Luxurious chateau living at Chateau Mcely in Czech Republic.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Staying at Chateau Mcely, you would never imagine that just a few decades ago, it was in complete disrepair. That is until the current owner, Inez Cusumano, a former commercial property developer, saw the potential of the 17th century castle and restored it to its current grandeur. As she writes in her autobiography, her goal was to “create an environment that would positively inspire people and awaken a natural lightness and playfulness in their souls”, a harmonious place where people could go to get recharged and inspired. The perfect place for solo retreats, romantic getaways and family gatherings.
After a whirlwind trip around Czech Republic, I was able to experience this renewal first hand. I spent the last few days of my trip at the castle, which was the perfect way to end my time in this mesmerizing country.
Location and History
Located only an hour northeast of Prague, Chateau Mcely resides near the St. George Forest in the central Bohemian village of Mcely, home to about 300 people. Once home to the aristocratic Thurn-Taxis family, influential in the development of the European postal system in the 16th century, the family was known for hosting many hunting parties and literary gatherings in their home. After World War II and the rise of Communism, the family was forced to leave and the abandoned chateau quickly fell into disrepair.
Then in the early 2000s Inez and Jim Cusumano purchased it from the Czech Government and began a long journey of restoration for the chateau and surrounding five-hectare private grounds. More than a building project, they wanted to created a place where guests could, as Inez wrote, “refresh themselves and to connect to the magical energy that radiates in this region, and primarily to that energy within our own souls to which we so seldom pay any attention.”
In this balanced environment, it is easier to relax and allow ideas to flow. While designing the space, they considered the physical (eating delicious and tasty food, having access to nature, spa treatment), mental (roof-top observatory with high-power telescopes, meeting rooms for lectures, corporate retreats, a library) and spiritual (yoga, meditation spaces, park). Their vision was for the hotel to be a gathering place for international thinkers and business leaders to organize lectures, seminars and training courses; a safe place where they could discuss and bring solutions to various world issues.
Interiors and Design
Inez worked closely with the interior designer throughout the restoration process, hoping to keep as many of the original aspects of the building as possible. The design was inspired from the history of the area, the Thurn-Taxis family and local influences. Carefully selecting and using only natural materials like cotton, velvet and silk for the interiors, almost all of the fabrics were produced by a local Czech textile manufacturer.
For example, the central staircase makes reference to the Thurn-Taxis family’s tradition of hunting in the nearby St. George Forest. Lining the wall above the staircase are deer and fallow deer trophies with notable quotes written across.
Each floor has a theme, along with each of the 24 rooms in the hotel being individually and uniquely named. They are also decorated with Classisist and Imperialist styles from the 17th and 19th centuries and incredible finishes. The second floor where I stayed is the Floor of the World, where everything makes reference to culture and distant lands. In the middle of the floor is the Gold Room, tailored for conferences, business meetings or wedding ceremonies. The walls are decorated in gold leaf with motifs representing the Garden of Eden.
Next to the Gold Room is the Legend Suite, my personal favorite. Used as the honeymoon and bridal suite, the room is adorned with white drapes, multiple crystal chandeliers and the prettiest princess bed. You can tell every detail was thoughtfully considered from the wall frames to the motifs to the color palette.
The chateau restaurant Piano Nobile serves locally sourced ingredients with a seasonal menu that includes herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are grown onsite. Recognized in 2014 as the best restaurant in the country, their farm-to-table dishes are largely influenced by the heritage of the region as well as family recipes, like a delicious cod dish that was their grandmother’s family recipe. Each dish pays homage to tradition and yet is modern in presentation.
By far my favorite part of each day was enjoying breakfast outside overlooking the lawn with birds chirping in the distance and the soft glow of the sun on the horizon. With a selection of eggs, pancakes, caviar, salmon, freshly squeezed juices, cakes and other delightful breakfast items, there’s nothing like starting the day off happy and full. As any good retreat entails, I was encouraged to slow down and enjoy the view.
The restaurant is open daily for hotel guests and visitors by reservation in their indoor and outdoor (summer only) dining areas. Their à la carte menu and degustation menu are available for lunch or dinner.
Located inside an English park, there’s plenty of space for various outdoor activities or just relaxing. Activities include swimming in the natural swimming lake; tennis, croquet and badminton at the multifunctional sports court; horse and carriage rides and yoga in the meditation garden. For the less active, there are forest paths and lounge chairs scattered throughout the park for enjoying nature or reading a book. Close by is St. George Forest, which is perfect for hikes, mushroom picking and bike rides with plenty of of flowers, trees and animals to see.
The Mcely Bouquet Spa features natural herbal treatments including massages, manicures, pedicures and facials. Facilities include three therapeutic suites, a sauna and fitness center. They also have their own skincare line made from herbs and flowers gathered from the St. George Forest. Free from chemicals, the balms, oils, serums and bath salts are made at the chateau laboratory in small batches.
I consider it a privilege to have been able to stay at Chateau Mcely. As a trained designer, I know the amount of energy and spirit that goes into creating such a thoughtful environment where every little detail is meticulously considered. Thank you to Inez Cusumano for listening to your gut and buying this property even in its dilapidated state. It’s such an inspiring story and testament to passion and hard work.
How to Get There
Chateau Mcely is located in the northeast part of Central Bohemia, about one hour from the center of Prague and Prague Airport. It is an easy drive through a main highway and scenic country roads. The hotel can also arrange a car service from anywhere in Czech Republic. For public transportation, there is a train from Prague Main Station to Nymburk, then bus or taxi to Mcely.
Mcely 61, 289 36 Mcely