convenient transportation options including the bus, train and metro. The hotel is 14.0 km or 8.7 miles from Prague Airport. For limousine service arranged by the hotel, contact the hotel directly email@example.com. Self- and valet- parking are available for 35-45 EUR per day.
Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague
Letenská 12/33, Prague, 118 00