If the success of a hotel lies squarely on its location, then the brand new Four Seasons Prague is onto a winner. Perfectly situated on the banks of the river Vlata, the newest kid on the Prague spa block has the glorious Charles Bridge on its doorstep and uninterrupted views of the Cathedral from its upper floors.
Attracting cultured weekenders, romantics and groups of hen and stag party-goers for a decade or more, Prague’s charm, value-for-money and history is well documented. But when it comes to spa breaks, the Czech Republic's capital often loses out to Hungary or Greece, with their natural thermal waters and spa history. What Prague has over the likes of Budapest and Rhodes, though, is convenience – just a two-hour flight from London followed by a 20-minute airport transfer and you’re there.
Compact and bijou, the city’s highlights are easy to tick off in a couple of days – the show-stopping Charles Bridge is particularly alluring come evening when the city, and the river below, twinkles with lights. Once you’ve wandered around the Cathedral, Golden Alley and the Castle, head to the Four Seasons Ava Spa and have the day massaged away.
What's on offer?
The boutique Ava Spa is situated on the ground floor of the hotel and has watery views of the river. As soon as we hit the spa reception we were greeted by the friendly team. Ava Spa has a decadent yet comforting feel to it; with a glistening gold and black mosaic floor in the main corridor, and candles and fires flickering at every turn.
Although charmingly petite, the spa has a large vitality pool with six stations including a swan neck fountain, reflexology stimulators and body jets. A selection of comfy loungers is set up around the pool; sit back and sip fruit-infused water between dips. There is also a decent-sized steam room and sauna to heat up and relax.
The generously stocked changing rooms are small but have everything a girl needs, including Asprey amenities and opulent touches -- think accents of sparkling gold on white-washed walls which twinkle in the sunlight.
The wooden shutters of the relaxation room were flung open on our visit, revealing views of the river and castle. We sipped a local Linden Tree tea while admiring the ornate chandelier above. If you have time to spare, help yourself to a coffee table book on art and sit by the beautiful gas fire; it looked so real we had to get up to double check.
Tell us about the treatments
The spa menu ranges from standard massage to signature treatments. We tried the Gold Ritual (150 minutes, £350), an indulgent experience using Hungarian-brand Omorovicza products.
My therapist, Sylvia, greeted me in the relaxation area and escorted me through to a large couple’s suite -- a domed room with a curved soft peach ceiling, two treatment beds, a hydro bath, a private steam room and a shower.
Sylvia began with a full body scrub, working the back of my tired legs in a circular motion before moving onto my back, stomach and arms. After a quick shower, I climbed into the hydro bath for a 15-minute soak, choosing the ‘deep muscle massage’ setting.
Wielding an Omorovicza Gold Body Oil, Sylvia then pummelled, pressed, manipulated and stroked my back at a bearable pressure until I could feel the tension melting away. Continuing onto my legs, Sylvia's brisk movements were the perfect antidote after a day of exploring Prague’s gentle hills and cobbled streets.
After expertly removing my make-up and spritzing sweet florals in the air, Sylvia applied and removed a mask, before massaging around my eyes with a cooling wand. To finish, Sylvia dotted an indulgent cream around my eyes and a moisturiser to my face.
As treatments go, this one is definitely on the expensive side, but after being scrubbed, buffed and polished to perfection, I felt like a million dollars.
The hotel’s restaurant CottoCrudo, meaning ‘cooked and raw’, has an Italian-style menu that is as stylish as the restaurant itself.
We started our meal with tomato and olive focaccia bread, which was naughtily wholesome, followed by melt-in-the-mouth salmon with miso vinaigrette and honey glazed chicken with Zucchini and ricotta cannelloni. Had we had room for dessert, we would have chosen the Tiramisu.
Breakfast did not disappoint either: eggs cooked to perfection, local hams and cheeses or, if you have a sweeter tooth, pastries and cakes. We loved the Swiss Bircher muesli on the buffet bar -- a great, healthy start to the day.
The relaxing ambience, the warm and welcoming scent, the first-class service associated with the Four Seasons.
The small touches: We came back to our room one day to find our headphones neatly rolled up and secured with a ribbon.
We didn't love
It may have been our very relaxed state, but we couldn’t get all the vitality pool jets to work -- luckily a spa assistant was on hand to help.
Who would like it?
City breakers: With just two hours travel time, it’s easy to see Prague in a long weekend.
Architect buffs: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque -- the city has it all.